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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Heat impacts anglers more than fish this week
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Lake temperatures are in the mid 80s and lake levels fell slightly to 1063.8 feet, 7.2 feet below full pool of 1071. The main lake is clear to stained and the creeks are slightly stained. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: We fished a good deal over the holiday weekend. Even with the record heat and busy lake conditions we had very good fishing and catching. We spent some days both up and down lake, and the bass were cooperating down lake and up in the rivers.

I like to fish up where the Chattahoochee and Chestatee rivers come into Lake Lanier during the hotter summer months. The boat traffic is lighter and bass tend to be a little shallower than down on the main lake.

There are several reasons that the fish are shallower in the rivers. First, the rivers tend to be shallower overall. As you travel north and the lake narrows down, the bottom depths are seldom more than 30 to 40 feet, whereas main lake depths often exceed 100 feet.

The rivers also have more current, which stirs up the water and provides higher levels of oxygen. Higher oxygen levels allow fish to stay shallower, which makes them easier to catch.

River fish are also less affected by changing weather fronts. We caught bass from up to 30-feet deep this past week up lake. Try fishing riverbends with any wood laydowns or washed up trees and other cover that will hold fish.

Early in the day, cast buzz baits or other topwater lure around any bank cover.

As the sun hits the water, continue to try topwater lures as big fish may continue to strike a surface plug throughout the day.

When the topwater action subsides, switch over to a jig-n-pig or jig head worm and work the deeper banks to catch spotted and largemouth bass. Pay close attention to your line as a lot of your strikes will occur on the fall. The main lake is busier with the holiday week but the fish are also biting well.

The past week, we saw some pretty decent surface activity in the morning and during active feeding periods throughout the day.

It’s both crazy and cool that we caught fish on the surface during these record triple-digit temperatures. Keep a rod handy that has a Chug Bug or Hydro Pop tied on at all times, as spotted bass may chase lure backs to the surface at any time of day.

Bass on Lake Lanier can often be seen chasing blue back herring that are stirred up by boat traffic. While the topwater action can be good, the majority of fish we have been catching are hitting subsurface lures like the drop shot, shaky head worms and even a SPRO Little John Deep Diver worked over and through man-made brush.

Knowing where the brush is located is the key to main lake bass fishing. Your electronics are our eyes under the water so pay close attention to your graph. I have been video-game fishing this week by positioning my Nitro Bass Boat directly above the brush and working a drop shot around brush that I find on my Humminbird Fish Finder.

I can easily see bass on my bow graph’s screen, as well as my drop shot worm and weight. You can actually watch the lure drop and the bass rise or fall to eat the lure on screen. This is my favorite type of fishing. When all else fails use live native spot tail minnows around brush and steeper bluff walls.

Striper fishing remains good and summertime offers some of the best of the year. Lake Lanier is one of the best freshwater striper fisheries in the world and we are blessed with such a great resource right here in our backyards.

Striper fishing during summer is usually most productive in the mornings before the boat traffic gets going, but some anglers catch them all day long and even after dark, too.

As is the case, most of the summer down-line fishing is the way to go. You must have lively blueback herring, and this requires the right equipment with bait tanks, aerators and proper treatment with ice and chemicals during the day.

You will also want heavy weights to send your blue backs through the warmer upper layers of the lake into the cooler water. The stripers this week have been relating to flat bottoms from 60- to 100-feet deep off the creek and river channels.

The best fishing will be where the stripers are grouped. Your electronics are essential tools and will show you the most productive areas to fish. Many of the fish we have seen this week are tending to be about 35- to 70-feet deep, but adjust your down lines up or down based on where you see the fish on your graph.

There have even been a few small schools on top early in the morning, but this action has been hit or miss. Troll large SPRO buck tail jigs on lead core line set out seven or eight colors.

This method allows anglers the opportunity to hunt around for the larger schools that can be targeted with down lines.

Cannon Down Riggers also allow striper anglers to dial in the proper depth and to use more stealthy line and other lures like BBZ1 Swimbaits, Bomber Long As and other lures that would not run as deep as needed without the down riggers.

Crappie fishing is still good, but because they are deep they may be harder for some anglers to target. Continue to fish small jigs, Micro Spoons or down lined minnows in the deeper brush. Fishing under lights around docks and bridge pilings continues to produce crappie for anglers who fish at night.

Trout fishing remains good below Lake Lanier and the cooler water makes for a cooler day on the river.

The areas up in the mountains can be affected by the hotter air and subsequent water temperatures, but areas that recieve the rains from the recent thunder storms this past week may be more productive.

Live earth worms threaded on a small hook with light line is a good choice, as a lot of trout are conditioned to eat worms that get washed into the rivers and streams. Check your local regulations as some trout waters are designated artificial lures only and live bait is not permitted. The old reliable Rooster Tail is always a good choice.

Fly fishing on the river has been good. The black ants are my favorite patterns to fish this time of year,

Bank fishing: Brim will eat all throughout the summer and at any time of day.

Get a small Aberdeen style hook and thread an earthworm, small piece of ham or even corn and cast these under a bobber around objects like rocks or laydowns on the bank. You can catch brim in ponds, rivers and lakes anywhere in Georgia.

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. Contact him at or

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