Lake temperatures are in the low 80s with a few high 70s during the recent cool spell. The lake level is 1064.25 which is 6.75 feet under full pool of 1071. There is still a small algae bloom occurring on main lake and the water is slightly stained. Up lake in the rivers, the water is clear to slightly stained.
The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: The past week’s recent cooler weather has definitely affected bass fishing for the better. I witnessed water temperatures in the upper 70s in a couple of areas. I have read that bass prefer temperatures in the mid to upper 70s and we will stay in that range into next month, so expect fishing to really turn on in September and October.
The bass we are catching have not missed any meals and they are fat and healthy. There are large schools of bluebacks and threadfin shad everywhere on the lake. It is important to determine what forage the bass are eating in the area you are fishing. Threadfin shad will hang out in small pods and they don’t move very fast, while bluebacks may move 1,000 yards in just minutes.
If the bass have been eating the slower-moving threadfins, slow rolling a spinnerbait may be the best retrieve.
If you are out on main lake and the bass are conditioned to chasing the faster blueback herring, burning a spinnerbait on the surface will be your better option. Let the fish tell you what they prefer.
This past week we have been junk fishing, or using several different lures throughout the day. I would highly suggest casting a 1/4-ounce white and silver rooster tail or a similar colored fish head spin. Cast these lures around any active or suspended fish. Suspended fish are often the hardest to catch, but I have had great success in the past with casting a rooster tail into suspended fish and slow rolling it through the school. This small, in-their-face offering makes the difference between catching and just fishing.
Other lures that have worked well this past week are the drop-shot and jig head worms worked over and in brush 20-30 feet deep. I have also caught some decent spotted and largemouth bass from docks that are in 5-25 feet of water.
There is a decent topwater bite on main lake over large flats or timber around humps and long points.
Work a SPRO Dawg or Super Spook. Some days they want these topwater lures walked slow and steady, some days they prefer fast and erratic.
Experiment and let the fish strikes tell you the best retrieve. A jerk shad worked weightless on a Gamakatsu 5/0 Superline EWG will work very well if the fish are active. Shallow, medium and deep-diving crankbaits all have their place right now and we have caught fish on each version this past week. The night bite is still a little slow but it should turn on big time very soon.
Striper fishing is still good and not a lot has changed except it sure has been some nice fishing weather. The topwater bite is right around the corner. No one has reported any schooling action, but I saw a couple of small pods of stripers busting the surface, so I think we are about a month or less away from topwater time. Keep a SPRO Dawg or Red Fin tied on just in case.
Trolling and down-lining have still been the best methods but you may want to flat line a blueback, trout or gizzard shad out behind the boat because there are some stripers that will come up close to the surface if they see an easy meal.
Continue to troll a 1- to 2-ounce SPRO buck tail on lead core but try nine, eight or even seven colors and let the stripers tell you what they want. All lead core line comes in multiple colors. Each time the line changes colors it will tell you that a certain length of line is off the reel. The rule of thumb is 4-5 feet of depth to every color of lead core. Example: When you’re targeting fish 30 feet down you should run six to seven colors.
Keep moving, and if you see the large tell-tale lines or arcs let your finder tell you whether they are up shallow enough to catch trolling or whether you need to stop and down-line live bluebacks.
Crappie fishing is just OK, but it will continue to improve as the water temperatures drop into the 70s.
Right now, target deep brush piles from 15-25 feet down lake versus 7-15 feet up in the rivers. Slowly work a crappie spoon or jig with a small plastic trailer around that same brush or down-line small crappie minnows in the brush for your best success.
The night bite is picking up, so get out those lights and go after them after dark.
Trout fishing is decent on the Chattahoochee River from the Buford Dam in the mornings and just fair during the day.
Cast a small silver rooster tail or YoSuri Pinns Minnow around the rapids, and these same lures will work well in the mountain streams.
Bank fishing: There will be a free kids fishing event 9 a.m. Sept. 24 at the Lower Pool Park, below Buford Dam.
Fly tying, fishing demonstrations and volunteers are available to help with baiting hooks and removing fish.
The Buford Trout Hatchery will stock more than 2,500 rainbow trout at the dam on the morning of the event. A limited number of fishing poles will be available as loaner poles. Hot dogs, drinks, and snacks will be provided at no charge. All kids age 15 and under are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. Life jackets are recommended and required by law for any anglers who want to get into the water to wade.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.