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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Use power rods to score the biggest bass
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is down slightly at 1,065.47, or 5.53 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures remain in the low 80s. 

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-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 by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing: The bass are biting, but you may need to work a little more for them this week. Despite the hot weather, the lake is empty during the week, so if you can sneak away it’ll probably be worthwhile.

I looked back on my recent fishing logs and photos this year and realized that while we may be catching lower quantities of bass, the quality has been much better. If you are catching a lot of bass but not many big ones, it may pay to stow the finesse equipment and get out your power rods. 

Swim baits, larger top water plugs and deep-diving crank baits tend to score much larger bass than drop shots, shaky heads or whacky rigged plastics.

Set up your power run off brush on humps and points. Add in some off-lake structure like bluff walls, bridges and areas with lots of cover like marinas and docks. Find a couple of lures you have confidence in and make about five-to-10 casts to the sweet spots, then move onto the next. 

Swim Baits like the Farley Pro X, SPRO BBZ1 or a Super Spook are all great options. This type of power fishing may yield only three-to-eight bites a day, but showing off three big fish beats twenty pictures of 1-to-2-pound bass on Instagram and Facebook.

While the comments above may seem biased against finesse techniques, it pays to always have a drop shot at the ready. Drop shots always pick up a few extra fish, including an occasional big one when they show themselves on our electronics. 

There are days when the drop shot will smoke power anglers, plus I would rather catch twenty smaller fish than one or two medium-sized ones. 

There has been a decent largemouth bass bite in the creeks and rivers. Fish a SPRO Little John Shallow Runner in Clear Chartreuse or Chartreuse Black Back if the water is stained. 

Allow these lures to deflect off bank cover, rocks and stumps. Flipping a Strike King Pro Model Jig to deeper bank cover in the creeks can yield some big largemouths.

Striper fishing: There have been a lot of small-to-medium-sized stripers with a few larger fish working the lower creek mouths just off the main lake channel in the morning and throughout the day. 

A combination of down and flat lines, trolling and even a few fish on top-water lures have made fishing interesting.

The bigger stripers have been deeper, and two methods are working to produce fish — live herring on down lines from 30-to-60 feet, and trolling.

Trolling is a great way to start the day and find fish that will eat herring on down lines. Troll either a large SPRO buck tail on lead core or a down rigger, or try a Captain Mack’s umbrella rig.

Lead-core trolling is a method that utilizes a weighted line set out at different lengths (colors) to achieve the desired depth. The lead-core line’s different colors let you know how deep your lure is running. While it’s not an exact science most lead-core set out at eight-to-nine colors at 2.5 mph will run between 25 and 35 feet deep. 

Remember, variables come into play while trolling lead-core, including boat speed, line test, lure weight, drag and even water temperature.

Your electronics play a big part year-round, but especially in summer when the stripers are deep. Other than getting a random strike there is only one other way to determine that stripers are present — your electronics. Right now, we have been marking schools of stripers in 35-to-65 feet of water over a 50-to-80-feet bottom.

There are also some stripers being caught after dark around Hydro Glow lights. Cast small swim baits or try fishing a fly rod and streamer around the outside of where these lights meet the darker areas. Cast a SPRO McStick or Little John DD to these same dark edges, and also try using a free-lined herring after dark and switch baits often.

Crappie fishing remains slow, but they will bite early and later in the day, as well as after dark. 

Continue to fish the deeper brush from 20-to-35 feet deep early and late. After dark, look for lighted boat docks or set out lights around the bridge pilings. Crickets or live worms under a bobber set to 2-to-4 feet around docks and bank cover have been working decently this past week.

Trout fishing has been OK, but you will need to seek out the oxygenated water. Rapids and current runs will hold you better trout. Cast a dry fly, worm, Rooster Tail, Rapala or Yo Zuri Pinns Minnow around the rocks, trees and current breaks. 

Bank Fishing: Live earth worms will catch a variety of fish from the banks of Lake Lanier, the Chattahoochee River and your local farm and subdivision ponds.

You can catch your own worms in your backyard around gardens, mulch piles and any good soil you can find. If needed, you can water a good area in your yard and come back later to catch worms.

Once you have a can filled with worms, get out your light-spinning and spin-casting equipment and hit the water. All you need is a bobber with a foot or two of line and a gold Aberdeen style hook. Cast worms around any trees, or docks. 

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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