Surface temperatures are from the upper 80s to 90s depending on where you fish and the time of day. Lake Lanier water levels are holding consistent for the past few months and they are less than a foot below full pool at 1,070.2 feet. Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and stained in the creeks. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
The FLW Cup on Lake Lanier will end Sunday. Make sure to read your newspaper for more information on this national bass fishing championship. Come out to Laurel Park or the Gwinnett Arena and say hello. Visit www.flwoutdoors.com for more information.
Bass: I have been out watching the FLW pros this week. These anglers are the best in the world and are very proficient at finding fish both shallow and deep. Several of my “top secret” spots had FLW anglers on them. It just shows how great these anglers and their quality electronics are at finding fish.
If you are out this weekend, please allow them a lot of space because they are competing for over a million dollars of prize money. They also bring an enormous amount of money to our local economy, which is a blessing in these hard times.
Most of the FLW pros were off shore doing the same thing that we have been doing, but I also saw a few fishing very shallow. All of them seemed to being doing well.
I saw one angler fishing half a cast off the banks on a shallow flat and was very surprised to see him catch a nice keeper. Normally these are areas that only produce in spring or fall, but it is great to learn some new lessons.
The cool thing about fishing, as well as other passions in life, is we can always grow and learn new things every day. Most bass fishing professionals learn a new technique or method at least every year.
They have to be open to new ideas because it is their livelihood on the line.
They say fish have a brain the size of a pea but they sure seem darn smart to me.
Knowing exactly where the brush and timber are located is the key to unlocking the mystery of fish on Lake Lanier this week. They say there is no replacement for spending time on the water and I agree to certain extent.
That being said there are things you should study off the water that will greatly increase your odds when you do get to the lake.
Several things to consider are as follows.
The first suggestion is the most important: buy a regular Lake Lanier map from your tackle store or on the Internet.
I keep a copy of the lake map in the “reading room” so I can look for new things or review notes from previous years.
When I travel to a new lake, I buy a map even though I have some of the best Navionics chip in my electronics.
You can also use Google Maps or look up more detailed online information that gives out specific GPS coordinates and videos.
Buy the best electronics you can afford. If you bass fish for a living, your boat will may be equipped with more than $5,000 in electronics, but the weekend angler can get by with spending much less.
You can by a PiranhaMAX for as little as $80. Also read reports like this one and explore other online information to get several viewpoints on what the fish are doing.
You can also log on to the newspapers’ website and look in the archives for previous years reports. I call this Internet fishing.
My better bites have come from the offshore timber and brush. We are still running and gunning.
That means we are cycling through many areas to find the most active fish. I will hit any where from 20-40 areas in an 8-hour day of fishing. It is an intense way to fish but will increase your odds of finding a wolf pack of spotted bass.
Most of my areas are located where brush or timber intersects with drop offs.
I often position the boat in 50 feet of water casting to brush or timber that tops out around 20-feet deep.
A lot of these spotted bass are schooling over this cover and may appear on top, so set the boat down a few casts away from your specific brush pile and cast over the cover with a large topwater plug or a Big Bites Super Shad.
We have caught some toads doing this; in the middle of the hottest days.
If the fish are not up on top, then move directly over the cover and work a drop shot or finesse jig head through the limbs of the brush and timber. Ninety percent off the time I use a 4-inch Big Bite Finesse worm dipped in JJs chartreuse. A live, native
spot tail minnow rigged on a drop shot rig in these same areas will almost ensure a bite.
Stripers: Fishing continues to be very good. Down lined blueback herring out around the flats next to the creek mouths and main river channels have been producing the most numbers.
Use quality electronics to find the tell tale spaghetti or arcs that are a dead giveaway there is a school of stripers below.
My graph just about blacked out from 30-50 feet one day showing a large school of stripers over a 60-foot deep flat.
When you find the fish, you will need to have lively bait and a fluorocarbon leader.
At times the stripers will hit anything, but in the summer these fish seem to want to window shop before committing to a bait. If your herring are not lively or your fishing leader is to short or made of thick monofilament, the stripers will stray away.
Sometimes you can trigger bite by power reeling a SPRO Buck Tail with a live herring on it.
Tie this buck tail directly to at least 12-to 20-pound Sunline Sniper Line.
These stripers are strong, so you need the heaver line to get them up and out of the timber plus fluorocarbon is almost invisable under the water.
The topwater action is a little slower, but they are coming up in early and later morning Cast SPRO 4 inch BBZ1 Floater and retrieve this lure medium speed and steady to create a perfect V-Wake. If the fish follows and doesn’t strike, try jerking your swim bait, then feed it back line to make the lure turn around and face the following fish. If you can do this, they will hit it almost every time.
Crappie: Fishing is slow, but the deeper brush, timber and bridge pilings are holding fish. Get out after dark and place and use floating lights to enjoy the cooler evenings. Down line a live crappie minnow or smaller spot tail on light 2-to 6-pound line to the level that the fish appear.
Trout on the Chattahoochee: Fishing remains very good in the mornings below Buford Dam. In this case the early angler will catch the most fish.
If you can get you’re your best fishing bank spot or put your boat or tube in at safe light, you will beat the float traffic that spooks the fish.
We went out recently during the day and it is amazing to see how many trout the DNR has stocked.
We witnessed more than 100 trout in one small run, but they were so spooked because of all the traffic. During the day, cast around logs and fast moving rapids as the trout seem a little more willing than the ones holding above the rapids.
Trout fishing in the mountains is very good and this year’s rainfall has really been helpful for the streams.
Bank Fishing: Many anglers are catching bream from the banks right now.
Bream are great for kids and adults alike and the make a tasty sandwich when fried up in some corm meal. Get some crickets or small worms and rig them on an ultra light straight shank hook.
Try to use a hook smaller than the bait so you can insert the whole hook inside your worm or cricket.
The biggest mistakes I see bank anglers make is to have a bunch of hardware like swivels and snaps or using too large of sinkers or hooks.
If you can tie the hook directly to the lightest main line under a float you can almost guarantee a bite.
The most I would add might be a small lead slip shot to get the bait down sooner but an unweighted slow fall is almost impossible for the bream to resist.
Fly fishing enthusiasts can also catch these shallow pan fish with small floating flies or poppers. Target rocky shores or trees lying down in the water.
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 e-mail him at email@example.com or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.Remember to take a kid fishing!