Lake temperatures are getting into the mid 80s and lake levels continue to hold at 1,064.14 feet, which is 6.86 feet below full pool of 1,071 feet. The main lake is clear to stained and the creeks are slightly stained. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been a little slower for people who fish shallow, but anglers adept at fishing deeper can load the boat. The topwater action is still happening early and later in the day, but the better bite is coming from fishing deeper brush piles from 20-35 feet.
There are basically three methods I use to fish deeper brush: A topwater plug or swim bait to first cover the surface area over the brush, a Little John Deep Diving crankbait, Fish Head Spin or large Rooster Tail to get down to bass that are suspended over the brush, and lastly a drop shot rig to catch fish that are in or around the brush. The drop shot will also catch fish suspended over the brush too.
Many anglers struggle with finding and staying on these deeper areas, but you don’t always have to be in the middle of the lake. Many people plant brush around deeper docks and bluff walls. These areas can offer great fishing while still allowing anglers to relate to shoreline objects and stay in the productive areas.
I prefer to fish offshore brush or other offshore structure and cover. I especially like offshore steep drops that are near both deep and shallow water. If there is timber, rock or brush around, it just makes these offshore honey holes that much better.
With today’s electronics, you can stay over the productive brush when the wind and boat wakes are mild. With My side imaging, I can scan a large area and see three dimensional, picture-type images of what is underwater. Even with all the areas and technology, you may still have to run several areas before you connect with an active school of fish.
From now on through the summer, fishing with spot tail minnows should be great. Anglers and guides alike rely on these live native minnows to catch fish when nothing else will work. Use a Gamakatsu Circle hook and rig it drop-shot style to catch and return bass and other predator fish unharmed. You can catch spot tails by throwing bread crumbs or grits out around beach areas. You can also throw a small mesh cast net or try using an old-fashion minnow trap.
Striper fishing is good and we are starting to get into the summer time deepwater down-line bite. Blueback herring stay in the cooler water that stripers prefer. Lake Lanier’s stripers have a food source that keeps them eating all through the summer. The hardest thing about fishing for stripers may be keeping your bluebacks lively.
A circular bait tank works best so the bluebacks won’t get red nose from bumping into corners. You will need a good oxygen system with salt or other bait-well additives and a good bit of ice added throughout the day.
The stripers may be found anywhere from 20-to 80-feet deep this week and your electronics are going to be essential tools for telling you how deep to fish. Use lively bluebacks on a down line. Make sure to attach a heavy sinker to speed them through the warmer surface layer into the cooler depths quickly.
Drop your baits down to where you mark fish and remember it is better to fish slightly above the fish than below. I have noticed a lot of the schools this week have been dispersed throughout the water column, so consider moving your bait up or down as needed.
Many anglers start their summer trolling runs with buck tails on lead core, but one angler I have spoken with has better luck trolling a BBZ1 Shad on a down rigger. Not many reports are talking about trolling, but from the schools I have seen I would recommend trolling your lures around 25-to 30-feet deep.
Crappie fishing has been very similar to the bass conditions. The best crappie are deeper in brush around 20-feet deep. Many pan fish anglers struggle this time of year, but I saw one report this week where an angler was catching a good supply of big slabs from down-lined minnows in the deeper brush. Other anglers are having decent success fishing under lights around docks and bridge pilings.
Trout fishing is good on the Chattahoochee below Lake Lanier, but it has been a little slower in the mountain Wildlife Management Areas. That being said many anglers can catch a limit when they go fishing. Either area will provide anglers with a cool breeze in the mornings. Stick with a 1/8-or 1/16-ounce Rooster Tail or live baited, where permitted by law, and you should have a successful outing.
Bank fishing: It’s the Fourth of July week and the lakes and streams will be crowded. There is one fish that will bite all day long: The North Georgia Redfish, otherwise known as carp. Even with the heat and boat wakes, carp are attracted by human activity.
In the marinas, many people feed these bugle-mouth critters and they can get very large. Carp love corn or dough balls. Rig a medium-light rod with 10-pound test. All you need is a small Aberdeen hook and a small sinker set a foot above it. Hook a dough ball or 3-5 kernels of corn and cast it out and secure your rod. Not many people eat these fish, but when a kid catches one about that weighs about 5-10 pounds, they will be as happy as if it was a bass.
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.