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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass fishing mild in summer heat
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Lake Lanier’s water level held pretty steady this week. Currently the lake level is at 1,066.56 or 4.44 feet below the normal full pool at 1,071. The main lake is clear and so are the mouths of the main lake creeks. The backs of the creeks and rivers are slightly stained to stained. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 80’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been mild, but people are catching them. As summer surface temperatures approach the 90 degree mark, bass fishing requires adjustments. Even with the warm bathtub-water surface temperatures, there will still be some shallow fish where wind and/or water current is present.

In the creeks and rivers, the largemouth and spotted bass will eat early in the day over shallow humps or long points that are close to deeper water. Bass use these structures to corral bait both early and later in the day and throughout active feeding periods and current flow times. A buzz bait is a great way to cover water and catch early morning fish.

Keep a Senko or Big Bites Baits Cane Stick on a dropshot rig ready as a follow up bait. A Little John MD or RkCrawler have been triggering bites.

As the sun gets high and late into the day, the spotted bass have been setting up out over the deeper sides of brush piles from 25-35 feet deep.

Cast a topwater plug or swim bait over the brush, then move in closer and watch your electronics. A lot of the time these fish will suspend and just hand out. A dropshot rig with something shad-colored has been working to trigger bites on the fall.

Crank baits are overlooked lures in the summer time. While a bigger crank bait may get fewer bites, the ones you get to bite will tend to be bigger. Cast a shad-colored SPRO Little John DD or a Bill Norman Little N and tick the top of brush or rock piles early and late in the day. Keep the lure moving quickly and try to get it to deflect off of objects. This action will go way after day, especially around lower lake points and humps when the CORPs generates water after dark.

Striper fishing remains good. Most of the guides report catching them on live bait, big spoons and trolling. The warm upper layer of the lake only seems to make the deeper fishing better. The thermocline is set up nicely right around 27 to 28 feet and that is where you want to begin when targeting stripers.

The stripers have been on the move. Trolling is a great way to find and catch fish. Both single-buck tails on down riggers or lead core line or umbrella rigs trolled behind the boat are worth a try. The guides are running their lines at around the 20-30-foot range. Use a larger single 1- to 3-ounce buck tail with a live herring, Big Bites Suicide Shad or a larger umbrella rig outfitted with several smaller half-ounce buck tails with curly tail trailers.

If you locate one of the larger schools of fish, then drop a Ben Parker Spoon down below them then reel it quickly up to the surface. You can accomplish this same reaction bite with other lures, like a SPRO Buck Tail and swim bait combo or try power-reeling a live herring. When stripers see a fast moving bait, it will often trigger an instinctive strike. The stripers have been relating to the sides of humps and creek and river channels over deeper water.

Live bait fishing has been very good when you find the fish. Your herring must be kept lively during these hot August days. Keep enough ice and salt in your bait tank and replace your baits very often. Use a 3/0 Gamakatsu Octopus or Circle hook and nose hook the herring, then drop them quickly down to where you mark fish on your electronics. Some anglers are catching stripers after dark under Hydro Glow lights down closer to the dam.

Crappie and Bream: Crappie fishing is slow during the day but has picked up when the CORPs has been pulling water after dark. Set out your lights around bridge pilings and fish live spot tail or crappie minnows down to where you mark fish on your electronics.

Bream fishing has been off and on but there are ways to increase your odds. Bream will hang around brush piles, rocks, docks and lay downs. Cast small jigs, inline spinners, small crankbaits, or better yet, live worms around underwater cover. Keep moving until you trigger a few bites. Prime areas usually hold more than a single fish, so, once you find them, slow down and work that area thoroughly. Come back later that same day too!

Trout fishing is good on the Chattahoochee River and the mountain streams and rivers. Recent rains won’t hurt the fishing. When it rains, the trout feed and flowing water adds oxygen to the creeks and rivers.

Live earthworms are one of the best baits for trout especially after it rains.

There are some rules to remember. Make sure you only fish them where live bait is permitted by law. Trout anglers are restricted to the use of one pole and line, which must be hand held.

Bank Fishing: Bottom feeders are fun to catch. Carp and catfish are located all over the south and they are easy to target. A variety of baits like corn, dough balls or chicken livers will work well to trigger bites but one of the most available foods to either species are earthworms and you can dig them up in your own backyard.

All you need to fish for carp and catfish is a reel and pole strung with 8-pound test, a 1/0 to 2/0 Aberdeen style hook, a 1/4-ounce split shot weight and some bait. Thread your worms or bait over the hook and cover it up. Cast it out into deeper water and secure your rod. Carp and catfish can be found on Lake Lanier and in your local farm and subdivision ponds.

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 or visit his website at or Remember to take a kid fishing!

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