Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,069.97 feet or 1.03 feet below a full pool of 1,071.
Lake water temperatures have risen pretty quickly due to the recent hot weather, and are in the mid 80s.
The main lake is slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are stained. The boat traffic has been mild on the weekdays and early in the weekends, but when noon hits on the weekends, the boat traffic gets the lake rocking.
The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam. Check generation schedules at (770) 945-1466 before heading out to the river.
Bass: Many anglers including me thought the extreme temperatures would hurt the fishing, but anglers that can adapt are catching some good fish right now. The spotted and largemouth bass are still on pretty normal patterns for late spring fishing.
We have started our days with two rods — a topwater plug and an occasional drop shot to pick off fish that appear on my 1195 Humminbird Graph.
I have been using walking baits and also popper type lures to draw the fish up. At times, you may have to just wait and cast when the fish appear on the surface. This week, the waiting game and drop shot have been the most affective.
We have been in the water at about 6 a.m. to beat the crowds. I can tell you that the early angler will get the bites, so take advantage of the early hours and you will probably have your limit before the sun gets high in the sky.
Cast topwater lures like a Zara Spook, Gun Fish or a SPRO floating or slow sink BBZ1 Shad or Trout. Find the prime humps and points on main lake below Browns Bridge and all the way up into the rivers.
Make sure to fish aggressively early in the day because the fish have been eating well on the surface in the morning. As the sun gets up, the surface activity starts to wane, but you will still see some smaller wolf packs of spotted bass chasing herring on the surface.
These sporadic schooling fish will drive anglers crazy. It is inevitable — I make a long cast off the right side of my Nitro Z8, then fish will always start schooling in the right side in opposite direction. That is why it pays to wait for a school off fish and cast into the schooling frenzy. Even then, they are often two casts away.
I have found that when the schooling bite dies or gets hard, it is better to start drop shoting but keep an alternate topwater plug ready for any fish that surface within casting distance. You can work a drop shot rig up and through the brush piles and catch some great bass.
This week, I found a unique pattern. I was reeling in my Big Bites Shakin” Squirrel and caught a fish that followed my bait. I proceeded to drop shot the brush and when my Shakin’ Squirrel cleared the brush, I used a medium retrieve and swam my drop shot lure back to the boat.
These bites occurred while swimming the Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel on my drop shot rig. It has been fun out there, but enjoy it while you can. These extreme temperatures will eventually push the fish deeper and deeper.
There have been other lures that will work. I have also been using a deep-diving SPRO Little John DD on the humps during the day and also and after dark. Grab a couple of these lures and dig them into the bottom over humps that are 10-15 feet deep for some bigger spots and largemouth bass.
Striper fishing has been fair to great depending who you ask. Right now, your electronics or surface activity will give away the best areas to fish. In late spring, the fish will alternate from a shallow early day pattern on down to a deeper summertime pattern as the sun gets up. On cloudy days. the shallower patterns will stay for a little while.
Dragging herring or trolling buck tails while keeping a topwater plug ready has been the pattern and this should remain the same for a while.
Fishing with herring in the summer months is all about keeping your herring lively and dropping them down through the warmer thermocline to the deeper cooler waters. I know this sounds like a broken record, but make sure you have an adequate bait tank and use a heavy sinker on your down lines.
Turn your electronics up to 100 percent and you should be able to see bait and plankton at a certain level.
This will be the thermocline where the upper topwater levels meet the colder lower levels. This is a very important thing to pay attention to because the thermocline layer is where both bait and predator fish like stripers, bass and the occasional walleye live and eat.
Dragging herring at around 30-40 feet has been the best place to fish your down lines. Continue to keep a lure ready for any of the fish appear on the surface. Set your down lines to the level where you mark fish or right at the thermocline.
Trolling is working well. As mentioned last week, there are several different ways to troll for stripers. Umbrella rigs or a larger single bucktail tipped with a live herring will work well. Trolling is a great way to either catch or locate fish. If you find a lot of bites on your trolling rigs, slow down and drop some herring down to get a few extra bites.
Crappie and bream: Crappie fishing has slowed and most anglers will find fishing tough. The crappie are hanging deep around docks and brush in the 15-30 foot range.
Use very light line like Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon and let your jigs hit bottom. Work jigs over and through the brush. You will lose some jigs this way, but you will also catch some fish.
The Sunline Fluorocarbon will allow you to feel these lighter deeper bites. The fishing for crappie is best early in the day to later around sundown and on after dark.
The bream are biting well in farm or subdivision ponds as well as on Lake Lanier. Grab some crickets or worms and fish them on a light Aberdeen style hook with only a light 1/16th ounce spit shot about 1-3 feet below a bobber.
Trout fishing remains great in the streams and rivers. Pick your favorite method of fishing and hit the ‘Hooch or other North Georgia rivers and streams and you should do quite well.
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 readers, so please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!