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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Fish choosing to stay a little deeper this week

POSTED: July 19, 2012 10:10 p.m.

Lake Lanier water temperatures remain in the mid 80s. Recent rains have helped hold lake levels steady at 1,063.59 feet which is 7.41 feet below full pool of 1,071 feet. The main lake is clear to stained and the creeks are clear to stained too.

The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: The colorful, wrapped FLW bass boats are starting to appear on Lake Lanier as these professional anglers practice for the FLW Cup that will take place in early August on our local waters. The FLW Cup is like the Super Bowl of bass fishing and it will provide a boost for our local economy as these professional anglers fill up with gas, purchase food and stay in local hotels.

I fished a lot this past week and we caught plenty of bass. Most of the fish we caught are in the two-pound range, while the bigger fish have been a little harder to pattern. Several techniques are working, so keep your options open.

The bass are hitting topwater plugs early, crankbaits deep on the points during active feeding periods, and finesse worms in the brush all day long.

The most consistent pattern this week remains finesse fishing in brush from 20- to 30-feet deep on main lake and in the creeks and that pattern should hold solid for a while. Once you have located several good brush piles, you can put together a milk run of productive areas.
I always cast a topwater plug, crankbait, Rooster Tail or Fishead Spin over the brush before I move in to pick it apart with my drop shot rig. You may have better success with the moving lures during active feeding periods.

When the fish are inactive they may be easier to catch with finesse jig head worms and drop shots fished directly in the brush. If you want to almost guarantee a day of catching, you can net native spot tails and fish them on a circle hook drop shot rig in the brush.

The spotted and largemouth bass have also been hitting Little John Deep Divers and other deep-diving crankbaits after dark on rocky main lake points and humps. Dig these lures into the bottom and slow roll them through brush and rocks.

Stripers: The summertime bite remains very good and almost all of the guides are catching good line sides. The stripers have gone deep, but they can appear closer to the surface during active feeding periods. We even had a striper come up shallow to eat a bass that was hooked right at the boat this past week, so keep a topwater plug or swimbait tied on just in case they come up to the surface.

For the most part, trolling big bucktails and down-lined bluebacks are the predominant patterns.

Your electronics are key tools in summer for deep stripers catching. Many anglers troll large bucktails while looking for the large deep schools that are relating to deep flats off the river channels. Trolling bucktails on lead core line or on a down rigger is very productive right now. Experiment with your speeds and depths to dial in your trolling success.

Live bluebacks on down lines continue to be the prominent pattern. Make sure your bait stays lively and position your offerings slightly above the fish that you mark on the screen. Fluorocarbon leaders will increase your odds because they are hard for the fish to detect. The magic depths have been anywhere from 40 to 100 feet over a 100-plus-foot bottom.

The flats off the river and creek channels below Browns Bridge seem to be holding the most fish, but some anglers are doing well further up lake, too.

Sometimes you may see a zillion stripers on the screen and they still won’t bite. Try power reeling your bluebacks or even a SPRO bucktail up through the schools to trigger the fish into biting.

Power reeling simply means to let your bait or lure fall below the fish and then reel it quickly through the school. This technique seems to trigger an instinctive reaction bite and will often be the difference between catching a few or going home fishless.

Crappie fishing has been a little slower during the day, but there have been some decent reports that the fish are biting after dark on the deeper docks with brush. Tip a crappie jig with a live minnow and work these from 10 to 20 feet around lighted boat docks and bridge pilings.

Trout: The trout continue to bite well in the mornings and toward dark on the river below Buford Dam. Rapalas, Rooster Tails and live earthworms (where permitted by law) are all working well.

The trout fishing has also picked up a little in the mountains Wildlife Management Areas due to all of the afternoon thunderstorms.

Bank fishing: The bream are biting well both on Lake Lanier and in local farm ponds. It’s hard to beat a live earthworm fished weightless below a bobber. Target shoreline areas that have rock and downed trees. These smaller pan fish will also strike dry flies, and they can be a lot of fun for kids and adults to catch.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. Contact him at esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.


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