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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Rising temperatures creating ideal conditions

POSTED: July 11, 2013 9:18 p.m.

Lake Lanier’s water level is 1.75 feet above normal full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake Lanier’s water is clear on the main lake and clear to very stained in the creeks and rivers. Lake water temperatures are rock solid and continue to hold in the low 80s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing is excellent this week.

The steady water temperatures keeps a lot of Lake Lanier’s bass population shallow in the water column where they are easy to catch. The heavy rains and full lake also account for high water oxygen levels, which also helps bass to stay active. Active bass will strike moving lures like topwater plugs, swim baits and crank baits.

Some of the topwater action has been off the charts and we are experiencing some of the best fishing of the year.

Start your days out in the coves and the back of the creeks. Work topwater lures like a Super Spook, Sammy or soft plastic Jerk Shad or Fluke type lure. Buzz baits can also produce some vicious strikes. There are a mixture of spotted and largemouth bass in the shallow areas. They are following the threadfin and gizzard shad schools.

This action can last all day long when it is cloudy out.

The fishing has also been great out on the main lake humps and points. The spotted bass are moving around chasing blueback herring. These fish are roaming around in large wolfpacks aggressively targeting these fast moving baitfish. We have been catching two fish on one lure just about every trip. This is a great indicator that the fish are active. Bass are greedy and they will actually steal a bait out of another bass’ mouth. This is why you will catch two bass on the same lure. The same topwater plugs mentioned above will work well on these main lake fish.

Also, work swim baits like a six-inch BBZ1, Bull Shad or Sebile Magic Swimmer on the surface. Larger swim baits intimidate some anglers, but the blueback herring and gizzard shad on our local waters are bigger than most swim baits. Big lures will catch bigger bass and are definably worth a try.

We have continued to run and gun and may hit as many as 20-30 areas in a day. This type of fishing is not for everyone. My friend asked me why I took him to that many unproductive spots first, instead of going to the most productive area right out of the gate.

The reason for this is that any one of the previous unproductive areas could hold a motherload of fish, but we had to run around until we collided with just the right conditions to find fish feeding on the surface. Most of the points and humps on Lake Lanier hold big schools of fish, but it is a timing deal to find the ones that are feeding. You can also just settle down and work a drop shot or Texas rigged worm in the brush piles and drop-offs, if you prefer a slower pace. Catching the schoolers is sure a lot of fun.

Stripers: The stripers fishing has been good, if you can find the right areas. We have encountered a few schools feeding on the surface but the majority of the action is occurring deeper in the creeks and into the creek mouths and main lake. Your electronics are key tools when targeting these fish that are hanging around large deep flats and timber.

The bluebacks are still pretty shallow in the water column this summer compared to the normal deeper patterns in past years. The steady cooler water temperatures are the reason why. Target flats in the creeks and main lake that are close to the creek and river channels.

Fish your down lines at the level you mark fish on your electronics. In most cases, this past week the bottom depths have ranged from 40-70 feet deep. The stripers are hanging in the 20-40 feet range.

Downlines have been the most productive. If your bait is not extremely lively, the catch rates will go down. If the fish are present but not biting, try dropping your live herring to the bottom and power reel through the school. This is a tried and true method to entice reaction strikes from inactive fish.

Trolling a large SPRO Buck Tail on lead core or with a Cannon Down Rigger has been working OK. Set your lead core out with 7-8 colors or put your down riggers at around 25-feet deep. Troll around 2- 2 1/2 miles an hour in the creek mouths both up and down lake.

Night fishing under bright lights has been very productive recently. Put out a Hydro Glow light in the creek mouths and the bluebacks will be drawn to them. You can use a Sabiki Rig to catch native bluebacks and you will have the best bait available. These rigs consist of several very small lures and hooks, and are designed to catch small baitfish.

Crappie fishing has been fair. The best action is happening after dark, but they can be caught during the day in the rivers and the backs of the creeks. Fish the older docks that have lights and brush set around them. Shoot small crappie jigs around these docks or set downlines with crappie minnows from five to 15 feet deep, depending on where you mark fish.

Trout fishing remains very good and the rivers and creeks are healthy with the consistent rains. If an area is muddy, that will slow the fishing down considerably. If you have clear water, you should be able to catch them on your favorite styles.

Spinning gear with light line and a Rooster Tail will work anywhere that there are trout. Live earthworms fished in areas that allow live bait is one of the easiest ways to catch your limit quickly. Crimp a 1/4-ounce split shot two feet above a bare hook and thread you worm so that it covers the whole hook.

Try to avoid using swivels or snaps as the trout can see this hardware in the clear water.

Bank fishing: Catfish are a popular fish that get overlooked. They are present in most lakes and rivers. These whiskered fish will bite well in the warmer months — both during the day and especially after dark. Catfish will eat just about any bait. Use liver, cheese, live night crawlers or cut bait and fish areas that have deep water close by.

You can use a downline or Carolina Rig with a 1-2 foot leader and a one-once weight. Cast your bait out and secure the rod, then wait. These fish will find you offerings because they have a tremendous sense of smell. Some anglers attach a bell to the end of their rods to single a bite.

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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