Lake temperatures are dropping into the mid 50’s. The lake level is actually up about eight inches after this weeks rains and is at around 1,068.5 feet, which is less than 3 feet below the full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake Lanier is clear to stained on the main lake and stained to muddy in the creeks and the rivers. The Chattahoochee River is stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been a little tougher this week with the passing fronts. I think that bass react to cooler weather, but I also feel that their reaction is directly related to water temperatures, which usually don’t change as quickly as air temperatures.
Look for that to stabilize with this weekend’s consistent weather. The spotted and largemouth bass are still biting both shallow and deep, but look for them to move deeper as winter approaches.
This is the time of year where I really pay attention to “bass highways.”
An example would be if you caught fish in a cove that has a large flat last week but this week they seem to be gone, then look for the nearest underwater ditch or depression.
If you don’t find the bass there, then follow that ditch to the nearest submerged creek bed and follow that creek bed to the river channel.
You can bet that the fish will be somewhere in the ditches and that they will leave these underwater depressions only for brief periods of feeding.
We caught our fish this week on a couple of different patterns. We have been skipping the old reliable jig head and Big Bite Finesse Worms up under the docks to catch some good numbers of spotted bass.
We also caught some bigger bass out on the end of main lake points where they drop of into deeper water. These fish were eating Jerkbaits and crank baits but you had to work them slowly.
If the wind starts blowing, find the windiest points and pockets and work a SPRO Bucktail or spinner baits around these areas. The wind stirs up plankton, which draws in the baitfish.
Bass follow the bait and this is one of those times when the active fish will leave the ditches to feed on shad and bluebacks. My buddy Shane says that he has caught some magnum spotted bass on live bait while fishing for stripers this past week.
Striper fishing remains good and, as with the bass, anglers are reporting that several methods that are working well.
The topwater activity has been hit or miss, and they seem to prefer to feed on top during the nastiest weather.
When it’s sunny out, we have seen a few but they are up and down very quickly. These fish will eat a topwater plug but you can just about catch one every cast with a subsurface lure like a SPRO McStick or a Jerk Shad. We fish these lures on 12 to 17 pound Sunline Fluorocarbon because you can feel the bites, even when your lure is paused.
The most consistent action has come by flat or down lining live trout and blueback herring. Pay close attention to your electronics and check areas from the creek mouths on into the backs of the creeks and up in the rivers as some stripers are making their run north for the winter.
The lower lake stripers will make that same run up into the backs of the lower lake creeks. Watch your electronics and drop your live baits down to the level where you see fish.
Also watch out for the gulls and loons, as they are a dead give away that the bait is present. Trolling the umbrella rigs is producing a few fish up in the rivers and midway back in the creeks.
Crappie fishing has been a little slower but look for them to be both shallow and deep. The stained water from recent rains will stir up the baitfish and it also warms quicker than clearer water.
Fish a live minnow 3-to 5-feet below a bobber back in the creeks and in the coves off main lake and in the creeks. Still target the docks and lay downs in the backs of the coves. Trolling has also been good.
Anglers in the know can troll as many as 12 rods rigged with up to two jigs apiece. They call this “lake raking.” Once these anglers catch a crappie they can quickly determine the right colors and areas to target for successful fishing.
Trout fishing is a little slow but they are still biting. The Chattahoochee River and Wildlife Management Areas have plenty of stocked trout so cold weather fishing is worth a try. Live bait is still your best bet, but make sure to check with local regulations as some areas allow only for artificial lures.
Small worms, grubs, corn and even Berkley Power Nuggets will all work well where live bait is permitted. If you are fly-fishing, try a double rig with a dry fly at the top and a sinking nymph at the bottom.
There are many people out bank fishing for stripers and I have seen some reeling in these hard fighting fish. Here is how you do it.
Secure rod holders are a must as these fish pull very hard. You can purchase some nice rod holders or you can make your own from PVC pipe.
Cut your PVC into 3-4 foot long pieces and make sure one end has a slanted cut so you can pound them into the clay banks. You can use one or 10 rods if you have the tackle.
Make sure to use heavy line, as you will need to pull these bruisers up hill onto the shore. You can use live trout and even cut bait, which you can make from any dead trout.
Slice the trout in half and use the tail end on a bottom rig and cast these offerings out to the channel.
If the wind is blowing from your back you can also set out a live trout under a balloon and let the wind carry your live bait out into the lake.
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 our readers so please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!