Lake Lanier’s level is rising slowly from the recent rains and is currently at 1,065.40 or 5.60 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the 80’s. The main lake and creek mouths are clear to slightly stained.
The creeks and rivers are clear to very stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is stained after the rains, but it will clear up quickly. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been good and the fish seem to be enjoying the recent rains and milder temperatures. The fish can already sense the upcoming season changes.
The spotted bass have been schooling early and later in the day, during weather fronts and during Buford Dam water generation periods. These fish can be relating to cover like brush, rocky bottoms or they may be out roaming over flats or open water.
When you encounter fish that are schooling out away from cover, it is important to have a rod and reel that can make long casts. I use an 8-foot Kissel Krafts Custom Rod with a parabolic bend for my bait casting reels and a 7-foot, 1-inch medium weight Kissel Krafts Rod for my spinning reels. Long, semi-limber rods will help you load the lure and really launch it so you can reach fish that are schooling far away.
Keep a swim bait Tim Farley Pro X Swim Bait, SPRO BBZ1 four-Inch Shad or a Magic Swimmer ready at all times to cast to schooling fish. Top water lures like Whopper Ploppers, Sammys or Chug Bugs will also grab the attention of bass that are trapping shad or herring on the surface. Cast these same offerings over submerged brush piles, timber lines and around deeper drop-offs new bluff banks.
Any hardcore bass angler worth their worms knows that B.A.S.S. Pro Kevin Van Dam recently won his 24th Bass Master tournament on the St. Lawrence River. He caught most of his bass on a little-known lure called a Spybait. I had never used a Spybait, but I recently tried this lure/technique and hooked a bass on my first cast. You can bet I am a believer!
A Spybait is a skinny, slow sinking lure that has small spinners on the front and back. They have a very subtle action when you retrieve them. Work a Spybait anywhere you would normally cast other lures. Cast it out, let it sink to the level of the fish then work it slow and steady back to the boat.
Of course, the drop shot continues to score numbers of bass for anglers that are adept at using their electronics to find, mark and fish brush piles or other bottom features. There are literally thousands of brush piles on the bottom of Lake Lanier. They can be found just about every hump, point or other obscure structures. Use a 1/8 to one-quarter ounce Skinny Weight with a small Gamakatsu Drop Shot Hook rigged with a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel or a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm. Watch your electronics and drop down to any fish you see on the screen.
The crank bait bite has been decent around rocky banks and brush piles. Work a SPRO Little John DD in Clear Chartreuse colors during the day change to a Citrus Shad color in stained water or after dark. Slow roll a spinner bait or an underspin with a Big Bites Suicide Shad around the same locations.
Striper fishing is good and not a lot has changed. The fish are eating down lined herring, power reeled spoons and trolled umbrella rigs. The striper will be found from 20-feet-deep on down to the bottom, so pay close attention to your electronics and position your baits at the right depth.
It’s a good idea to start your day trolling a Captain Mack’s umbrella rig as you search for the large schools of stripers roaming around in the creek mouths and deeper coves located off main lake. Troll your U-rigs and 2-to-3 miles per hour at a depth of 20-to-25 feet.
You can also troll a single large 2-ounce SPRO Bucktail tipped with a live herring or swim bait. Troll these with 8-9 colors of lead core or at 30 feet deep on your down riggers. Stripers will usually be located deeper but they will move upwards to strike your rig.
Once you locate a large school, then it’s time to get busy. Rig your down lines with two once egg sinkers and a long fluorocarbon leader. Use a number 2 Gamakatsu Octopus hook and hook your herring through the nose. Drop them down quickly to the level that you see fish. Make sure you have plenty of lively herring and replace them every 10 minutes or so.
Try power reeling both spoons, buck tails and even drop you herring down to the bottom and power reel them before you replace them. Stripers will follow you lures and herring to the bottom or they will strike them as they come up quickly through the school. I believe these reaction strikes are about the same as if a hornet has buzzing around our ear. We would swat that rascal but fish don’t have hands so they strike it with their mouths!
Crappie fishing has picked up ever so slightly. Crappie anglers who are adept at dissecting deeper brush and cane piles with a small jig can catch them early or late in the day. Work a 1/6th ounce Hal Fly on 4-pound test Sunline fluorocarbon through deeper brush located new the creek channel drops at 20-to-30 feet deep.
Bream fishing good during the day. Fish around rocks and brush at 5-10 feet deep. You can also catch bream in the deeper brush piles with spot tail minnows on a drop shot rig. Cast Rooster Tails or use crickets or live worms on a slip bobber set to the proper level.
The trout seem to like these summer rains. That being said, you may need to wait for the water level drop and clear after a downpour.
Fly fishing has been good. Try a dropper rig with an elk hare caddis on the top No. 8 Woolly Bugger about 2 feet deeper on the drop. Use a roll cast in smaller creeks or where trees are behind you. Make sure to tend you lines so that your floating main line does not drag during your retrieve.
Work flies and lures around the main current breaks. Remember that the biggest fish occupy the best real estate. Trees, rocks and small waterfalls are great areas to target.
For spin fishing, slow roll a 1/8 or one-sixteenth ounce Rooster Tail on light line through the current runs. If you prefer to use live bait and it is legal to fish it in the trout waters you fish, then it is hard to beat a live earthworm that you dig up in your own back yard.
Bank Fishing: The bass have been schooling during the weather fronts and they are often close enough for bank anglers to cast to. Pay attention to the rods mentioned in the bass report as long casts are a must for bank anglers.
Cast heavier lures like 1/2 ounce Rooster Tails, Cast Master Spoon or SPRO Bucktails. These lures have weight but very little mass, so you can really launch your lures to far away fish. If you see bass schooling, take a breath and make a good cast. Anglers, including me, often get so excited that we back lash our reel of flub a long cast and miss an opportunity to catch fish.
There are many locations where bank anglers can cast to both schooling and sub surface fish. Mary Alice by the marina buoys, West Bank by the dam, up around Browns Bridge or Cleveland Highway Bridges and too many other places to mention.
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.