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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Utilize your electronics to capitalize on productive striper bite
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Recent rains have kept Buford Dam’s turbines moving and they are pulling a lot of water.  

Lake Lanier is currently at 1,071.91 feet or .91 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the low to mid-80’s. 

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

The creeks and rivers are stained to very stained from recent rains.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear, but it will turn stained to muddy if we have rain but it clears up quickly. 

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

Bass fishing has remained better than usual through the summer. 

The higher-than-normal rainfall has helped keep water temperatures from getting much higher and the inflow of water stirs up oxygen levels, which allows predator fish to swim above the thermocline when hunting for bait.

The topwater fishing has remained decent through the summer. 

It should only get better as we head from the dog days into slightly milder temperatures. 

Presently, we have been working a few patterns. 

Running brush on main lake and into the creeks is still producing good numbers and good quality of fish. 

Make sure your boat is running well and that your electronics are tuned in. 

The more you fish, the better your compilation of new offshore brush will become. 

My No. 1 bait the past week have been to cast a Lanier Baits Jerk Minnow, Big Bites Jerk Shad or the larger-sized fluke type lures. 

Work these lures just below the surface and when you get a strike, set the hook hard. 

Make sure your mainline is braided. 

I use Sunline16 pound Sx1 Hi-Vis Yellow Braid with a swivel and 28-inch leader of Sunline Fluorocarbon. 

This line set up has several advantages. 

You can make longer casts and because the braid has almost zero stretch, you can set the hook easy. 

I have also started to become a fan of the hi-vis colors. 

It allows me to see the light bites and it does not affect the fish.

Also, keep a SPRO Pop 80 tied on in case the fish start schooling. 

This SPRO popping plug will cast a mile and pull fish long distances up to the surface. 

Make sure the feathered treble on the back is in good shape. 

Switch it out with a new Gamakatsu Feathered treble hook as needed. 

Most of our strikes on the Popper have been on the back treble because a lot of bass are targeting the small shad that are swimming in large schools below the surface.

Along with your surface or subsurface rods and reels, always keep a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm on a dropshot rig at the ready to drop down to any fish you see on your electronics. 

The dropshot has saved the day many times this summer as it will produce bites from inactive fish during the tough days when everything else seems to shut down.

The new forward-scanning sonars like Lowrance Live Site allow you to see schools and even individual fish way out in front of the boat that you never could see before with conventional systems that only scan directly below the boat or out to the sides with Structure Scan. 

I have not joined the bandwagon yet, but after using it on other people’s boats, I realize it’s going to be on my rig soon.

We have been visiting the creeks more and more as the days shorten and we approach the fall. 

The daylight hours will drop to around 12-hours in late September. 

I have noticed that fish seem to understand shorter days are ahead. 

They start to migrate more into the creeks even when the water temperatures are still very warm. 

You should still keep the staples, like a surface lure and drop shot rig. 

Other methods will produce as fall approaches. 

You can almost pick your favorite method and run a pattern of docks, brush and steep rocky banks or ledges.

Casting a buzz bait or SPRO Little John 50 or Little John MD or RkCrawler in clear Chartreuse or other natural or brim colors when the water is mostly clear. 

Try these same lures in brighter colors when the water is much more stained.

You can cut a Big Bites five-inch Stick, Yamamoto Senko or Lanier Baits four-inch Stix to rig on a Ned Rig. 

Or try skipping these same thicker soft plastics on a Neko Nail Rig. 

These techniques can be deadly on the deeper docks in late summer.

Then there is the shallow-water brim bite that occurs along the banks, in the backs of the creeks or flowing water in the rivers. 

I love to just go run productive shallow areas around the banks with a buzz bait. 

Right now, you can catch bass, smaller stripers and panfish off lighted boat docks is starting to pick up. 

When the water temps drop into the 70’s, this action will just continue to get better and better as the water cools.

Striper fishing remains very good for the anglers who have spent a little time recently on the water or for those that have the knowledge to utilize their electronics to maximum capacity. 

Modern electronics are so advanced that the standard factory settings are usually best. 

Things like learning about adjusting color pallets, adjusting contrast, sensitivity and zooming in or out for more info time.

If you have been on the fish, then check your best areas. 

Move around, as needed, to find the schools again before setting out live bait lines.  

If you don’t see anything, then plan on trolling or idling while paying close attention to your electronics. 

The massive shad schools we are seeing on the surface, at dawn and again at dusk, don’t move around nearly as much as herring. 

If you have seen shad on the surface and you still are seeing big schools of bait, then stripers shouldn’t be too far away. 

When you find an underwater feeding frenzy on your graphs, then you can continue trolling and still do well. 

Some anglers will say it’s time to set out herring or large shiners on either flat or down lines.  

Check the lower main lake mouths, then move midway back in the creeks. 

The fish are also using the ditches out around main lake islands and creek channels where they meet deeper water. 

Up lake, you may find stripers shallower, but they most likely will need to have deeper water close by.

Lastly. Keep a SPRO 1-ounce Bucktail, a Lanier Baits Jerk Shad or maybe your favorite streamer on an 8-wieght fly rod ready since we have seen some impressive schooling recently.

If you haven’t been on the fish for a while, start out either trolling a Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig while you search for the massive shad and herring school that the stripers are feeding on. 

The stripers are almost always relating to the bait fish schools year around. 

The one exception is during the spring when they go through the spawning ritual. 

Even though they would share a rural reproduction, it does not work on Lake Lanier. 

Brim and Crappie: The brim are still up shallow where they will eat just about anything a kid or adult could offer. 

Look around the bushes or some of the trees that have fallen over the last few years are great places that will hold a variety of fish. 

Cast a cricket or worm under a bobber or a small jig.

The crappie are biting small crappie jigs worked around deep docks with submerged brush. 

After dark they have been easy to catch if you go very light and fish 4-pound test with a 1/16 or a 1/32 Big Bite Baits Triple Tail Crappie jig.


You can email Eric Aldrich at esaldrich@yahoo.com with comments or questions.

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