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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Lure choice key in catching big trout

POSTED: September 5, 2013 6:38 p.m.

Lake Lanier’s water level is 1.47 feet (1,072.47) above the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake Lanier’s water is clear on the main lake and clear to stained in the creeks and rivers. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Lake temperatures remain in the lower 80s. Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466. 

Bass: Last week I promised better fishing, but the rising temperatures seem to have slowed the bite down a little. We have seen very few bass schooling, but that action will improve soon.

That being said, there are few things nicer than spending a day on the water fishing. The boat traffic is less after Labor Day and during deer season and the fishing will continue to improve.

This past week the schooling activity I saw the previous week seemed to have gone away and we have relied heavily on my Humminbird Electronics during the sunny days to locate offshore brush piles in 20-35 feet of water.

This deeper action actually gets better as the day progresses.

Start your day shallow and throw a SPRO Little John Baby DD or a Bill Norman Little N and work rocky banks and humps in 5-15 feet of water.

Both of the crank baits will dive to 10-12 feet on 10-pound test Sun Line fluorocarbon. The fluorocarbon line sinks and will allow you to get an extra foot of depth with your cranks baits which is essential because you want them to dig into the bottom.

When you do this, use a slow-and-steady retrieve.

The bites will occur as your crank bait deflects objects under water.

As the sun gets higher, the crank bait bite seems to wane, so head out deeper and use your electronics to locate brush pile on points and humps around 20-30 feet deep.

My Humminbird 1158DI has a huge screen, which helps me, but standard depth finders should be able to disseminate these areas. Some of the fish have been suspended over or around the brush.

These fish can be coaxed into biting with a finesse rig like a drop shot or shaky head. Drop your lures through the suspended bass and watch your electronics to see if the bass follow it down. If so, you will know pretty quickly because the fish will usually bite.

If the bass continue to suspend and are in a neutral mood, you can drop your lure directly to their level and shake it in front of them to trigger a reaction bite.

Other lures will work on these deeper fish.

Position your boat away from the brush and cast a Fish Head Spin or deep diving crank bait like a full-sized SPRO Little John DD and try to make contact with the brush pile. A lot of brush that is located in deeper water tops out way above the bottom so these lures can get down to the brush.

They will also catch suspended bass around these prime areas. Use the same crank baits mentioned above or switch to a large black spinner bait to catch bass after the sun goes down.

Striper fishing is still hit or miss and there seems to be no specific pattern. Striper anglers also have to rely heavily on their electronics until the surface schooling starts in the fall. Right now the stripers are positioning anywhere from 25-80 feet deep in some cases so anglers really have a challenge this week.

The downline herring bite continues to be the best way to catch stripers. I mention this every week, but that is what usually works best in summer. Lively herring and a stealthy set up will work best as the stripers seem to get a little line shy.

Use a long 4-6 foot, 10-12 pound test fluorocarbon leader on your down rig. It is almost invisible under water. Watch your electronics and set your down lines right at or slightly above where you mark fish.

There have been some deep fish down around the dam at 70-80 feet above a 100-foot bottom and there have been some shallower fish around 35 feet deep over a 40-to 50-foot bottom. The stripers do not seem to have any specific location or depth, so you will need quality electronics to stay on the fish.

I have heard reports that trolling has been picking up a few fish and this method allows anglers the opportunity to search while they fish. A large Bucktail or swim bait like a four-inch BBZ1 or a Sebile Magic Swimmer are great lures to troll with a Cannon Down Riggers set to 30-feet deep.

You can also use lead core set out to nine colors or a heavy umbrella rig may be worth a try. If you use large bucktails, try tipping them with a live blueback herring to increase your odds.

Crappie fishing is improving and anglers in the know have been catching some good stringers, which makes for some awesome eating.

My friend has been catching a few around the upper lake creeks around bridges and docks both during the day and after dark.

He is shooting small 1/16-to 1/8-ounce jigs under docks and also around brush piles away from the docks and around the bridge pilings. Let your jigs sink a little, then experiment with the depth as many of these tasty fish are deep around cover. During active feeding periods they come up shallower and will hit the jigs better.

Trolling has also been an OK way to catch them, but you will need to set out multiple rigs and troll slow to keep your jigs a little deeper. If you catch a few, mark that area and troll over it multiple times. If you catch one crappie, you can be pretty sure there are a lot more there because crappie run in schools.

Trout fishing is very good and the river below Buford Dam is full of small and larger fish that will bite almost any properly presented lure. The consistent generation has made the fish strong and healthy. A small Rooster tail is always my go to bait and I have witnessed several catches of fish larger than 18 inches.

It seems to be the same story in the mountain streams. Fly fishing has been great, as well as artificial lures on light spinning tackle or live bait where permitted.

The Department of Natural Resources reports say the same thing and this has been a stellar years for catching trout.

Bank Fishing: Trout are one of the best fish to target while fishing from the shore and the Buford Dam tail race on down to Settles Bridge is one of the most productive areas for easy trout fishing.

I live right around the Dam and Buford Dam Trout Hatchery and it is worth the trip to see the efforts the DNR puts into keeping our rivers and streams full of trout. Everyone, whether the fish or not will enjoy a tour of this facility.

There are some huge brood trout and thousands of smaller ones. It is worth a trip to see, plus the area around the hatchery is an awesome place to trout fish.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoors 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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