Lake temperatures remain in the upper 80s and the lake is clear to stained on main lake and slightly stained in the rivers. The lake level is right around 4 feet below full pool at 1,066.9 (full pool is 1,071). Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing remains good and the bass are biting well all day. Most anglers expect that fishing will be tough on hot summer days but catching bass on Lake Lanier this summer can be surprisingly productive even on busy weekends. We have been experiencing a very good top water bite in the middle of the hottest days and the sun actually makes this action better! The secret of this type of fishing is to find the active schools of fish and to not spend too much time in unproductive areas. We have been out this week running and gunning from 20 to 40 areas. If you know where the brush piles or other cover are located you can quickly determine if the schools of bass are active in that area. Cast SPRO Dawgs, Hydro Pops, Zara Spooks or a Storm Chug Bug over the brush and work these plugs with a fast retrieve. We found that a sloppy quick retrieve actually outperformed the normal “walk the dog” cadence that most anglers impart.
If the bass do not come up to the surface then it is worth checking out the brush piles with your Electronics to see if any bass are home. My Humminbird 858c shows bass as lines or arcs and I can see if the fish are suspended or on the bottom. We found that some of the bass were positioned on the deep sides of the brush this past week. These fish could be coaxed into biting a drop shot finesse worm or even a jig when presented properly. I continue to have very good luck fishing a Big Bite Cane Stick in Pumpkin Pearl color on a drop shot with a 1/8th ounce Tungsten Skinny Weight. I take a Sharpie and add a black spot to the tail because I feel this mimics the native spot tails that our bass are use to eating. Instead of just dropping your drop shot rig directly below the boat try casting it out to the brush and work it through the limbs. Most of your fish will strike the worm on the drop after climbing it up and over a limb. Use the most sensitive rod you can and fish your drop shot rigs on light 5 – 7 pound fluorocarbon or try some of the finesse braided lines with a fluorocarbon leader. A lot of your strikes will be very subtle and often we just feel the line get heavy. A sensitive rod and quality line will help you to determine if you are hung on a limb or if a fish has you bait.
We have also caught bass skipping finesse worms on a jig head around deeper docks. If the docks have brush in the 20 to 30 foot range then you can bet the bass will not be far away. Also try working a Fish Head Spin or a Wayne’s Baits EER on a Pulse Jig around docks, brush and deeper rock walls. Small crank baits cast to schooling fish will work well. If all else fails or if you just want to guarantee a productive day of catching then net up to native spot tail minnows and down line these on a drop shot rig around docks and brush at 20 to 25 deep.
Stripers: Lake Lanier continues to prove itself as a world class fishery. Stripers fishing is very good and the summer time bite on Lake Lanier offers some of the best freshwater striper fishing in the world. The stripers move deep in summer and they will group up in large schools down deep. This sets up a perfect scenario for anglers who are adept at using their electronics to find them. Set your graph to scan 120 feet deep as a lot of the fish will be in the 60 to 100 foot zone over a deep bottom. The stripers will show up as solid wavy lines that some anglers call “spaghetti”. If you see clouds of bait above these lines than you can bet that the stripers are feeding and they should strike your down lined blue backs pretty quickly. Most anglers are targeting the deeper creek mouths below Browns Bridge but the stripers can be found from Buford Dam all the way up into the deeper pools up in the rivers so keep an open mind.
Fresh, lively bait is almost as important as finding the active schools. With air temperatures in the 90s it is very important to keep the proper amount of ice, salt and oxygen in you bait tank. If you need help with you set up then check in with any reputable tackle store.
If you are having a hard time dialing in the summertime stripers than I am a big believer in hiring a guide to help you quickly advancing your striper fishing knowledge. With the price of gas, boats, bait and tackle it can be a great investment to hire a reputable professional.
Trolling a big SPRO Buck tail on lead core line at 8 colors has also been working well and this is a great method to use while searching for the large deeper schools.
There have been few reports of night fishing for stripers but the night bite can also be very good in the same areas as you would target during the day. Plus night fishing offers a cooler and quieter alternative to fishing during the day. Drop a Hydro Glow down in the creek mouths and drop your live blue backs below the light.
Crappie fishing remains pretty slow during the day hours. Down line a live crappie minnow or work a crappie jig around brush in 10 to 20 feet deep. The fish up in the rivers tend to be a little shallower than the main lake crappie.
Night fishing has been the best bet for catching slabs. Continue to target the lighted boat docks or lighted bridge pilings near deeper channels with down lined crappie or spot tail minnows.
Trout fishing remains good and the trout are biting on the River below Buford Dam and also up in the mountains in the popular WMAs. In the summer time trout bite best in the mornings on up to around 10 or 11 am but they can bite at any time during the day. A live native earth worm is one of the most productive baits to use. Check your local regulations to make sure that live bait is permitted. You can dig up earth worms in garden areas or mulch piles. Hook these worms on a small hook and thread the worm onto the hook so that only the worm shows and that the hook is hidden. Crimp a small to medium sized split shot weight about a foot above the hook. Try to avoid extra swivels and use the lightest line possible. Trout like clear water so use the most natural presentation possible.
Bank Fishing: Trout fishing from the banks is a great way to spend a hot summer day. The river below Buford Dam offers a cool breeze on a hot summer day and the Department of Natural Resources has stocked plenty of trout. There are plenty of trails to hike as well as grassy areas for your family. Pack a picnic lunch and hit the river for a fun day of fishing. The Wildlife Management Areas up in the North Georgia Mountains are also great places to take your fishing friends!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.