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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Cooler temperatures have been a boon for anglers
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s level is 1,065.31, or 5.69 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures have dipped into the high 70s in some locations, and the low 80s in others. 

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-stained. The creeks and rivers are stained-to-very stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading to the river by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass Fishing: We usually get some “dog-day” weather this time of year, but in reviewing recent weather reports at the time of this writing, we actually are hitting some lows instead. All I can say is that these cooler days are a blessing.

Fishing this past week has ranged from great to challenging. On windy, wet days — the conditions most anglers long for — fishing has been tougher. Deep-diving lures like a SPRO Little John DD, or moving lures like big swimbaits and heavy spinner baits, may get only a few bites in these conditions. But they will tend to be big fish.

The sunnier conditions have yielded the best fishing with larger top-water lures and swim baits like Cast Away Baits Emerald Popper, a Bone Colored Super Spook, a SPRO BBZ1 4-inch shad or a Tim Farley Pro-X Swimbait. These bigger lures may also get less bites, but they will yield bigger fish this week. 

Cast these larger top-water lures or other offerings around offshore brush on humps and points both on main lake and in the creeks.

The drop-shot rig has been a go-to method for both numbers and size of bass this week. Find the brush and drop your favorite worm on a ⅛-to-¼-ounce drop-shot weight. When you have the right setup, you’ll see the fish react on your screen.

It always surprises me when people are amazed that we catch a fish below our electronics. Heck, it’s called a “fish finder” for a reason, and it costs enough money that they have had to prove their worth. 

When you have the right setup, you’ll see the fish appear as arcs or wavy lines directly below your boat. Let your drop-shot rig fall through these fish, and watch as they react. 

The whole school will often follow your worm to the bottom, so shake it in place and wait for the bite. It may not take as long as you would think to become proficient with this technique.

This week you can pick your preferred technique to catch largemouth, spotted and even shoal bass. The bass have moved shallow, and there are still some deeper fish, so fish your strengths.

Striper fishing remains good, but the fish have sensed the weather changes. You may need to search around a little more, or you may find the fish are grouped even tighter around some of your best areas.

Trolling continues to be a good bet for both catching and locating fish. The humps in the creek mouths close to the river channel have been holding fish from the surface down to 50 feet or deeper.

Start out pulling a Captain Mack’s umbrella rig at 2.5-to-3 mph and troll from 35 feet deep all the way out over the channel. You’ll want your rig to stay around 15 feet deep, but watch for bites to occur as you speed up or slow down. If you see timber less than 30 feet deep, speed up your rigs to keep them from getting snagged. This is when a lot of your bites will occur.

Todays’ highs were in the low 80s, and we have started to see some striper schooling on the surface. Cast your favorite top-water plugs, or try a SPRO McStick 115 or 110 instead to catch the fish you see on top.

The flat-line and down-line bites remain very strong, so pay attention to your graph to see where the fish are positioned in the water column. Make sure you have plenty of lively bluebacks and set out your lines to just at the level or slightly above where you see fish on your Humminbird Electronics.

Keep a large spoon or a SPRO Buck Tail with a Big Bites Suicide Shad Trailer and power-reel these lures through the schools you find below the boat on your electronics.

Crappie fishing has been tough, but some bigger fish are biting. Target deeper timber and brush piles from 25-to-35 feet deep and work jigs up, over and through the brush with small crappie jigs on light 2-to-4-pound test Sunline Fluorocarbon. 

Trout fishing remains strong for late summer. The patterns are much closer to early autumn, so pick your favorite fly or spin-fishing strengths and go fishing.

A dry fly with a wait-fly dropper is still hard to beat, but fishing just dry flies is a preferred method in late summer and early fall.

Fish live worms (where live bait is permitted by law) or cast Mepps, Rooster Tails or a Yo-Zuri Pinns Minnows anywhere trout swim.

Bank Fishing: As late summer begins, the fish on reservoirs like Lake Lanier start to move shallower where they’re more accessible to anglers that fish from the banks.

Bass, crappie and brim will all strike inline spinners and small crank baits, so choosing a finesse lure will increase your odds. A small Rooster Tail, Shad Rap or Rebel Craw are all tried-and-tested lures that have been catching fish for more decades than many anglers have been fishing, and they continue to work to this day. 

If a slower pace and less walking are preferred, then it’s hard to beat a worm-and-bobber combination. Live earth worms have probably caught more fish than all other lures combined. 

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 his readers, so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com.

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