Lake Lanier temperatures have held consistent in the mid to upper 80s for the past month. The lake is clear to stained on the main lake and slightly stained in the rivers. The lake level is a little over 4 feet below full pool at 1,066.5 feet (full pool is 1,071 feet). Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been up and down. One day we catch them on topwater plugs, only to go out the following day to find those same fish suspended at 30-to 40-feet deep. Lake Lanier's spotted bass eat a lot in the summer. Their metabolism is high, so they must eat enough food to keep healthy. Most of this feeding activity in the summer occurs offshore, so anglers who fish shallow may be struggling. Our local spotted bass really key in on blueback herring and spot tail minnows. These baitfish really move fast, and the strikes you get will usually be very aggressive. There is nothing like slow reeling a SPRO Bucktail and getting a hit from a five-pound spot. When the fish strikes, they will almost jerk the rod out of your hands.
The best advice I could give anglers this week is to trust and utilize your electronics. I can't tell you how many times we have set the trolling motor down to quietly ease over to a brush pile only to stop because a large school of fish appears on the screen. My 895c allows me to see everything that is below my boat, including the small finesse worms and weight. You can drop a dropshot rig down and actually watch as the bass come up to intercept your lure. This is a video game that I really like.
This week, we have found some pretty large schools of bass that are suspended on the ends of the main lake points. The better bass are in the 30-to 40-foot zone.
Some of these schools are relating to relatively flat bottoms that gradually taper off into deeper water. There are also some decent schools of spotted bass that are also suspended around steep bluff walls. There are some bass, that if you have been beating the banks and casting toward the shore, it may be a good idea to turn around and cast out into deeper water.
These deeper schools may strike a variety of lures. It is always a good idea to cast a topwater plug as these deeper bass will come up from the bottom to crush your lure. Keep that topwater rod handy as the schools can break anytime of the day. If they are not active, they will usually be close to the bottom or suspended. You can catch these deeper inactive bass with a deep diving crank bait, Fish Head Spin, swim bait or even a Rooster Tail.
Of course live spot tail minnows are like candy to spotted bass. If you can net up a bunch, you should be set for a great day of fishing.
The deep water striper bite is consistently good, and Lake Lanier's stripers are very active and healthy in the summer. There are some huge schools that are down deep in the colder layers of the lake. Bluebacks also prefer deep water when surface temperatures get past the 80-degree mark. The bluebacks supply stripers with a constant buffet in the summer.
As with the bass report, electronics are essential tools when targeting stripers. I have seen some very large schools that almost black out the screen on my Humminbird 858c. It takes a little education to disseminate deep timber from schools of stripers. The deeper timber will tend to generate a straight up and down image of arcs as opposed to the wavy lines and arcs that are fish. Often, the stripers will be mixed in with the timber, but time on the water will help you learn your electronics.
The guides have been either down-lining blueback herring or trolling large 2-ounce SPRO Bucktails on lead core line. When down lining, make sure to use a heavy sinker to get your live bait down into the cooler deep water quickly. Also make sure to use a 10-to 12-pound fluorocarbon leader to help fool line-shy fish. The power reeling technique continues to trigger some strikes from otherwise inactive stripers to just above the level where you mark fish on your Humminbird Electronics.
Crappie fishing remains slow during the day, but there are some OK schools relating to the bridge pilings. Fish actually get up against the pilings and wait for bait fish to eat. These pilings have algae, which attracts bait fish and those baitfish in turn will supply predatory fish with a constant food source. A good set of lights is an essential tool for bright fishing. You can use the standard floating type of lights, or you can spend the extra money and invest in a Hydro Glow light which is a much brighter light. Use a 1/8-ounce sinker and down line live crappie minnows, or go out and net some spot tails. Fish the live baits or a Micro Spoon around 10-to-15 feet and adjust your rigs deeper or shallower as your fish finder indicates.
Trout fishing is just OK, but many anglers are still catching a limit before the day gets too hot. There are many Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) that are very good to us that can allow anglers a very peaceful experience. After fishing on the lake with all the cabin cruisers and jet skis, it is a welcome break to hike into the North Georgia mountains and fish these small clear running streams that hold trout.
Just make sure to check the local regulations. Some WMAs are set up as trophy streams where you can only use one barbless hook, while others may be artificial only. There are also some places like the Rock Creek WMA that have areas right off the road for easy access or you can hike into the Cohutta Wilderness and fish smaller streams where you may not see another human for hours.
Fishing on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam has been productive early in the days and also toward sunset.
Bank Fishing: I mention bream a lot in my bank reports. There are many advantages to targeting these tasty pan fish. Bream will bite all day long and that makes for a great fish for kids to target. Bream are also very abundant and they can be found in the shallows even on the hottest days.
Target areas where there are docks, laydowns or rocks. Bream fishing is also very easy. About all you need is a long stick or cane pole with some line and a single small hook.
You can add a bobber and weight if needed, but I have the best success when we thread a worm over the entire small hook to appear as natural as possible.
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.