Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s level is 1,065.54, or 5.46 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 80s.
The main lake and creek mouths are clear-to-slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are clear-to-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 rates are good, and bass are being caught on a variety of lures in different locations. The “run and gun” brush pile bite remains very good, and there is also a good largemouth bite shallow around bank cover in the backs of the creeks and coves.
The thermocline is setting up at around 27 feet, and this warm/cold water layer helps to concentrate bass. You will find the majority of spotted bass located at or below the thermocline. The good news is that doesn’t mean they can’t be tempted to rush up to the surface if they are enticed properly.
The top water bite has improved even with the warm surface temperatures. You just have to cover water until you find an active school.
Cast a Sammy, Fluke or your favorite swimbait over brush located at a depth of 20 feet or more. Try switching things up and work a deep-diving crank bait like a SPRO Little John DD or an underspin and make contact, working these lures through the brush.
Other lures will work well. Try casting a spinner bait or swimbait over or through the brush. Work a jig around rocky drop offs and don’t be afraid to cast a jig into brush piles too.
The drop shot bite has been so good, I know some anglers that stow their power fishing outfits in exchange for “fairy wands,” or light spinning equipment with 5-to-8-pound test Fluorocarbon leaders with a mainline of braid like Sunline 16-pound braid.
Rig a No. 8 SPRO Power Swivel tied to your main line with a 24-to-36-inch leader with a No. 1 Gamakatsu Hook and a ¼-ounce Tungsten Skinny Weight at the bottom. Use a shad or green colored Robo Worm, Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrels or a Lanier Baits Fruity Worms. It’s all about your electronics. Target the sides or center of the brush where you see arcs or “sketti” on your Humminbird Electronics.
There has been a good largemouth bite around brim beds shallow early and also throughout the day. Cast a Big Bites Top Toad and work it like a buzz bait around shallow cover. A buzz bait or prop bait like a Devils Horse will elicit some awesome top water strikes from fish in the 3-to-5-pound range.
Marinas, coves and creeks will hold good numbers of shallow largemouth bass in summer.
Night fishing has been good with lures that will reach that magic 25-to-30-feet zone. I like a Black and Blue Strike King Pro Model Jig with a big Fighting Frog trailer. Work these lures around deeper docks, brush and rock drop offs. A single Colorado Blade spinner bait will also entice some great bites for anglers adept at slow-rolling these lures in deep water.
Striper fishing remains very good. The thermocline has helped anglers eliminate a vast portion of the water column, so both down lined herring and trolling has worked well this past week.
Healthy herring are a must. Not many things are more disappointing than finally locating a big school of fish only to find that your herring are dying.
Get hooked up with a good bait tank or the proper setup for your live well to make sure you keep you herring lively. A round tank, chemicals or salt and the proper temperature with chlorine-free ice are all part of the equation.
Pay attention to your electronics and keep moving around until you find fish. Don’t just fish where you found them yesterday. Striper are pelagic, which means they are constantly moving around to find where the herring and shad are located.
Trolling while looking at your graph is a great way to find fish. Pulling Captain Mack’s umbrella rigs at around 3 mph has been working well.
Use a variety of lures like SPRO Buck Tails or Captain Mack’s Chipmunk Jigs with your favorite white or chartreuse trailers. Running between seven or eight colors of lead core has been the ticket, and you should speed up when you turn to keep your rigs above the timber. A lot of strikes will occur when you make speed changes.
When you locate a big school of fish, it’s hard to beat the down line bite in summer. Use a combination of down lined herring and Nichols Flutter Spoons. The fish seem to prefer the smaller Flutter Spoons rather than the bigger Ben Parker Spoons this summer.
The best action has been from stripers moving into the deeper parts of coves located around timber.
Set out a 1-to-2-ounce sinker with a long 6-to-12-feet fluorocarbon leader and a No. 2 Gamakatsu Octopus hook, hooking your herring quickly through the nose and dropping them down into the cooler water from 30-to-70-feet. Set your baits just above where you mark fish and lower them as needed to get bites.
Night fishing for stripers is good, but not many people are doing it. Get out your Hydro Glow lights and head to the Islands or creeks mouths because this is a great way to avoid the crowds and enjoy some productive fishing. Set down lines around 25-to-40 feet and adjust the depth based on what your electronics show.
Crappie fishing is very slow, and panfish anglers may wish to switch to brim fishing.
There have been a lot of brim spawning with the new moon in the 3-to-7-feet depths. These fish will continue to bed with the next full moon Aug. 7.
Many anglers catch small brim around the shoreline, but the bigger brim can be caught deeper. Try an earthworm on a small Aberdeen hook and no weight, then cast this offering into 10 feet or more of water. The bigger brim will be relating to brush, docks, rocks and other cover in 10-to-20-feet deep or more.
Small crappie jigs worked around these same areas may produce some palm-sized, -pound-to-1-pound brim, which are almost as tasty as crappie and much easier to catch.
Trout fishing remains good, except during excess afternoon thunderstorm flows or dam generating periods. Fish can be caught during these conditions, but your success rate will go way down and increased water flows can be very dangerous, so it’s just not worth it.
It’s hard to beat a float down the Chattahoochee or your favorite North Georgia trout stream or river. The cold trout waters create a natural air conditioning that is very welcome during the dog days of summer.
Get out early in the day for your best action. The trout are very active first thing in the morning, and the early trout gets the worm (or your favorite fly or lure). Pick your pleasure and get out.
Dry flies or a double down rig (dry fly with a wet fly rigged on a dropper below) will get strikes from trout both on the surface or down below. Inline spinners, Rapalas, Pinns Minnows or live bait where permitted by law are all good choices this week.
Trout fishing is all about real estate and location — remember that the biggest fish will take over the best locations, and they are often very easy to see.
They are usually big rocks in a current break, rapids or run. A big isolated tree sticking out into the current or something out of the ordinary like a big rock or stump directly above or below a run can be gold mines for the biggest fish.
Make sure to land your fly, lure or live bait above these prime spots and allow it to flow with the current. The trout will often position above or below the best areas to intercept food washed down by the current.
Bank Fishing: People often overlook streams and rivers that run close to our homes. These waters get very little pressure, but some can be hidden gold mines of easy-to-catch fish.
Small streams may hold only small fish, but even those can be fun to catch.
Start out with an ultralight or short fly rod (because of the tight areas). Use small earthworms with small hooks or tiny flies, and drift these offerings around rocks and lay downs in the deeper pools. You may find some big brim or bass in these overlooked honey holes.
Larger streams and rivers often have larger bass, brim, catfish and even stripers, so heavier equipment may be required. Get your favorite bass or catfish rod and explore the banks.
Use a Texas Rigged worm or a jig, and work rocks or trees lying in the water. These current breaks are where the bigger bass will be located, so try slow rolling a spinner bait in these same areas to pick off fish that are suspended behind rocks or in submerged tree limbs.
If there are deep pools in your waterways, then get out your catfish rods and cast cut bait, chicken liver, earthworms or processed catfish bait. Here is a technical tip: Use pantyhose when you are fishing with liver or other bait that tends to come off the hook.
Fill a small section of pantyhose with your bait, twist it, tie it at the top and run your hook through the middle. Just make sure you ask the owner of the pantyhose for permission before you use them.
Catfish are smell feeders, and they will find your bait as will carp, stripers and even gar. Secure your rods and wait about a half hour before moving on to the next pool.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.