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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass fishing rates better than normal for August heat
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

The lake level has fallen to just barely below full pool. 

Lake Lanier is currently at 1,070.87 feet or .13 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. 

Lake surface temperatures are still mild for this time of year and are around the mid 80’s. 

I have noticed some cooler water inflow up lake in the mid-to-high 70’s, but it warms up quickly as it connect with the warmer lake water.  

Main lake surface temperatures may range from 83 degrees in the mornings, but they quickly rise into the mid-and-upper 80’s on hot days. 

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear in the mouths and slightly stained in the backs. 

The creeks and rivers are clear to slightly stained, but after a hard thunderstorm they will get muddy and will clear up quickly.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. 

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing ranges from fair to really good, especially for August. 

On week days, the boat traffic has been calm and it is the best time to book an instructional fishing trip. 

No worries for the 9-5 crowd, because even the weekends will be a little calmer with school in session. 

Fishing still rates good and anglers are catching them well in the middle of August.

When I ask a client about their favorite ways to fish, 95% or more will say respond by pointing to warm weather, topwater fishing. 

Anglers know that a bass topwater bite only occurs early or late in the day and the fish go deep during the day. 

Right? 

That is not the case on Lake Lanier and probably not even on your local ponds. 

Predator fish will always take advantage of the surface year-round and use it as a wall to trap bait fish. 

The reason we mention topwater fishing so much is because anglers love it and it seems to catch fish year-round on Lake Laner. 

The fish are still crushing lures on the surface and this will most likely continue on through the fall. 

So what’s the reason for the great topwater action in summer? 

Herring! 

Blueback herring were introduced illegally into Lake Lanier in the late 1990’s. 

Some predicted gloom and doom, but instead the stripers and spotted bass fishing has exploded into one of the best hot-weather, fresh-water fisheries in the southeast. 

Some of the best fishing on Lake Lanier happens when the sun is high and air temps exceed 80 degrees.

If you are looking for big spotted bass, then continue to run and gun brush piles that are 20-40 feet deep. 

The best brush will usually be located on ledges that have both shallow and deep water close by. 

Isolated brush fishes best. 

Keep a few rods tied on for your run-and-gun fishing and change techniques as needed through out the day. 

Cast moving lures like a SPRO Pop 80 or a Spin John 70 over the brush then move in over the brush and use your electronics and finesse techniques to mop up a few extra bites. 

Our best bait this past week has been fishing a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm on a Drop Shot Rig. 

Use a medium-light to medium-weight rod like my Kissel Kraft Custom Spinning Rods. 

I use straight Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon line when dropshot or worm fishing less than 25-feet deep. As fish go deeper, I will switch to Sunline SX1 Braid and use a SPRO Swivel to attach a Subline FC Leader with a No. 1 Gamakatsu Aberdeen Style hook. 

The braid sinks faster and doesn’t twist.

This past week, there was some interest in my recent shallow-fishing comments. 

About half my fishing trips have been going shallow and fishing in the backs of the pockets and also smaller creeks and up the rivers. 

There is a good population of largemouth bass in Lake Lanier and the percentage of large mouth vs. spotted bass will be evenly split right now in the shallows. 

While largemouth may seem rare, they still show up all over the lake. 

Your best odds to catch them go up when you fish areas that have fresh water flowing into them.

The best lures up shallow have been buzz baits, Whopper Ploppers, SPRO Little John 50’s and the old reliable Jig and Pig. 

We even have some vegetation growing in the feeder creeks that is perfect for SPRO Frog Fishing. 

I suggest mostly using power fishing techniques on a Kissel Kraft 7-inch medium heavy to heavy bait casting outfit.  

Stripers: The main keys to catching striper is in locating the huge deep schools of fish and the only way to see them is with quality electronics. 

Being a guide can be work, because these fish move around so much. 

A good guide will search and search and not fish until they locate the tell-tale arcs and lines that indicate fish. 

It may take three hours finding and less than an hour fishing, but if you can but several fish in the boat, the guide has done a good job. 

Once located, a big school catching fish can be off the charts. 

You will often use several dozen herring in under a four-hour day. 

Changing baits is crucial because lively bait catches fish better than barely-alive baits do.

Visit your bait shops early and follow their instructions to keep your herring lively. 

Purchase salt or bait saver chemicals, chlorine-free ice and use the proper bait tank with a quality aerator and consider adding an oxygen tank if you go frequently. 

All these steps are essential to keep your bait alive on hot summer days.

Watch your electronics closely and target areas around the creek mouths and ditches that run through deeper flats located near the creek and river channels on main the lake. 

The stripers are biting all over the lake, but below Browns Bridge to the dam seem to be best this month. 

Almost all your bites will occur on downlined blueback herring. 

Freshly-netted native shad or spot-tail minnows will also work well. 

Change out your live baits every 10 minutes to keep a lively bait on your hook. 

These same deep fish are suckers for power reeling both live herring, large spoons or even a two-ounce SPRO Bucktail with a Big Bites Shadalicious or Lanier Baits Little Swimmer. 

Drop these offerings down through the larger schools and let it fall below the depths of the fish. 

Then power reel your offering as fast as you can. 

Reel them on back through the schools. 

These fish will strike your lures so hard that you may need an arm splint, but you may become addicted.

Continue to troll, if needed, while you try to find the schools and pay close attention to your graph for any large lines, arcs or even “sketti”. 

Look for the massive schools of stripers and bait fish that almost blackout your screen and you will get bit.

Crappie and Brim: Crappie fishing remains tough during the day, but some anglers are only fishing after dark or early or late in the day. 

During daylight, in the mornings and before sunset, target brush piles in 25-35 feet of water and slowly fish small jigs or down lined spot tail minnows directly in the brush. 

After dark, target lighted boat docks and the deeper bridge pilings as we have been recently. 

Fish crappie minnows or spottail on down lines at the level you mark fish on your electronics. 

A variety of species will strike live bait after dark, including crappie, white bass, stripers and sometimes even a tasty walleye. 

Brim fishing is good all over the lake. 

You can beat the banks with ultra-small crank baits, inline spinners or earth worms under a bobber. 

The smaller brim are shallow but move out deeper and fish your offerings in 5-10 feet deep for keeper-size brim.


To contact Eric Aldrich, email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com with comments or questions.

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