Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is very close to full pool. The lake water level is 1,070.92 feet, or only .08 feet below a full pool of 1,071. Lake water temperatures range in the high 70s to low 80s. The main lake is clear and stained around the banks from boat traffic. The creeks are clear to stained.
The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam. Check generation schedules at 770-945-1466 before heading out to the river.
Bass fishing remains good and you can still find bass in many different stages. Even though some bass are still spawning, there are many more that are starting or even well into their post-spawn patterns. Because the bass are in all stages of the spawn, you can still catch them on just about any technique or lure in your tackle box.
Try not to get too locked into one pattern as we did last week. I went fishing and only caught a few keepers up shallow before we hit main lake and didn’t fare too well. I called a buddy who I knew had fished that same day and he said the fishing was “on fire.” I asked him how he fished and he said he caught a few on topwater, a couple of drop shots and a few off the docks. His success was because he didn’t get tied into any one technique, but instead he changed up as conditions dictated.
There is a strong morning topwater bite in the right places, as the herring are spawning on sandy saddles between the islands and humps. This action can continue well into the day. Cast topwater Spooks or Sammy’s or use slender lures than mimic herring like a willow leaf spinner bait, SPRO McSticks, or even a Red Fin. Work these lures both out on main lake and also back into the creeks and rivers in areas that have sandy bottoms.
The topwater action has been good all day long in certain areas both up and down lake. Most of these fish are post-spawn. You may catch bass with sores on them. For many anglers this may be a concern, but there really is no need to worry. Lake Lanier’s spotted bass get these sores from spawning and they will heal in the next month or so.
The night fishing has been awesome and the lake is almost deserted after sundown. Target rocky areas in the creek mouths and out into main lake. Work large Carolina-bladed spinner bait or a deep diving crank bait like a SPRO Little John DD. Most anglers choose dark colors, but a Citrus Shad color will work very well, too, Allow your lures to make contact with the bottom by “slow rolling” them close to the bottom.
Striper fishing is good and anglers and guides have been catching both large quantities and quality-sized fish.
Stripers have been hitting surface plugs best in the first hour of the day. It also pays to drag herring on free lines early in the day. In the mornings and throughout the day, you can still get some incredible strikes by V-Waking a Red Fin or walking a Super Spook on the surface. There are few things more exciting to an angler than a big striper hitting a surface lure. The explosion is intense and the ensuing pull will stress your equipment and line to he max. Keep your plugs ready at all times as the striper can be seen crushing herring on the surface during active feeding times.
Live bait like herring and gizzard shad will work well all thoughout the day. Flat lines set behind the boat work best early in the day and they can continue to be your best choice throughout the day. The most reliable pattern is to fish shallow early in the day and to switch over to down lines as the sun gets high in the sky.
Let the stripers and your electronics tell you what the best depth is. My Humminbird 1158c has been showing stripers and bait from the surface on down to 30 feet, with 20 feet being the most productive depth.
You can also put a small split shot on your flat lines to allow the live bait to run a little deeper, or switch over to a Carolina type rig and set your baits at an exact depth where you mark stripers on your graph.
Fishing for stripers out on main lake humps and points and up in the river and creeks has been very productive, too. Use your electronics to find the most productive areas. There have been few reports of night fishing on main lake, but get your Hydro Glow lights and live baits. This action should start really soon.
Crappie fishing is slow for shallow anglers, but the crappie have spawned and have moved out where they are hungry.
If you can find brush piles from 15 to 30 feet on the first break just outside the spawning coves, you can fish crappie jigs through this brush for some great action.
Trout fishing is great. If you fish the river below Buford Dam from a float tube or canoe, you can increase your odds by getting to the river early. The later you go the slower the action will be on a float trip. The same goes for bank anglers on the river. The river tailrace offers great trout fishing for both spin fishing and fly fishing.
If you are fishing less crowded waters in the mountains, there is less pressure and you can start fishing any time in the day. That being said, there is always a flurry of bites first thing in the morning so the early anglers will catch the most fish.
Fly fishing with midges and black ant patterns are working well. Spin anglers can use the old reliable inline spinners and small minnow imitators along with live bait where permitted by law.
Bank Fishing: The bream are spawning well right now in small farm and subdivision ponds. Fish a live worm or cricket under a bobber with a small split shot to get your live bait down. Look for small “holes” or “craters” that indicate the small beds where bream lay their eggs. If you can land your live baits or even a Rooster Tail or dry fly into the middle of this action, you are sure to get a bite.
Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.