Lake Lanier’s water level is at 1,063.17 or 7.83 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. The main lake and creek mouths are clear to stained. The creeks and rivers are slightly to very stained. Lake surface temperatures fell last week, then rose back into the 70’s with this week’s hot weather. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing remains good and some anglers are scoring big catches. It’s pretty much a junk fishing deal. You can keep several rods on deck with different lures and catch fish with all of them. That being said, anglers can also use the right lures in the wrong location or at the wrong time and end up frustrated.
Bass continue to be in all stages of the spawn. Bass don’t all spawn at the same time. I have seen bass building beds on Lake Lanier in February when water temps were in the low 50’s and have also seen them bedding in June when water temps were in the low 80’s. That being said I feel the majority of them are will be through with the reproductive cycle this week.
The big news is that the some of the herring and shad are spawning. Bass love to eat these tasty swimming morsels and they do so ferociously. This means you may want to stow your shaky head rods and get out your swim baits, jerk bait and top water rods and head out to the creek mouths and main lake.
Stripers and bass can be seen exploding herring on the surface around main lake humps, sandy saddles between islands or just about any clay or sandy shoreline. If you can get your lure past the stripers you can catch some of the biggest bass of the season. A SPRO McStick is my confidence bait as it matches the way a herring looks and swims. It’s called “stupid fishing.” Just cast it out and reel it back with a medium speed retrieve and hold on!
Other lures are working out on main lake around these same areas. Dragging a jig or shaky head around rock and clay areas both around the banks or on main lake and secondary humps and points from 0 to 15 feet will score some good bites.
Swim baits are a great way to score a big spotted or largemouth bass. Cast a BBZ1 or a Bull Herring Swim Bait and vary your speeds and let the fish tell you what speed they prefer. Crank baits and spinner baits are working both day and night. Jerk Minnows, flukes and top water lures are also great herring imitators.
Striper fishing has picked up. Stripers are biting both up lake in the creeks and rivers as well as down lake around the humps, islands and saddles where herring are spawning.
I am still seeing some big schools busting herring in the morning out on main lake. On a calm day, you can see these fish exploding from a long distance. Don’t run up to these schoolers with the big motor. Set down and troll up to them to prevent spooking the fish. When the fish sound keep casting lures as the fish will often remain in an area. They will also go a little deeper as the sun gets up
If you are using artificial lures, choose ones that mimic herring. Long, slender lures will tend to produce best. McSticks, Bomber Long A’s, Sammy’s, Jerk Minnows, Big Bite Suicide Shads or even streamers for the fly anglers are all excellent choice when targeting stripers on the surface. V-waking a Redfin is almost guaranteed to get explosive strikes when the stripers are chasing herring.
The surface activity on main lake will slow down as the sun gets higher in the sky but the stripers will remain schooled up below the surface. Pull herring on flat lines and planner boards and adjust to weighted lines if you see the fish deeper than 20 feet on your depth finder. Always put a larger bait like a big trout or gizzard shad on one of your lines to trigger a trophy to bite.
Keep trolling a Captain Mack’s umbrella rig. Troll these rigs just inside the creek and river channels close to humps, points and irregular banks. Oh, did I mention to keep a Redfin ready at all times?
Crappie fishing is good. These fish have spawned and they are hungry. Casting jigs around deeper brush outside of spawning areas in 10 to 20 feet deep will yield your biggest slabs. You can also set a light weighted line with a minnow around these same brush piles.
There are still some keeper fish relating to shallow cover, docks and bridge pilings. Keep casting those a minnow under a bobber on 4-6-pound line. For more experienced bank anglers can use a slip bobber to look for those deeper fish.
Trout fishing is good and the trout are happy to see the weekly rains. We can also use more! Most of the streams, rivers and colder lakes are stocked and these fish are hungry.
Wooley Buggers and Egg patterns can work well around stocked trout. Use a combination of drifting, slow stripping and current swings. Nymphs and other small insect imitators are working well when you see trout rising.
The old reliable methods continue to produce. Spinners and small minnow imitators or live earthworms (where the law permits) on light spinning tackle are all producing limits of trout when you are fishing in the right areas.
Bank Fishing: Pick up a small, one eighth-ounce Rooster Tail and walk the banks of Lake Lanier. There are a lot of smaller minnows and freshly spawned fry around the banks and lots of fish are up shallow looking for an easy meal.
When you make a cast in a promising area and you don’t get a bite, move on down the bank. When you do catch a fish stay in the area and make several casts to score an extra bite. Cast around rocky banks, trees laying down in the water, docks or any irregularities. You will catch bass, bream, crappie and several other species on these tiny spinners.
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!