Lake temperatures are in the mid to upper 70s and the lake level has risen slightly with recent rains to 1,064.5 feet, which is 6.5-feet below a full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and slightly stained in the creeks. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has improved and they are starting to get very active as fall approaches. The changing weather fronts will greatly affect fishing and anglers should keep an open mind this week. We encountered very active fish before and in between the rain some days, using topwater plugs and fast moving crank baits. During slower periods there have been some bass up shallow and they can be caught around docks or steeper banks with soft plastic worms.
When spotted bass are up and schooling, the SPRO Hydro Pop 60 and Dawg 100 are producing great results. We are working these baits very quickly on the surface. Other lures like a Pop-R, Super Spook or Sammy should also work well. The Hydro Pop in the blue herring or bronze shad color are smaller topwater plugs that have a feathered treble hook. These baits mimic the smaller threadfin shad that some of the bass are targeting. Throw these smaller plugs out and reel them back with a quick stop and go retrieve. Most strikes are coming as you “pop” the lure. The larger plugs like a SPRO Dawg 100 mimic blueback herring. We have been retrieving these lures with a very fast erratic action to trigger bites. It seems that when you work these baits with a nice rhythmic walk-the-dog style that they do not get as much attention, but when the retrieve is sped up the bass react. We reel these lure so quickly so that they almost skip on the surface and the strikes are very aggressive.
Other quick moving lures will fool active bass. Lipless crank baits, Zoom Super Flukes and jerk baits worked erratically close to the surface should all be good choices.
The periods of the day when it rains hard have seemed to slow the fishing down, but there are always exceptions. During these slower nonfeeding periods, try lures like a Scrounger Head or Fish Head Spin rigged with a regular Zoom Fluke or even a 1/6-to 1/8-ounce Rooster Tail. Retrieve these lures with a steady retrieve. Some days you will want to let your lure sink all the way down to the bottom and other days you will need to count your lure down to the depth that they appear on your Humminbird Electronics.
The dock bite has been getting much better and sunny days seem to be the best. Skip finesse worms up around and under the docks and watch for your bites to happen on the fall or as you are working these worms on the bottom. Zoom Flukes or a smaller jig will also be good choices around docks and steeper banks.
The live bait bite has been decent and the bass will hit native spot tails or even blueback herring on down and flat lines. Live crayfish or even a night crawler on a jig head have been producing well around the docks.
Striper fishing remains consistently good and the fish are still schooled up out deep in the river and creek channels. Down lined blueback and trout have been working from 30- to 50-feet down. My Humminbird 797c screen has shown solid schools of fish in several of the lower lake creek mouths from 30 feet on down.
The lead core trolling bite has been very good at times this week. Trolling larger SPRO Buck Tail Jigs tipped with a Dura Shad or live blueback herring on lead core at around seven to nine colors will work well. Try to run your jigs at around 25-feet deep.
Look for the fall topwater action to get going very soon. The stripers will start to school on top in early fall so keep a Red Fin or a larger SPRO Dawg 125 tied on in case these fish surface within casting distance.
The reports all indicate that crappie fishing is getting better. One of our readers, Charles Dickinson, tells me that he has have done very well fishing 1/16-ounce green or white crappie jigs over brush up in the rivers. Keith Pace echoes the same and says he has also been catching some decent slabs around boat docks with jigs and Micro Spoons. The daytime bite seems to be the best and I have not been getting many after dark reports.
Trout fishing should be good because they will be stocking some newly released trout and these fish can be easy to catch. The DNR welcomes everyone to check out the Free Kids Fishing Day on Sept. 26 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the lower pool just below Buford Dam off Buford Dam Road.
This will be a fun event for all kids 15 and under and there will be helpers on hand to assist parents and children. Bring your own rods, if you have them, or they will have a few loaners on hand. They will also supply bait, drinks and food. An adult must accompany kids and life jackets are recommended.
Bass and crappie will be coming in shallower on Lake Lanier in the next few weeks so bank fishing should improve.
Use medium shiners below a float and cast around bridges and deeper banks that have docks or brush piles close to the shore. Lures like Rapalas, Rooster Tails and curly tail grubs are all good choices for bank anglers.
Eric Aldrich is a part time outdoor writer, bass fisherman and is sponsored by Humminbird, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammonds Fishing and Boat Storage. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from his readers so please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web site at www.aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing.