Lake Lanier’s water level is up over four feet from the start of this year.
Presently, levels are rising from rain runoff and inflow as this report is being written. Lake Lanier’s level is 1,064.06 or 6.94 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures have dropped back down into the mid 70’s.
The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to stained from recent rains. The creeks and rivers are slightly stained to very muddy. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clearing. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has rated from fair to very good. Conditions and productive methods seem to change along with the unstable weather fronts. The storms, wind and cooler temperatures have all affected the bass fishing this past week.
What worked previously may not produce today. Keep an open mind and be willing to move and change presentations.
The majority of bass have completed the spawn and have only one thing on their minds: Eating. These bass need to replenish nutrients as their bodies have been greatly depleted from the tough task of spawning and reproduction. The good news for these fish is that there are plenty of shad, herring, fry and other nutrient-rich forage swimming shallow right now. The herring and shad are spawning and the bass are not far away taking advantage of this plentiful food source.
On sunny days, the topwater action has really started to heat up on the main lake and in the creek mouths.
There are prime times during the morning and late in the afternoon and during active feeding periods. Primary and secondary points are holding some hungry post-spawn bass. These fish are targeting blueback herring that are spawning out on the main lake sand and clay banks.
A Chug Bug, Pop R or other spitting-style topwater lures have been the first choice in windy conditions. Switch over to a Jerk Minnow, Fluke, Redfin or small Zara Spook on calmer days.
Try reeling a SPRO McStick 110 at medium speed for an easy way to catch both size and numbers of bass or stripers.
This method is an easy way to catch both size and numbers of bass, especially while fishing behind other anglers who are casting topwater lures.
Blue Bandit or Clear Chartreuse colors will work best on sunny days while Old Glory or Dirty Bone will work better on overcast days.
Power fishing with a combination of topwater lures, swim baits or other moving lures seems to be the best way to find and catch bass. Make 4-5 casts to humps, points, rocky banks or over submerged brush then move on to the next area.
Many times bass in a neutral mood my chase or even strike at and miss our power-fishing lures. This is not a bad thing.
The fish are telling you they want something different. You may need to speed up or slow down your retrieve but sometimes you need to switch lures completely.
If you locate short striking fish, then try switching over to a subtler presentation. Working a Fluke on the surface then killing it and letting it fall over brush or rocks is an awesome way to trigger bites from wary fish. Always be ready with a drop shot or shaky head to drop down to any fish you see with your electronics below your boat.
Doing so will increase you catch during any given day.
Other techniques are working well. Try fishing docks with shaky heads. Try drop-shot fishing around sunken brush or other bottom features. Slow reeling a deep diving crank bait around the bottom cover both during the day and after dark are all viable techniques this week.
Striper fishing has also been hit and miss and the weather seems to be playing a factor.
Some anglers are pulling flat lines and casting topwater lures around humps close to the river and creek channels.
Others have started to employ down lines and even Ben Parker Spoons where they mark fish deeper on their electronics.
Keep an open mind and use your electronics. Also watch for any surface activity.
We are still seeing stripers schooling on the surface close to the river channel humps. These fish are suckers for a Redfin or McStick worked close to the surface. Buck tails, Jerk Shads, Flukes or other lures that mimic herring will all work when the stripers are thrashing the surface.
Keep making casts if the fish sound as they will often remain in the area.
There are many fish showing deeper in the creek mouths from above Gainesville all the way on down to the dam.
Herring are your best bet as these fish do not seem to be very line-shy yet. Buy several dozen herring and keep them lively with the right mixture of chlorine free ice, salt or chemicals and a quality bait tank with good oxygen flow.
Use a 1-2 ounce down line weight with at least a 4-feet of fluorocarbon leader with a No. 3 Gamakatsu Octopus Hook.
Hook the herring through the lips for a more natural presentation. Mix a trout or gizzard shad in with your herring to trigger a bigger bite.
Try trolling an umbrella rig on 7-8 colors of lead core at 2 1/2 miles an hour, while scouting for deeper fish with your electronics.
Crappie are still biting for anglers who are adept at fishing small crappie jigs. Cast or shoot these jigs up around deeper docks in the creeks just outside of the spawning flats. A lot of fish are relating to brush or cover around decks in 25 feet of water.
There are also some fish shallow after dark around shallower bridges in the creeks. Put out crappie lights and the shad will appear within the first 20 minutes. The crappie and other predator fish will follow shortly after. Use a minnow on a slip bobber and experiment with the depth based on the fish bites and what your electronics indicate are the best depths.
Trout fishing is good and the DNR has kept our trout waters stocked with plenty of fish. Fish that were stocked earlier this year are growing larger. Remember to practice catch and release whenever possible. It’s not wrong to keep a legal limit of trout, but only keep as many fish as you can eat.
Release the bigger ones after taking a picture.
Dry flies later in the afternoons are scoring some good action where you see fish rising. Look for small hatches of mayflies or gnats and match the hatch.
With all the recent rains, trout are learning that worms make for an easy, plentiful meal. Live red wigglers fished on a bottom rig are working well, where live bait is permitted. Use light 2-6 pound line with a 1/4-ounce split shot and a small Aberdeen style hook.
Fish this bottom live bait rig at the ends of the rapids in the pools.
Inline spinners, Countdown Rapalas or small crank baits are all good choices on light spinning equipment
Bank Fishing: The bass have been relating to shall cover this week both on Lake Lanier and in farm and subdivision ponds. Power fishing isn’t just for anglers with high-horsepower motors. Target the most productive areas from shore, make a cast or two, then move on down the banks to increase your catch rates and maximize your time.
The process of spawning is mostly complete and the bass are hungry and ready to put on weight. Larger lures like jigs, crank baits, frogs or buzz baits will trigger aggressive strikes from bass this time of year. Put away your ultralights and grab a medium-heavy spinning or bait casting rod with at least 12-pound test and start fishing.
The best anglers don’t ever fish fast. They fish slow very quickly and efficiently.
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 readers, so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing.