Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is up again this week and is 1,064.65 or 6.35 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are holding steady in the low to mid 80’s. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to stained. The creeks and rivers are slightly stained to very stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is stained to muddy after the rains, but it clears up quickly. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: What can an angler say? If you are efficient at fishing offshore brush, then you should be able to catch them good right now. The bass are striking top water plugs, swim baits, drop shots and jigs so the fishing has been great!
Just for a starter, two of the most misused fishing terms are “structure” and “cover.” It is understandable because sometimes they can be similar, but for the most part it’s easy.
It’s easy to understand if you think of structure as the bottom or anything large that is permanently attached to it. A ledge, ditch, drop off or other permanent objects like a bridge or sunken road bed are all structure. Cover is anything separate from or non-permanent located on or over the bottom that can provide cover for fish to relate to. A dock, brush pile, trees, laydowns, lily pads or weed beds are all cover.
The reason for this explanation is that in June on Lake Lanier, the best bass action will occur around shallower structures like points, rocky ledges and humps that come up within 5-25 feet from the surface. The sweet spots around these areas are cover like brush piles, docks or sea walls.
Always put down a way point any time you find brush or other cover that you have not already marked. You may not be able to fish it right then, but it could pay off for years afterwards and become a great addition to your milk run!
Hit as many humps, points or other sweet spots as you can and make accurate casts over brush piles, rocks or drop-offs with a top water plugs or swim bait. “Walk the dog” style lures have worked a little better than the popper or spitting lures. A Sammy 120 with a Front Runner tied above the plug is a hard combination to beat. A Fluke or Jerk Minnow have worked well on calmer days or around pressured fish.
Keep an eye on your electronics for a chance to pick off any bass below the boat or to determine if the fish are inactive, so you can slow down and use finesse techniques to catch them. Casting a Big Bites Fighting Frog on a quarter ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head is an awesome casting jig versus a drop shot rig which you should use to catch those “video game” fish you see directly below the boat.
After hours, the bite has been best using a SPRO RkCrawler around rocky banks in the creek mouths. Other lures will work well and we are getting to that time of year when a jig or other lure than hits the 15 to 25-foot depth will rule the evening!
Striper fishing has been decent and fishing is good, both up and down the lake. The oxygen levels have held up better than normal up lake in the rivers and streams and there are fish located all the way on down to the dam. The frequent rains certainly must be helping the water quality.
The thermocline has still not set up as strong as it had in the past couple of years but when it does, fishing should get a little easier. For now, cover water and watch your electronics and the surface to find out what the fish are doing during your outing. Troll an umbrella rig that runs 15-to-25 feet deep or a 2-ounce SPRO Buck Tail with Big Bites a Suicide Shad set out on 7-8 colors of Lead Core or around 20-feet deep on your Cannon Downriggers.
Trolling allows you to cover water while also looking for concentrations of fish that will bite live bait or spoons and jigs. Once an angler has learned the lake well than they can incorporate a “run and gun” plan and just look for stripers with electronics before dropping live bait or jigging. Keep those SPRO Buck Tail/Suicide Shad combination or a big Ben Parker Spoon ready to drop down and power reel. Stripers will relate to herring and shad schools and there is bait located everywhere from midway back in the creeks out to the deeper river channels.
Night fishing for stripers has been decent. Make a milk run of property owners with fishing dock lights. Better yet, buy your own Hydro Glow lights and fish them under your boat or dock. Gizzard Shad or herring are the lures of choice. Stripers will come all the way to the surface to chase a live bait. More often you will see a distinct depth where they can be picked off from 10-to-30 feet down.
Crappie fishing is slow. Get out a few hours before dawn and set out your lights around the bridges. Use down-lined native spot tails, shad or store-bought crappie minnows. When dawn arrives, fish your minnows on a down line out deep in brush from 20-to-30 feet deep. Small jigs will also work before and after dark.
Trout fishing has been good and the fish are biting all day long. If the water is up from the rain or dam generation periods it may be tougher until the water slows down or clears.
For fly anglers, Elk Hair Cadis or Woolly Buggers have been good up in the mountain streams. Also consider a mayfly pattern as there have been some recent hatches. Down below dam tail races try striping a small streamer to mimic the small shad that get trapped in the tail race flow.
The old reliable finesse lures like Rooster Tails, Mepps or Rapalas still continue to work well. Red wiggler worms, corn or even cricket on a bottom rig (where live bait is permitted by law) will work both in clear and stained water.
Bank Fishing: My coworker, Sandy, from West Marine will hate me for saying this but carp fishing is very good. The reason she may dislike this report is because she feeds these carp from her house boat. They are her pets. It’s OK because I always release them even though I hear they do taste good!
If you are lucky enough to live near someone who feeds these “bugle mouthed critters” then all you need is some corn, cheese or worms and you can catch them all day long. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need a feeding area as carp will tend to relate to human activity. Plus they bite in the heat and activity of the day. Camp grounds, beaches, marinas and many other areas will hold carp.
Chum out some corn, put a few kernels on a small Aberdeen hook and cast it out. Secure your rod and wait for some North Georgia Redfish. Get ya’ some!
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.