Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is up again with the steady afternoon rains, and is 1,065.29, or 5.71 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the low 80s.
The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are clear-to-very stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing is hit-and-miss depending on when and where you fish, and the weather has a lot to do with success.
Lake Lanier fishes differently than most other lakes. Low light conditions during rainy and overcast skies may be times of great fishing elsewhere, but these same conditions on Lake Lanier cause bass to scatter out and make fishing feast or famine.
In contrast, sunny, blue-bird skies concentrate fish around and over brush and other cover. Sunny conditions actually make them easier to target for anglers that have a run of brush piles on points and humps.
During sunny conditions, we have been keeping a power rod in our hands with a drop shot rod close by. Run and gun your favorite brush piles, making casts over the brush with a top water plug or swim bait. When the fish don’t react to your power lures, move in over the brush and use your drop shot rig to explore for inactive fish down around the brush.
Your electronics will let you know if the fish are present, and between the two lures, you should be able to duplicate the same pattern in other areas.
During active feeding periods, cast a SPRO BBZ1 4-Inch Shad, a Jerk Shad or Fluke or your favorite top water plug and get busy covering water around brush and rock. Make a cast or three, then move on if you don’t see any action.
There have also been some big schooling fish that are attacking herring on the surface over open water. These pelagic fish are very hard to pattern but often trophy-sized. When you see fish exploding herring on the surface, get a lure in front of them quickly.
During slower periods, get out your drop shot rod and explore brush from 20-to-30 feet deep. Target larger brush piles that reach within 5-to-15 feet below the surface. Sometimes the bass will be beside or around the brush, while other times they may be buried in the brush. Use your electronics to give away the schools of fish in deeper water.
You can also cast and work a crank bait like a SPRO Fat Papa or a Fish Head Spin rigged with a Big Bites Suicide Shad over and through the brush to entice fish that may not be willing to come up to strike your top water plugs or swim baits.
Other lures like jerk baits, swim baits and even jigs will also work well on the fish relating to brush.
Night fishing for spotted and large mouth bass has been OK. Work a dark-colored SPRO BBZ1 in Blue/Black or a ½-ounce black and blue Strike King Pro Model Jig with a Big Bites Fighting Squirrel Trailer around rock and brush in the creek mouths.
Striper fishing is good, and the summer down line bite is just starting.
To truly capitalize on the hot summer bite, you will need the right equipment. A round live well is best to prevent “red nose” that herring get from running into the corners of a square tank. That being said, I can keep several dozen herring alive for the day by using the proper amount of salt, ice and oxygen in my Nitro’s live well.
Once you have a good system with lively herring, you need the right rod, reels and lines. Medium heavy fresh water spinning or bait casting reels and rods rigged with 12-to-20-pound Sunline Natural monofilament line should work well. Use a heavy 2-ounce egg sinker to get your herring down to cooler water quickly.
Use a SPRO Swivel with a 6-to-12-feet of Sunline fluorocarbon leader on a No. 2 Gamakatsu Octopus Hook. Hook your herring from under the chin through the top of the nose, and switch out your baits every 10 minutes or whenever the bait seems to be inactive.
The stripers I have been seeing on my Humminbird Electronics are scattered throughout the water column from the surface down to 50-to-60 feet. Pay attention to where the fish are located on your fish finders and set you herring right at or slightly above where you mark fish.
You should always keep two rods with lures ready at all times. On the first rod put a Redfin or Gunfish top-water plug and on the second rod put a Nichols-Ben Parker Spoon to drop to fish you see below the boat.
Cast the top water plugs early in the day or any time you see fish breaking the surface. Use the spoon to drop down below the stripers, then “power reel” it as fast as you can through the school for some arm-breaking strikes.
Crappie fishing has been slow. Fishing jigs deep around brush from 20-to-40 feet deep early in the day or under lights with down lined spot tail minnows after dark is your best bet for a few bites.
Trout fishing is good during slack river and stream flows both up north and below Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee.
During rains, the fishing is tougher, and don’t bother to fish during the generation periods below power dams. The fishing is slow and not worth the risk.
Fly fishing with small nymph and black ant patterns has been producing early and later in the day. The early mornings are best for spin and bait fishing in the streams and rivers.
Bank Fishing: Do you remember your first fish? Do you remember your last fish? Maybe you have never caught a fish at all. No matter if you are an experienced angler or new to fishing, you should get out at least one day a year with some store- bought or home-caught live earth worms, some small Aberdeen Style hooks, a bobber and a light fishing pole to target brim from the shore.
String a worm over the hook and set the bobber about a foot or two above your worm, casting to any shore line cover. Rocks, laydowns, dock or weeds will all hold brim in the shallows during the warmer months.
There is just something special about the anticipation of watching a bobber just sit on the water. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, you see the sudden jerk that indicates a fish has taken your worm.
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.