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Aldrich: Be prepared to cover water to find fish
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Lake temperatures are in the upper 70’s and the lake level is holding steady at 1,064.4 feet, which is 6.6-feet below a full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and slightly stained in the creeks. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

The bass are reacting to the cooler weather and fishing should get better as fall approaches. You may still need to cover some water to find the active fish.

It’s important to determine the type of food these bass are feeding on so that you can use an appropriate lure to "match the hatch."

Lake Lanier’s spotted bass mainly target two types of baitfish, blueback herring and threadfin shad. They are also opportunistic feeders that will eat other forage like crayfish, earthworms, insects and even small bream.

I use several different lures to try and mimic shad. Threadfin shad are usually about one half on up to 3-inches long, so use smaller lures if bass are targeting them.

Some good choices would be white and silver Rooster Tails, small spoons, small crank baits like a SPRO Aruku Shad Jr. or even a Berkley Gulp Minnow fished on a drops hot rig. Retrieve these lures at a slow and steady pace because threadfin shad do not move very fast.

If the bass are keyed in on blueback herring then try using larger, faster moving lures like a SPRO Dawg 100, Fish Head Spin rigged with a Zoom Fluke, swim baits like a Sebile Magic Swimmer or the new 6-inch BBZ1.

If you get a strike on these lures but the bass misses it you may want to actually speed up your retrieve because blueback herring move very quickly.

The topwater action should start to turn on in the next few weeks.

Keep a surface plug tied on in case you encounter any surface feeding bass. Main lake seems to be holding the better schools of fish but the bass will be moving into the creeks as the weather cools.

Continue to target deep brush piles but also start to look at docks and shallower cover back into the creeks and rivers. Cast swim baits and topwater plugs over productive areas first to coax the active fish into striking.

If the bass don’t react to the faster moving lures then move up and use you Humminbird Fish Finders to see where the fish are located. If the fish are suspended and they don’t strike you may need to go find some actively feeding fish. Sometimes a jig or plastic worm fished down in the brush will get the less aggressive fish to bite.

Spot tail minnows continue to work well but they have been a little harder to catch this past week. You can also purchase medium shiners from Hammond’s Fishing Center and use these on flat and downlines around any main lake points or humps.

Night fishing with dark colored jigs and crank baits is getting better.

This report is brought to you by Shane Watson Guide Service and Hammond’s Fishing Center. Shane says that nothing has changed much on the stripers.

We’ve been catching our better size fish over the main channel and in the mouths of south end creeks fishing our downlines from 45- to 90-feet deep. Lead core is still producing some nice fish out on the main lake.

There are good numbers of 3- to 8-pound stripers on secondary points over a 30- to 40-foot bottom. These fish are fun for kids and beginners as the action is fast, but please remember to catch and release these smaller fish, as they are our future.

Crappie fishing is getting a little better but it is still tough.

Fish the deeper docks that have brush at around 15-feet deep. Use a small crappie jig or Micro Spoon tipped with a crappie minnow and let these offerings get down into the brush. After dark, target these same docks that have lights around them. The crappie will come up shallower and feed on small shad at night.

The Department Of Natural Resources welcomes everyone to check out the Free Kids Fishing Day on Sept. 26 2009 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the lower pool just below Buford Dam off Buford Dam Road.

This will be a fun even for all kids 15 and under and there will be helpers on hand to assist parents and children.

Bring your own rods, if you have them, or they will have a few loaners on hand. They will also supply bait, drinks and food.

An adult must accompany kids and life jackets are recommended.

Trout fishing is good and the DNR is stocking fish due to the upcoming event. Corn, worms and salmon eggs (where permitted by law) and all the regular lures and flies will work well if you are fishing elsewhere on the river.

The bream continue to bite well and you should be able to catch several if you find the right banks. Use worms fished below a bobber around any banks that have rocks or trees lying down in the water.

Eric Aldrich is a part-time outdoors writer, bass fisherman and a member of Humminbird’s, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammond’s Fishing Center Pro Staff. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. If you would like to email him please do so at esal Remember to take a kid fishing!

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