Lake Lanier temperatures are in the upper 70s and lake levels are holding steady at 1,064.8 feet and is 6.2 feet below full pool of 1,071 feet.
The main lake is clear to stained and the creeks are slightly to very stained in some areas from last weeks’ rains.
The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: Bass fishing is good. Spotted and largemouth bass are biting both lures and live bait, and several methods are working. Shad, herring and spot tail minnows are abundant on Lake Lanier and the old saying, ‘Find the bait, and you will find the fish’ is true.
Utilize your electronics and watch your graph not only for the long wavy lines that indicate the bigger bass, but also the clouds or shaded areas that indicate baitfish schools. If you see bait schooled up in balls, then it is usually a good indicator that predator fish are nearby, whereas baitfish schools spread out yield less fish. Side imaging helps narrow down your search greatly.
For the biggest stringers of spotted bass, you may need to move around and power fish on the main lake and into the creek mouths until you find baitfish or, even better, schooling bass on the surface. The best topwater action is out on main lake humps and points with brush.
It helps to already know where the brush is located beforehand on your GPS so that you can make long casts to the productive area. Cast a Super Spook, Chug Bug or BBZ1 swim bait over both shallow and deeper brush this week.
When the fish are present, you may pull up a huge wolfpack of spotted bass to the surface. Many times, fish will swipe or even knock a topwater plug into the air without getting stuck. Use Gamakatsu hooks to increase your catching and make sure to feel weight before setting the hook.
Straight tail worms have been working on Carolina, Texas and drop shot rigs. I use a Big Bite Cane Stick with a green back and pearl belly because these colors look a lot like native spot tail minnows.
Work your worms along the bottom and seek out rock, brush and docks as the most effective targets. When all else fails, catch some real native spot tails and hook them through the lips and drop them down around brush piles for some great catching action.
Stripers: Striper fishing remains good for some, while it has been tougher for others. Most of the stripers can be found all throughout the water column, but most are less than 50 feet deep. These fish are staying on the move as they swim around looking for the fast running blueback herring.
When the stripers appear on the surface, you may catch one or two, but they will usually sound then resurface 100 yards away. This type of fishing can be frustrating or very productive depending on what choices you make.
Usually, when this happens, I would stow away any live bait rods and have a single rod rigged with a Super Spook or SPRO Bucktail then be prepared to move and cast artificial lures to the fast moving fish.
When the surface action subsided, I would put out two flat lines behind the boat, while casting from the front, or I would use live bait rigs on the front instead of casting. Adjust any weights to the level where you mark fish on your screen. Some days the down lines work and other days the flat lines will work better, so adjust your offerings accordingly.
Some anglers are catching herring around the bridges with Sabiki rigs. These small rigs contain tiny flies that bait fish mistake for plankton. These same bridges are holding stripers after dark. Set out floating or Hydro Glow lights and set your bluebacks out on down lines.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is slower, but they are still biting around bridges and brush from 5-to 20-feet deep. Down line a small crappie or spot tail minnows around brush, or cast small jigs and crawl them through the same brush.
Trout: Trout fishing remains good both in the mountains and on the Chattahoochee River below Buford dam. The recent rains really help the fish up in the hills, because fresh rains bring the oxygen levels up. These same rains also wash worms and insects into the stream for trout to feed on.
Lures that match these insect or live worms will work well. Live bait fishing with worms (check local regulations about using live bait) is one of the easiest ways for kids and adults to catch trout. Use as light of line as possible with a small split shot sinker crimped a foot above a small sharp hook.
Try to avoid using swivels and cover the entire hook by threading your earthworm onto it. Trout can be very finicky, so make as natural a presentation as possible.
Bank fishing: Bream are catchable all year, but in the summer they move shallow where the can be caught fairly easy. Use the same rig mentioned above for trout to catch brim. Small worms, corn, crickets and small lures will all catch bream. Target the banks where rock meets clay or around any down trees.
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. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.