Lake Lanier’s water level continues to drop this week. Currently the lake level is at 1,065.81 or 5,19 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071 feet above sea level. The main lake and mouths of the creeks are clear. The backs of the creeks and rivers are slightly stained to very stained after rains. Lake surface temperatures remain in the mid 80’s. The
Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear except after the afternoon thunderstorms. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been a little slow, but they are biting.
The patterns are pretty normal for the first week of September. The bass in the hottest months will tend to hang around deeper brush and timberlines close to deeper water.
If you want to catch numbers (which is relative for this time of year) then the drop shot rig will be your best choice. Quality electronics are essential tools for any type of serious fishing, but this is especially true when fishing a drop shot rig.
Make sure to mark any new brush that you find as a waypoint on your GPS. Areas with one single big brush pile seem to out shine areas that have multiple piles. A single large brush pile only offers bass one place to congregate, which makes them easier to target then when they are spread out over multiple piles.
A sensitive rod like my Kissel Krafts Custom Drop Shot Rod paired with braided SX1 Sunline braid and a fluorocarbon leader make detecting light bites much easier. A lot of times you will just feel weight or a light tick when a bass eats your worm. Use a sharp No. 2 Gamakatsu Aberdeen thin wire hook that penetrates the bass’s mouth much easier. If you do so, the fish will often set the hook on themselves. If you do set the hook use a “reel set” by just reeling fast and raising the rod up at the same time. You want to get the fish moving away out from the brush and up towards the boat.
This past couple of weeks I have tried to stow the drop shot rod and have moved towards power fishing for larger bass. You may only catch a few bass fishing this way in a full day of fishing but they will be much bigger on average. Bigger lures like a Super Spook, 6 or 8-inch BBZ1 Slow Sink or a Cordell Redfin are all good choices when you can get the spotted bass to rise up and take a lure up on the surface. If the bass are lethargic, try going down after them with a Big
Bite Suicide Shad or SPRO Little John DD crank bait. Get these lures over or down into the brush and isolated timber out in water 20 to 40 feet or deeper.
Night fishing has been better in previous weeks, but this week a large Jig N’ Pig type combo may be your best bet worked in brush piles from 20 to 30 feet deep. Make sure to add some scent and use rattles and a bulky trailer. Anything you can do to assist bass in finding your lures is a good thing after dark.
Striper fishing continues to be good. Trolling single buck tails, umbrella rigs and even large spoons on 8-9 colors of lead core at around 3 MPH is working well. Keep your lures running around 25 to 35 feet deep. Consider hiring a guide to help with your set up or use a Cannon Down Rigger as a great tool to set the exact depths for your trolled lures.
Live herring on a down line with as long a leader of fluorocarbon line continues to work well from 25 feet to as deep as 100 feet where the stripers are congregated. Switch out your herring every 10 minutes or just whenever you “feel” that they need to be changed. Lively bait is key to catching fish consistently year-round on Lake Lanier. Target areas near the river and in deeper creek channels.
Power reeling a 2-ounce SPRO or Chipmunk Bucktail with either a live herring or Suicide Shad has been killing the stripers down lake. This is the same method used for fishing the Ben Parker Spoons and seems to be just as effective. But when you snag a buck tail, the cost is less than a quarter of what it costs when you lose one of those super sized spoons! That being said, the spoon bite is still very good this week when you are over fish.
I have seen a lot of little stripers relating to the Hydro Glow Lights after dark but these fish are only 1/2 to 2 pounds at the biggest, You can catch them with a fly rod and a small with streamers, or with a conventional rod with a Rooster Tail or a McStick.
Crappie and Bream: Crappie fishing has been OK early in the mornings and later in the day towards sunset. You will need to dissect brush in the 20-foot range with small crappie jigs. You can also score a few slabs by down lining a small shiner or native spot tail minnow. Use a No. 1 Aberdeen hook and hook the minnow through the back and place a small split shot about 2 feet above the hook.
The same techniques are working for bream during the day, both on Lake Lanier and on local farm and subdivision ponds. The bigger bream have been down deeper than 5 feet. Casting unweighted night crawlers will yield some bigger bream and an occasional bonus bass or catfish. We have seen some big, eater sized bream hanging around the Hydro
Glow and Dock Lights after dark. Use live earth worms or even crappie minnows to catch some bigger bream after dark.
Trout fishing remains just OK on the Chattahoochee River, mountain streams and rivers. The rivers below dams and the creeks and rivers in higher elevations have been best. We could use some rains. The warmer water temperatures affect the activity levels of trout. Continue to get out early for your best action. The same lures like live earth worms, inline spinners and dry flies are working this week.
Bank Fishing: Catfishing is a staple in the south and also around the world. These whiskered critters eat a variety of baits and even lures. I once caught a 10-pound channel catfish on a buzz bait on the surface. Catfish will also strike other lures, but bait is probably the preferred method for this type of fishing. Live night crawlers, cut bait like pieces of shad or other fish, chicken livers and even hot dogs have been known to catch catfish.
Use pretty heavy line, at least 12-pound test, with an octopus or bait style hook and a heavy weight. A standard bass style Carolina rig works well. Cover the hook with your bait and cast it out around channel edges or steeper banks that are close to deep water. The whiskers on a catfish are actually scent gatherers that they use to smell food from long distances. Let your baits soak in an area for a while before changing, recasting or moving to a new spot. Secure your rods well because you never know if the catfish you catch will weigh 1 pound or 50 pounds!
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 his readers so please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing!