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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stripers responding to the shallow water
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Lake Lanier’s water has only dropped to 1,070.48 or .52 feet below a full pool of 1,071.

Lake levels remain steady enough so that most dock owners haven’t needed to move their docks in more than a year. Lake temperatures also remain steady in the lower 80s. Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and clear in the rivers and creeks.

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

Bass: Fishing remains above average for the first week of August. In past years, August has brought on the summer doldrums as temperatures rocket and the lake water warms into the mid-to-upper 80s.

So far, this has been a very mild summer. Anglers are reaping the rewards with decent catches and cooler than usual fishing weather.

There are still many fish relating in the upper portion of the water column and many spotted and largemouth bass are being caught at less than 20 feet deep. The topwater bite is still occurring, even during the heat of the day.

Keep your power fishing tools tied on and ready. Topwater plugs and swim baits will coax the more aggressive fish up to the surface from where they lay in wait around man-made brush piles. Power fishing remains a viable technique for scoring bass both on the main lake and midway on back into the creeks and rivers up and down lake.

The morning bite has been good around humps and points that vary in depth from 10-30 feet deep.

Pay close attention to areas that have brush or rock as bass will stay in these areas all day long. The best action seems to be occurring when the water surface has a slight chop and it only gets better when the U.S. Army Corps releases water through Buford Dam.

From my home, I can hear the water release sirens and when those go off, the fish get active. Kind of like the dinner bell ringing.

Having a good rotation of areas pays off because fish are active in some areas, while other areas may seem slow.

Being at the right place at the right time is critical. There is no real rule to follow other than bass that are eating the fast-moving blueback herring will roam around and move much more than bass that are keyed in on slower forage, like bream of threadfin shad.

Pay attention to any bait fish that bass spit up as that will shed some light on what lures to use and what pace to fish.

If bass are keying on the longer slender herring, then faster-moving topwater plugs or slender jerk and swim bait lures like a Sammy, SPRO McSticks, Sebiles or soft plastic Big Bite Jerk Shad will coax more bites.

Bass that are keying in on shad or bream seem to prefer deeper slower moving lures. SPRO Little John DDs, Fish Head Spins, natural colored drop shot worms, Texas Rigged worms or Jig n’ pig combos have been good choices when anglers need to go deeper to coax the bites.

There is still some great action for anglers who target largemouth bass.

These heavier bass can live in a completely different area than the more prolific spotted bass.

Anglers who prefer shallow fishing closer to the banks in the backs of the creeks are often rewarded with calmer waters, with less boat traffic and a chance for a couple of big fish There’s also good numbers of bites due to the largemouth resurgence in recent years.

Catching four-to five-pound large mouths are not nearly as uncommon as they used to be as evidenced by the past few years’ major tournaments.

Cast a white buzz bait in the morning around any trees laying down in the water on the banks or backs of creeks. Also pick apart shallow docks with brush using a jig or Texas rigged worm.

Spot tail fishing is as reliable a way to catch bass as any other technique in summer.

Chum grits, bread or cracker crumbs around sandy beaches and boat ramps. Throw a fine-meshed net over the spot tails that show up to eat the chum. There are also storebought or homemade minnow traps which add to the experience of fishing. Catching minnows is often just as fun to kids as the actual fishing.

You don’t have to get up real early and you will usually catch some bass or other species pretty quick, unless you are just in the wrong area. Remember to make fishing fun when going with the kids and be ready to switch things up.

Stripers: The summer patterns are very consistent. The striper guides are still reporting successful catching from slightly shallower water than is typical for hottest months.

The creek mouths and flats are holding some big schools of stripers. They can be ganged up in big groups.

You may spend some time searching but once you find fish, the catching can be fast and furious.

Of course, this can also go the other way, making you also spend time and gas. There is no replacement for time spent on the water and the successful guides and striper fanatics are rewarded for their devotion to learning the most consistent areas over the years.

The main forage for summertime stripers are blueback herring.

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to manage and keep your bait in tip top shape. Keeping herring alive in summer is a fine science and knowing how to keep your bait lively is almost as important as finding fish.

I have seen anglers who are fishing right over a huge school and one boat will catch many, because its bait is lively, while another boat in the same area goes without a bite.

If you are serious about catching warm weather line sides, then invest in a quality bait tank, the proper aeration and chemicals. Also, consider hiring a reputable guide to quickly get over the learning curve.

Stripers this week are relating to the cooler water below the thermocline at 40-50 feet deep over timber and flats near where the creek and river channels meet.

Stick with long fluorocarbon leaders and heavy weights to get your herring down quickly to present them in as natural a presentation as possible. If the fish are present and you don’t get a bite, then there may be a reason.

Experiment with your placement of bait and try fishing both above and at the level where fish appear on your Humminbird Electronics.

Power reeling or free spooling down, then reeling up your bait through the school can trigger some bites when all else fails.

Some diehard vampire anglers get out a few hours after dark and fish for stripers under Hydro Glow lights and do quite well. Hanging lights under the boat will actually attract the bait. Many times, the stripers show up shortly after to join in the fray. You usually can fish shallower but rely on your electronics and drop your line to the level that your screen shows fish.

Crappie fishing is slow during the day.

Fishing under lights after dark is your best bet. Hang lights over the side of the boat or off your docks and fish crappie minnows, spot tails or cast small Hal Flies or micro spoons to the edges of where your light rays meet dark water

Trout fishing remains strong and the big news this week has been the new state record. This news is from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, A 20 pound-14 ounce, 31-1/2 inch brown trout beat the existing state record, established in 2001 by 2-8. A new state record has to be at least one ounce greater.

Being that, it was his first fish of the day, Mr. Doughty wanted to keep fishing. His co-anglers convinced him that he might have a new state record, so off they went to seek certified scales (certified by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, often found in marinas, grocery stores and at Georgia DNR Fisheries Offices).

The brown trout is golden brown to olive brown with yellowish sides. Its back and sides have dark spots, encircled with light yellow or white. Some brown trout also have orange or red spots on their sides.

Bank Fishing: It’s hard to beat a day of trout fishing in August.

Considering the above-mentioned record breaker and the coolness of North Georgia’s trout waters, few outings can match hitting your local mountain streams plus you can fish from Buford Dam all the way down to inside the metro Atlanta perimeter.

Trout are available in many different areas and can be caught by many different methods. Tie on a Rooster tail and go catching. The next record may be yours.

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 or visit his website at

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