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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass bite staying unusually strong
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

The lake level is up almost three inches from this same time last week. Lake Lanier is currently at 1,065.71, or 5.29 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures remain in the 80s.

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-stained. The creeks and rivers are clear-to-very stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been good, especially for August, but we have several slow days mixed in with the good ones. Usually bass fishing in August gets tough, but I wouldn’t rate fishing that bad so far for this year’s dog days.

We have been moving around a lot to find a few fish willing to chase swim baits or top water plugs. Cast a Farley Pro X, BBZ1 4-inch shad or Magic swimmer in herring patterns.

Some days the rhythmic sashay of a “walk-the-dog” style lure like a Sammy or Spook have worked best, while on other days the spotted bass seem to prefer a popping-style lure like a Pop-R or Chug Bug. If you throw a popper, work it fast and don’t allow the lure to stand still for very long.

Some days it will suit anglers to stow the power fishing rods and switch over to a drop shot, jig or other lure that you can work down through deeper brush. You can score several smaller bass around the shallow brush, but the deeper cover seems to be holding better fish. Big brush piles in 30-to-40 feet, deep bluff walls or isolated timber have been holding the bigger spots.

Your electronics are almost as important as you lure choice when working deep cover in the summer. The factory settings on your Humminbird Electronics work well, but try dialing up the sensitivity a little so you can concentrate on timber and brush that’s deeper than the thermocline at 27 feet.

Spotted bass will show up as lines or arcs that wave up and down. Set your traditional 2D on a split screen with your Down Imaging Mode. You can confirm you’re seeing the fish in brush because they’ll look like small, solid white dots while viewed in Down Imaging.

Use a drop shot with about 1-to-2 feet of leader from the hook to your weight below. Fishing deeper than 30 feet is easier with a heavier weight, so switch to a ⅜- or ¼-ounce weight to get your worm down quickly.

Feather your line off the spool to slow it as needed to get the bass to follow your worm. Some bites will occur on the fall, but the majority happen when the bass trap your lure against the bottom. If the fish start to swim back up, try reeling up a few feet and dropping your rig back down through to trigger a reaction bite.

Other lures are always worth a try, and it can pay to show the fish something they don’t see every day. Cast a Spybait down to the level at which brush piles top out and retrieve them with a slow, steady pull. Cast a SPRO Little John DD in Clear Chartreuse and slow roll around and through offshore humps and submerged brush.

Live spot-tail minnows are hard to beat when nose-hooked on a drop shot rig around brush and docks.

Striper fishing remains good, but you may need to spend as much or more time searching for active fish as you do actually fishing for them. During these searching times, it pays to troll an artificial lure or lures to trigger active fish into biting.

Umbrella Rigs are probably the most common, but try pulling less conventional lures on lead core line or a Cannon Down Rigger to make getting to the proper level easier and more consistent. SPRO has long been known to the striper community as one of the highest quality buck tails available.

That being said very few anglers pull SPRO swim baits or jerk baits for stripers. That is too bad because the results speak for themselves.

Set out a SPRO BBZ1 6-inch slow sink or a SPRO McStick 110 on a down rigger set at 20-to-30 feet. This will grab the attention of the most aggressive stripers located around the thermocline.

As the sun rises, try running your lures from 30-to-40 feet to tempt the stripers that move deeper during the day. Pulling these same lures with seven-to-nine colors of lead core line at around 2-3 mph will get you around this same depth.

When you locate active schools of stripers, the herring bite can be fast and furious. Vary your down line depth to find the most productive depths.

If you have four down lines, set one at 25 feet, another at 30 feet, the third at 40 feet and one toward the bottom. There have been reports of some stripers schooling on the surface, so don’t be afraid to pull a flat lined herring too.

Lastly, keep a top water plug like a Redfin or a subsurface lure like a buck tail to cast to stripers and bass that you see schooling on the surface.

Crappie fishing is slow, but they will bite. Continue to dissect deeper brush from 20-to-35 feet deep.

You must slow down if you plan to work a one-sixteenth-ounce crappie jig at that depth. Fluorocarbon will sink, which means you can get light offerings down deeper, plus you’ll feel the very subtle difference between brush and a bite. Don’t set the hook hard; just reel up the slack and keep the fish moving out of the brush.

Brim fishing is good during the day and also after dark around lighted boat docks and bridge pilings.

During the day, concentrate at 10 feet deep. After dark, you can just about sight-fish for the larger brim. Cast crickets or live worms on a slip bobber and add some split shot if you need help getting it deeper.

Trout fishing remains good, but the bite has been slightly slower. You’ll need to target water with a high oxygen content. Rapids and runs will contain trout and many of the forage species these fish target.

Float your flies or retrieve your lures past the largest rocks or current breaks in the stream or river. Some of the deeper pools below the rapids will also hold good fish in the summer. Slow row roll a Rooster Tail or sink a live earthworm in these deep cool waters.

Bank Fishing: You don’t have to venture far north for great trout fishing.

The area below Buford Dam has accounted for many fond memories from anglers. They have returned year after year to this wilderness area located so close to civilization.

Once you get out to the river, you may feel as if you have left the city life behind. There are very few areas that will even see homes, roads or buildings from Buford Dam to state Route 141. The cold, clear waters are great for anglers on a hot August day.

Make your own memories on the beautiful local resource. Take a picnic down to the lower overlook, do a float down the river in grandpa’s canoe or just wade the river with your favorite fly rod.

Just make sure you wear your life preserver any time you are in the water from Buford Dam to state Route 20. It’s not only smart — it’s the law.

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 his readers, so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com.

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