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Aldrich: Cool down, catch fish on Chattahoochee River
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Lake temperatures are in the mid 80’s and the lake level continues to hold steady at 1,064.6 feet, which is little more than six-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.

Bass fishing is a little tougher with artificial lures, but live spot tail minnows are working very well.

The best suggestion is to keep an open mind and be willing to change presentations.

Bass in summer have a higher metabolism and they do need to feed often. If you can figure them out you can a limit in a hurry while other anglers are struggling.

I locate the best areas with my Side Imaging on my 797c Humminbird unit. Once a good spot is located, I drop the Minn Kota Trolling motor is use my 777c unit on the bow to survey the brush and fish.

Target brush and rock piles at 20-to 35-feet deep and rotate through several areas during the day.

Sometimes the spotted bass will be locked on to the bottom or around the brush and rocks and they will hit a jig head or drop shot worm. Other times in the day the bass in those same areas are higher up in the water column feeding on the large schools of threadfin shad that are roaming around. These schooling fish seem to prefer slower moving lures. Pick one you have confidence in but be willing to change if needed.

Try lures like small swim baits, crank baits, Fish Head Spins or the old reliable quarter ounce SPRO Buck Tail.

If all else fails you can catch a bunch of these brush pile bass with downline spot tail minnows.

Spot tails have been working well all summer and this week is no exception.

Some very good anglers are averaging one or fewer bass an hour with artificial lures while a spot tail angler can catch 30 or more fish in a four-to six-hour day.

If you can use a small mesh cast net you should be able to easily locate and catch these native baitfish. Chum them up by throwing out grits around boat ramps and beach areas.

Striper fishing remains very good for anglers who can watch their electronics and find the deeper schools. You may need to ride around and you can troll while you do this.

Trolling a 2-ounce SPRO buck tail on Lead Core line is still working well in the river channels.

For live bait fishing, check in the lower to mid lake creek mouths or out in the main lake river channels.

The stripers are really schooled up tight, so once you find them you can catch them and load the boat.

Watch your Humminbird fish finders and look around 40-to 60-feet deep.

Drop downlined bluebacks to the level where you see the stripers on your graph. Check in with Hammond’s Fishing Center for the lowest price on live bluebacks and for daily updates from Shane Watson’s Guide Service.

Crappie fishing is slow. Only the most talented anglers are catching them this week during the day in the offshore timber.

Night fishing is just barely working around deep-lighted docks with brush at around 20-to 25-feet deep. Use live crappie minnows on a downline.

Fishing for trout on the Chattahoochee River is the way to go on a hot summer day.

The water below Buford Dam stays cold and it creates natural air conditioning. The mornings are by far the best time to fish, but there are very few cooler ways to relax on a hot summer day than to float down the river.

Trout fishing in the mountains is also productive. This year’s rains have kept water and oxygen levels in the higher elevation creeks in good shape. Use small inline spinners or live worms and corn where live bait fishing is permitted.

The brim, catfish and even carp can be caught from the bank this week. Brim will probably be the easiest fish to catch. Use unweighted earthworms below a bobber or small Rooster Tails around any banks with rock or trees that are 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 Remember to take a kid fishing!


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