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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Optimize striper fishing with right rods and reels
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is higher with the steady afternoon rains and is 1,071.14 or .14 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. 

Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 80’s. 

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. 

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

Bass fishing is hit and miss depending on who you ask. 

Recent afternoon showers have had a good effect upon fishing. 

The bass are starting to set up deeper due to the thermocline. The magic depth seems to be around 25-30 feet deep. 

We have been keeping a power rod in our hands equipped with a topwater plug or swim bait, while keeping a dropshot rod at the ready to pick off any fish that appear on your electronics. 

Get out early and start running and gunning your favorite offshore brush piles in 20-35 feet deep. 

Make casts over the brush with a topwater plug or swim bait. 

If the fish don’t react to your power lures, then move over the brush and use your dropshot rig to catch inactive fish down around the brush. 

Your electronics will let you know if the fish are present. Between the two lures, you should be able to duplicate the same pattern in other areas.

During active feeding periods cast a SPRO BBZ1 4-Inch Shad or your favorite topwater plug and get busy. 

Anytime storms are blowing in or the CORPs is pulling water through the dam are the prime times to fish aggressively. 

Cover offshore brush and rock. 

Make a cast or three, then move on if you don’t see any action. 

There have also been some big-schooling fish that are attacking herring on the surface over open water. 

These pelagic fish are very hard to pattern, but these fish are often trophy size. 

During slower periods, get out your dropshot rod and explore brush from 20-35 feet deep. 

Target larger brush piles that reach 15 feet below the surface. 

Sometimes the bass will be beside or around the brush, while other times they may be buried in the brush. 

Use your Lowrance electronics to give away the schools of fish in deeper water.

You can also cast and work a subsurface lure like SPRO Buck Tail rigged with a Big Bites Suicide Shad. Cast this lure and let it sink. Work it through the brush. Also consider casting a SPRO Spin John spy bait and work this lure slow and steady just above the brush.

Striper fishing is good. The summer down line bite is working well. 

Ninety percent of the stripers will be found below the thermocline in 27-feet of water. 

To truly capitalize on the hot summer bite, you will need the right equipment. A round live well is best to prevent the “red nose” that herring get from running into the corners of a square tank. Check in with your local bait supplier and use the correct amount of salt or bait chemicals. Ice to keep your herring alive.

It pays to have the right rod, reels and lines. 

I like my medium-heavy Kissel Kraft Custom Rods with a bait caster spooled with 15-20-pound Sunline Natural monofilament. 

Use a heavy two-ounce egg sinker to get your herring down to cooler water quickly. 

Add a SPRO Swivel with 6-12 feet of 12-pound Sunline fluorocarbon leader rigged with No. 2 Gamakatsu Octopus Hook. 

Hook your herring under the chin through the top of the nose. 

Switch out your baits every 10 minutes or whenever the bait seems to be inactive.

The stripers are showing up throughout the water column from 30-70 feet deep. 

Always position your down lines and herring right at or slightly above where you mark fish.

You should always keep two rods with lures ready at all times. 

On the first rod, put a Redfin or Gunfish topwater plug and on the second rod put a Nichols-Ben Parker Spoon to drop to fish you see below the boat. 

Cast the topwater plugs early in the day or any time you see fish breaking the surface. 

Use the spoon to drop down below the stripers then power reel it as fast as you can through the school for some arm-breaking strikes.

Crappie fishing has been slow to fair. 

Fishing jigs deep around brush from 20-25 feet deep early in the day or shallower from 10-20 feet under lights with downlined spot tail minnows after dark is your best bet for a few bites

Bank Fishing: Hit your local subdivision or farm pond with some store-bought or home caught live earth worms, some small Aberdeen Style hooks, a bobber and a light fishing pole to target brim from the shore. 

You can also catch brim from the banks of Lake Lanier.

String a worm over the hook. Set the bobber about a foot or two above your worm and cast to any shoreline cover. 

Rocks, laydowns, dock or weeds will all hold brim in the shallows during the warmer months.

There is just something special about the anticipation of watching a bobber just sit on the water. 

Then, seemingly out of nowhere you see the sudden jerk that indicates that a fish has taken your worm.

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. He would love to hear from readers, so please email me at esaldrich@yahoo.com.

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