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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass, stripers set up deep on strong summertime pattern
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Lake Lanier’s water level has dropped again and is right around 1,067.79 feet or 3.21 feet below a full pool at 1,071.

Lake Lanier’s water is clear to stained on the main lake and slightly stained to very stained in the creeks, pockets and rivers. Lake water temperatures are in the mid to upper 80’s. The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam.

Bass: If you ask most local bass anglers what their favorite month for bass fishing on Lake Lanier is, not many will reply,

“Man! I just love to sit out on a bass boat in the high 90’s in August! Especially on the weekends!” I would have to say that even this deep water, structure angler with full blown electronics is usually ready to get off the water by 12:30 p.m. on weekdays or even 9:30 a.m. on the weekends.

The weather is hot, the fish are deep and the water gets rocking pretty hard on the weekends by 11 a.m.

That being said, try asking me if I would rather be working on my marketing sales or HTML Tackle sites in the air conditioning during the weekdays or yard work on the weekends, or if I would rather be fishing, and you will find my Nitro Bass Boat with me and a fishing pole in my hand 100 percent of the time.

August on Lake Lanier has a lot to offer anglers who prefer to get way off the banks and target the deeper spotted bass in brush and timber.

This past week, the fishing has ranged from OK to better than even I expected.

The average size of the bass we are catching has actually gone up, but the frequency of the bites has not been that bad either.

If you have quality electronics and a decent amount of brush piles and timber marked in the 25-45 foot range, you should still be able to have some good days out on the main lake right now. You may even do as good or even better in the rivers and creeks.

The drop shot rig, jig and pig or the jig head worm bite have all been good around brush and also timberlines that are located around the magical thermocline.

Turn up your sensitivity on your fish finders and look for the defined line where water density changes, plankton and baitfish all create a noticeable line on your graph between 27-33 feet deep.

You can also do well in water from 10-30 feet deep up in the rivers and from 20-40 feet deep down in the backs of lower lake creeks too. The same bottom bumping lures as mentioned above are the main stays but keep a topwater plug like a Chug Bug or Vixen ready. Keep a SPRO Little John DD for deep cranking tied on too.

People think that when you tie on a deep-diving plug like the SPRO lures, I use and also the other “ultra deep” crank baits that have become popular that we are all “long lining” or “strolling” trying to hit 15-40 feet deep. While I do my share of that, I also do a whole lot more fishing from 5-15 feet deep with these same lures that claim to run much deeper.

I am a big believer in fishing a lure that will “dig up bottom” in areas much shallower than the depth they are advertised to run.

For instance, if I have a lure that claims to run 20 feet deep, I usually fish that lure in 7-18 feet of water.

These deep-diving lures work their best when they deflect off objects. Few rarely do so in more than 20 feet, or more, of water.

The other lures that don’t see nearly as much use in deep water as they should are fast-sinking swim baits.

It is hard to convince an angler to let a $30 lure descend into the depths where rock, brush and timber could potentially snag one of them, but that is exactly where these lures earn their expensive price tags.

The best advice I have been told, and I have given anglers that have lures designed for deep fishing, is to “try to snag or lose them.” Their reply is often, “Why would I spend that kind of money to just snag them on the bottom?” Maybe their thoughts ought to be, “Why should I spend all that time toting them around in my tackle box if they don’t work?

I have many of my own lures I will show you but they are not showing the fish they should be catching.” Often an angler will lose these lures but just as often they will hook big fish that they were intending to catch. If you have a lure that has not gotten snagged in the past 12 months, it is time to try and loose that lure!

Oftentimes, you may just clear up space for a more productive lure but hopefully your lures will get snagged in the mouths of the fish you should be catching.

Stripers: The striper fishing has been a little less consistent in August than in some of the past few years.

The thermocline has set in at around 30 feet on lower lake but that has been about the only consistent thing for the fishing,

Down lining blueback herring has been the norm this week and if you are on the fish the live bait fishing has produced well. Your electronics do not lie so if you can find the consistent schools just off the main river channels you can load the boat.

That being said, the fish are moving around and your boat may be on them Wednesday and by Thursday, they’re gone. I would not want to be a guide in 2015 this August on Lake Lanier just because it has been feast or famine. Some boats are doing great while other very good anglers are struggling.

That being said, stick with what you know and you may get on some good fish.

The anglers that can set up a good trolling plan have been doing from fair to great with it as have the live bait anglers. If your best plan is to down line bluebacks in 40 to 70 feet of water then that is the way to start out.

This week, the heroes are the ones who fish their strengths and that means that you have to trust your instincts about when to stick with a plan and when to abandon it.

Overall, the best bite on blueback herring has been below Browns Bridge in the 40 to 70 foot range over the flats just off the main river channels in 50 to 100 feet of water. If the fish are not showing up in consistent schools then get out the lead core or Cannon Down riggers and troll from above River Forks Park to below Browns Bridge to the mouth of Flowery Branch to Six Mile.

Trout fishing is good to fair. The North Georgia streams have been very good from Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee Tails Race on down to Morgan Falls Dam. This bite has included fly-fishing with dry flies on through spin fishing and even some live earthworms where permitted by law.

The great thing about Georgia’s trout waters is that there are so many variables. You can pick your water and your preferred fishing methods and do well.

Bank fishing: This past week the bream have been bedding on Lake Lanier and also on the local farm and subdivision ponds. The moon has been full and the bream have been bedding.

Take just about any lure or live bait you are confident with for bream fishing and get out on the water. Line earthworms and crickets fished under bobber are hard to beat.

The largemouth bass make a living off bream fishing so try casting a prop bait, top water bait or buzz bait around these same areas that hold pan fish and you may just land the largemouth of a life time. If not, then stick with those bream baits and bring home a stringer full of fillets for the fryer!

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. I would love to hear from our readers so please email me at or visit my website at or and remember to take a kid fishing!

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