Lake Lanier’s water level is noticeably down at 1,067.05 or 3.95 feet below the normal full pool at 1,071. The main lake is clear to slightly stained in the main lake creeks. The backs of the creeks and rivers are slightly stained to stained. Lake surface temperatures remain in the mid 80s. 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 OK. Some anglers who get out a few times as week are able to pattern them, while others who fish less may struggle.
My Humminbird fish finders have been showing more bass in the 25-35 foot range during the day. There are still some fish that will feed on the surface early in the morning and throughout the day during active feeding times and water generation periods.
Start your day with three lures tied on: a topwater plug, larger swim bait and a dropshot rig. There have been plenty of fish schooling in the mornings, but many will be found randomly breaking the surface over open water. Keep a Sammy or Chug Bug on a rod where you can make long casts to any fish that show themselves on top.
A large swim bait like a Bull Shad, High Powered Herring or 6-Inch SPRO BBZ1 cast over brush piles, around humps, points close to the river and creek channels can enlist some awesome strikes from bigger bass. This is a big-fish pattern.
You will not get a lot of bites, but the fish that do will be the right ones. The topwater action can last all day long. You will need to run-and-gun to find new water regularly.
The dropshot fished with your electronics is always a good technique for catching large numbers of bass. Target brush or the areas on the deeper side of the brush with your rigs from 20-35 feet deep. Fish will appear as lines, arcs or ‘spaghetti’ when you locate them above or around brush. Seeing fish that are buried inside the brush piles is harder.
My Humminbirds Down Imaging can help, but it is often just a matter of putting your dropshot rig right in the middle of the brush piles and feeling for a bite.
Use a Big Bites 4-Inch Cane Stick or Shaking’ Squirrel on a light wire hook with a ¼-ounce Tungsten Skinny Weight.
Targeting fish that are buried deep inside a brush pile requires quick thinking and the right equipment. I use a medium-heavy spinning rod and reel equipped with 16-pound Sunline SX1 Braid for the main line and 8-pound Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon for the leader with a 50-pound test SPRO Swivel to tie the two together.
These test ratings may sound like heavy-duty tackle, but they are in fact a very finesse approach with high-power abilities. When you get a bite, immediately take the fight to the fish and pull them up and away from the brush. The first couple of seconds before a fish realizes what is going on can make the difference between landing the fish and losing it in the brush.
Once you know the fish is clear of the brush, use your trolling motor to get it away from the structure out into open water. A five-pound spot may take a second to realize it is hooked, but once it does it will scream line off your reel and attempt to charge back to the safety of the brush.
We have also caught fish with some of the new prototype Big Bite Baits Suicide Shad soft body swim baits on a larger darter jig head or Fish Head Spin. These came out at ICAST 2016 this week and are an awesome bait for fishing just over Lake Lanier’s numerous brush piles.
Let these lures hot bottom and slow roll or crawl them just above the brush and hold on. Deep Diving crankbaits like a Little John DD will also tick the top of the brush piles at just under 20-feet deep. Make long casts past the brush and work your crank bait down and over it.
Other methods that are working include stair-stepping jig, pig combos down the deeper drop offs, slow rolling shad or blueback patterned spinner baits. Fishing darker colors of the lures after dark is a time tested recipe for success. Target brush and rocks in 15-25 feet after the sun goes down.
Stripers: The main keys to catching striper is in locating the huge deep schools of fish. Once located, catching fish can be off the charts. Anglers that can keep their boats positioned over a large school of these deeper stripers can easily catch fish one after another and go through several dozen herring in under a four-hour day.
Make sure to visit the bait store early and ask them for specifics on what you need to keep your herring lively. Salt, ice and the proper bait tank with a quality aerator are essential to keeping your bait healthy during these hot summer days.
Watch your electronics closely and target areas in the creek mouths and flats located near to the creek and river channels on the main lake. The stripers are biting from Buford Dam into the Chestatee and Chattahoochee Rivers once you locate the large, deeper schools.
You can downline blueback herring or gizzard shad anywhere out of your boat in the areas that hold fish. Change out your live baits every 10 minutes to keep a lively bait on your hook.
These same deep fish are suckers for the long, heavy, bigger Ben Parker Spoons. Drop these spoons down through the larger schools, let it hit bottom or fall below the stripers then power reel it on back through the schools. These fish will strike your spoons with reckless abandon, so hold on when power fishing these larger ‘hub cap’ style spoons.
Continue to troll when you can’t find the schools, paying close attention to your graph while you do so that you will know when you locate your target. Pull a single 2-or 3-ounce SPRO Bucktail tipped with a Big Bites Cane Thumper or live herring troll an umbrella rig. Target areas close to the dam or flats located just off the creek and river channels.
Crappie and Bream: Crappie fishing remains tough during the day. Fishing brush piles in 25-35 feet of water with small jigs or even down lined spot tail minnows will work OK until about 9-10 a.m. After dark, target lighted boat docks and the deeper bridge pilings. Fish a crappie minnow or spot tail on down lines at the level you mark fish on your electronics.
You may catch a variety of species with live bait including crappie, bass, stripers and the occasional bonus tasty walleye.
Bream fishing is good all over the lake. You can beat the banks with ultra-small crank baits, inline spinners or earth worms under a bobber. You will catch a lot of smaller bream shallow, but move out deeper in water 5-10 feet deep to catch the keeper-size bream.
The trout fishing remains good on the Chattahoochee River and fair to good in the mountain streams and rivers. There continue to be insect hatches over the streams and rivers.
Match the hatch for your best results when fly fishing. The same reliable Rooster tails, Countdown Rapalas, You Suri Pinns Minnows or Worms on bottom rigs are great selections on the Chattahoochee or in mountain streams and rivers in North Georgia.
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 email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing!