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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Avoid the heat for best trout action
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Water temperatures have dropped slightly and are around the mid-80s. The lake is down 5.65 feet at 1,065.35 (full pool is 1,071). The lake and rivers are clear to stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: Although the day temperatures have still been in the 90s, the night time temperatures have been a little cooler and this has started to impact the bass.

I have witnessed a large amount of bait near and on the surface down lake and there are a zillion little fish, with a few good ones in the mix, even though these bass can be hard to pattern. They can be up one minute and down the next only to appear 100 yards away a few minutes later.

When bass move like this, you can bet they are chasing bluebacks, because threadfins don’t move that fast. I have been catching some of the topwater fish with SPRO Dawgs, smaller minnow-imitating plugs and the old reliable Rooster Tail or Fish Head Spin. Cast these offerings to where you see bait and bass on the surface, or work topwater plugs or other subsurface offerings over brush piles in 20- to 35-feet deep.

We have caught a few fish on jerk shads or flukes around the same areas. Try a zig-zag retrieve and kill these soft plastic lures when you are over the top of the brush as a lot of strikes occur on a slow fall.

When there is no topwater activity present, or if you are just catching smaller fish, target brush in that same 20-to 40-foot zone and work a drop-shot-rigged worm over and through the brush. Sometimes the fish seem to prefer the deeper side of the brush, and other times they are right on or over the top of it.

Use your electronics to determine where the fish are positioned and try and duplicate the same presentation in other areas. Steeper deep rock banks and deep docks with brush are also well worth a try.

The action does seem to change during the day so keep your options open and experiment with other lures. Live spot tails and even bluebacks will work extremely well when you are around fish.

The night bite has been a little slow when we have tried, but this will get better as early fall approaches.

Striper fishing remains good and the same methods are working.

Trolling and down-lining bluebacks are the two best methods to stick with. Sunny days seem to concentrate the stripers in deep water. They can be anywhere from 40-100 feet and some days they will black out the screen from 50 feet down. These large, hard-fighting game fish are feeding heavily on the blueback herring that are very comfortable in deeper water.

Pay close attention to your electronics to determine the depth where the stripers are located, then drop a down line baited with a large blueback to just above where they appear on the screen. Sometimes the stripers will “window shop” your bait. That means you can see them on the screen, and your baits are getting attention, but the stripers just won’t bite.

When this happens, try power reeling your baits through the school. This means to drop the bait all the way to the bottom then reel it quickly up though the school. This will often trigger a bite when they are slow.

Continue to target the flats that are close to the main river or creek channels. I know I say it every week, but keeping lively bait is absolutely essential. There are some very good resources on the internet, especially YouTube, that will help beginning and experienced anglers alike to learn new tricks.

Trolling one- to two-ounce SPRO Buck Tail jigs tipped with a live blueback herring on lead core set out with eight colors is working well in the main lake, river channels and off-channel timber.

Night fishing below Hydro Glow Lights has been just fair, and the stripers seem to prefer the active feeding periods when the sun is up right now.

Crappie: My buddy Keith says that crappie fishing has been a little tough, but he had some OK luck in the early morning and late evenings on the flats next to the river and creek channels in around 10 feet of water. He says to troll crappie spoons and jigs behind the boat.

During the day these fish back off into the channels and you can downline crappie or spottail minnow on brush, stumps or timber in around 15 to 20 feet. Night fishing below lights has been fair.

Trout fishing on the river during low water periods has been best early and later in the day, but with the reduced boat traffic now that school is back, the trout may bite all day long. My best lure this week has been a 1/16-ounce white and silver or trout-colored Rooster Tail fished on four-pound test line.

Target the areas above and below the rapids since this water holds the most oxygen.

Trout in the mountains are biting OK, but we could really use some rain to get the water flowing.

Bank fishing has been good for bream and smaller bass. There are a bunch of yearling bass that can be very fun for kids to catch. A bobber with a worm or crappie minnow is hard to beat.

The same Rooster Tail that I mention above for trout works very well for bream and bass on the lake. If you are using the Rooster Tail, then keep moving down the bank and you should run into some active fish. With the live bait and also the Rooster Tail target rocky banks for your best success.

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 or visit his website at

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