Lake temperatures are in the lower 70s. Lake Lanier is slightly stained and is close to full pool at 1,069.3 feet (full pool is 1,071 feet). The Chattahoochee River is slightly stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing remains good. Anglers will need to make adjustments while on the water, as the patterns can change during the day.
The lake will start to turn over very soon. Turnover is when the warm upper-layer of water cools down enough to equal the same temperature of the lower layer of water and they mix.
When the lake starts to turn the bass will roam around. They can be caught both shallow and deep so keep several baits tied on and make adjustments as the day progresses. Start out in the morning with search bait like a SPRO Aruku Shad or other fast moving crank bait. Target the points and pockets at the mouths of the creeks and work your way back until you find active fish. The bass may be schooling just about anywhere on the lake so keep searching until you find active fish. Once a school of fish is located, slow down and work that area thoroughly.
Topwater plugs or swim baits can be very effective for catching schooling bass. Try to use lures that resemble the long skinny blueback herring. A SPRO Dawg 100 or 125 looks similar to a herring and these topwater lures will work very well in fall. Other good choices include Zoom Flukes, Basstrix Swim Baits, Red Fins and other similar lures.
If you are unable to locate schooling bass, then fishing the docks is a very productive back up plan. Cast jig head or drop shot rigged worms around docks and try to develop a pattern so that you can concentrate on the most productive ones. You may find that the deeper isolated docks in the mouths of the coves are the most productive, or you may discover that the shallower docks in the backs of the pockets are holding the most fish. Pay attention to where your best bites are occurring and you should be able to locate similar docks elsewhere on the lake to maximize your time on the water.
Live night crawlers or medium shiners fished below a bobber are a great way to catch Lake Lanier’s spotted bass or other species of fish too.
Down lines are still working best for stripers. Most of the stripers will still be down around the 30-to 40-foot range and these fish are feeding on blueback herring. You can purchase fresh blueback herring or trout from Hammond’s Fishing Center. Use a 1-ounce weight and make sure to tie on a leader of lighter fluorocarbon because stripers can be very line shy. Pay very close attention to your Humminbird Electronics.
Trolling buck tails on lead core or down riggers has been working well this week. The fall topwater bite has started but you will need to keep moving to find this sporadic activity. As the weather cools down, the topwater action will get much better. Cast a Red Fin out to any schooling fish and reel this lure with a slow and steady retrieve. This lure should leave a V-wake on the surface if you are working it properly. Other topwater plugs will work very well. SPRO Buck Tail Jigs will also work very well when cast out to schooling stripers.
I have not heard anything about this, but the nighttime Bomber Long A action should start very soon.
Crappie fishing is good. The same methods that were working last week will still work well this week. Target the coves off of the main lake or river and try to find some sort of wood cover, as it will be holding the better crappie. Examples of wood cover include docks, brush piles, lay down trees and stumps. Look for this type of cover at anywhere from 5-to 15-feet deep and cast or troll small crappie jigs, Micro Spoons and even small crank.
Trout fishing has been OK this past week. You should still be able to catch a limit but you might have to work a little harder. My best year-round lure for trout is a ¬-or 1/16th-ounce white and silver Rooster Tail. These small inline spinners look very similar to the small shad that get washed down from the lake. Cast these Rooster Tails out on the lightest line possible and work them just fast enough to keep the blades spinning. Live night crawlers (where permitted by law) are a very good choice after the rains.
Right now is a very good time to fish from the banks. Many of Lake Lanier’s fish are up shallow this time of year and that means that bank anglers can do very well.
A small minnow fished about 2-3 feet below a bobber will catch several different varieties of fish. Bass, brim, stripers and even catfish will all eat minnows. Just make sure you can secure your rod with a good rod holder. That way if you hook a big fish then the rod will not be pulled into the water.
Eric Aldrich is a part time outdoor writer, bass fisherman and is sponsored by Humminbird, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammonds Fishing and Boat Storage. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from his readers so please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web site at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!