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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Creek mouths the best bet for stripers
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Water temperatures are right around 70 degrees. Lake Lanier’s water level is at 1,065.65, which is 5.35 feet below full pool of 1,071 feet. We should see an increase as the recent rains flow into the lake. Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and mostly clear in the creeks and coves. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: Bass fishing has been OK but we saw the bite get a little less consistent this week. A lot of bass spawned last week during the full moon. After the spawn, the females and males will pull out of the shallows and take a break as they rest up after the tough task of reproduction.

A lot of the bass you may catch will have sore spots on their bodies, and this is normal for post-spawn fish. They should heal within the next month and will be healthy-looking very soon.

There are plenty of bass that spawned several weeks ago, and these fish will now be aggressive as they reclaim their health by feeding up on bluebacks and threadfin shad.

The bluebacks are starting their spawning process now and that should make for some very good shallow topwater action in the coves and out on main lake.

Work a Jerk Shad or Zoom Fluke on a No. 4-5 Gamakatsu EWG hook and a small swivel about a foot above your lure to cut down on line twists. These soft plastic jerk baits can be worked quickly on the surface, but these post-spawn bass seem to prefer a slower subsurface retrieve. Smaller topwater plugs like a Zara Puppy or a Pop-R. Larger topwater plugs will come in to play very soon and the topwater action will be on fire very soon.

There are still plenty of bass that are shallow and these fish will hang around brush piles and docks and are easy targets for a straight tail worm on a jig head. I use a 1/4-ounce Alien Head with a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel fished on light 5- to 7-pound fluorocarbon. Almost 80 percent of your bites will come on the fall, but go ahead and work your worm under the dock because you may encounter a big fish just lurking on the bottom.

Live minnows under a float or flatlined have been working for the bass and stripers this past week. The after-dark bite is really just improving for the spotted bass. Cast dark-colored spinner baits or crank baits after dark for success.

Stripers: The striper fishing has been a little better and some of the guides are having 20 fish days, while other guides report a lot slower bite. The creek mouths are holding some nice schools or stripers, with some spotted bass mixed in schooling on the surface.

A wake bait like a Redfin or even a floating BBZ1 will work well for any schooling fish. Work these lures back to the boat with a slow and steady retrieve to create a v-wake on the surface behind your lure.

Jerk Shads, Flukes, McSticks and Bombers will all work well when retrieved slow and steady just below the surface. Walking baits like a Zara Spook will also work, but these should get really productive in the next few weeks as the topwater bite explodes.

Of course live bait is usually best.

Freelined blueback herring or trout drifting behind the boat is a very productive method early and later in the day. Stick with these flatlines until the fish quit biting.

When the surface bite slows, use your electronics to see where the fish are staying in the water column. My side imaging will actually show me fish that are over 100 feet to either side of the boat. Use downlines from 15- to 35-feet deep.

Always set your downlines to just above where you mark fish, as the stripers will move up to take a bait but seldom move downward.

Bomber Long As fished after dark are just fair, but there have been some fair reports that the night bite is still happening. Fish the areas around the damn, in the rivers and also in the backs of some of the lower lake creeks.

Crappie fishing has been a little slower, but it is still decent. Shooting small micro spoons or crappie jigs under docks in the rivers and downlake is a productive method right now. Also, minnows fished below a bobber will work well in the coves and around the docks. Fish large brush piles with jigs on light line or downline a small crappie minnow right in the brush.

Trout fishing remains very good as the Department of Natural Resources has stocked just about all of the trout waters. Live earthworms on light line, where permitted by law, with a small hook and a 1/4- to a 1/2-ounce sinker pinched a foot above the lure will work very well for these hungry fish.

Stick with the basics when spin casting for trout. Small inline spinners like Rooter Tails or Mepps should be deadly on the trout this week.

Bank fishing: I have spoken with several anglers that are catching some nice catfish and several have been caught on lures. It is a misconception that catfish are only bottom feeders, as we have caught many through the years on lures and live minnows. Use lures, live minnows or cut bait around any of the downlake parks and make sure to secure your rods as a normal sized catfish can easily drag an unsecured rod into the lake.

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. Contact him at esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.

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