Lake Lanier temperatures are dropping into the lower 60’s. The lake level is remaining steady from last week at around 1,068.1 feet, or a little under three feet below the full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake Lanier is clear to stained on the main lake, stained in the creeks, and the rivers and the Chattahoochee River is stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing is good and Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass are feeding on shad, bluebacks and crawfish as they fatten up before winter. Fall can be one of the best times, or it can leave us scratching our heads because the fish are active and on the move. Bass that were schooling on topwater in the creek mouths one day may seem to be gone the next.
This past week, we found fish under the backs of the dock gang planks in under two feet of water during the rain by skipping Big Bite finesse worms with JJ’s Magic on jig heads. We caught them on top with plugs during the fronts and then out deeper on steeper creek bends with jigs, finesse worms and fish Head Spins as the weather stabilized. Keeping track of these moving fish and the pathways they use will help anglers pattern them and keep our lures in the strike zone.
Fishing jigs and worms has been one of our most productive methods. Start your day out by picking out a line of docks that are close to the creek and river channels. Cast your lures around these docks both shallow and deep and pay attention to where you get bites to develop a pattern that can work in other similar areas. Work areas between and beside these same docks with a McRip or McStick Jerk bait. Use a pause and retrieve with these lures, as most strikes will occur on the pause.
Other lures like topwater plugs, crank baits and spinner baits have also produced well for some anglers, and the striper guides are catching some hog spotted bass with live bluebacks and trout. You can just about pick your favorite method and catch fish this week, but the jerk baits and soft plastics have been our best producers.
Striper fishing is good and there are schools surfacing out on the main lake and creeks. Keep a SPRO Buck tail or a BBZ1 4-inch floating shad and retrieve these lures with a slow to medium steady retrieve.
I watched one boat this week catch a striper on almost every cast, while a couple of other boats around them caught none. You could see from a distance that the one boat had two experienced anglers that were calm and taking their time and making accurate casts with a wake bait.
The other boats seemed to be excited about all the fish on the surface and they were getting tangled up, fishing too fast and they kept switching lures. It wasn’t the lures that weren’t working well: it was the anglers. Trust me, I have been there.
I learned long ago from an “Old Salt” to always take a long breath before making a cast toward schooling fish. Watching that one boat’s success reinforced those words of wisdom from my elder.
Some days the topwater stripers have been harder to find and the guides have been switching over to flat and even down lined live bait. Like the bass, these fall stripers can be on the surface one day and down around 30 feet the next.
Watch your electronics closely and use them as tools to figure out the fishing puzzle. Live trout, blueback herring and Gizzard shad will all work, but the bluebacks and trout seem to be working best.
Bomber Long A’s and the new six inch floating BBZ1 have been fooling some stripers out on the main lake islands after dark and the lake is deserted at night so it’s a great time to go. Cast these lures to the windy banks on the islands in the creek mouths.
This past week’s rain has brought the crappie a little shallower. Stay close to the timberlines and lay downs for your best success. Trolling crappie jigs and Micro Spoons midway on back in the pockets is working well. If you get several bites in one area, or you just don’t like to troll, then try casting crappie minnows under a float or on flat lines has been working well.
Trout fishing is fair on the river and in the mountain streams. Anglers have been doing pretty well below the dam in the Chattahoochee with live worms and also Rooster Tails and Rapalas. Try a jerk and pause retrieve with your Rapalas to entice a reaction strike.
Bank fishing is good right now.
Anglers report catching a variety of fish from the banks but stripers, bass and crappie seem to be the most popular. Cast medium sized minnows under a float or lures that mimic baitfish around the banks in the parks. Try to target the points or deeper banks that have rock or lay downs close by.
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. He would love to hear from readers, so please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!