Lake Lanier’s water level is right at 1,066.46 or 4.54 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071.
The main lake is clear to slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are stained. The lake temperatures are around in the mid to upper 70s.
The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear to very stained after storms. Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been good for the most part if anglers can adjust to varying patterns. Bass fishing in fall can be unpredictable. Anglers need to be willing to try something completely different when they discover the bass they caught yesterday are gone today.
There are several different patterns that are going on.
There are large schools of blueback herring and nice sized bass and stripers mixed in with them from the main lake all the way back to secondary points and into the pockets. These schools of herring move around quickly and so do the bass that are chasing them.
Anglers should keep a couple of lures ready, such as a herring imitator like a Jerk Shad, Fluke, SPRO McStick or slow-sinking swim bait. Right now the bass topwater action is just fair but that should get better in the next few weeks.
A lot of fish that just swirl on our topwater lures will commit and bite lures worked just below the surface.
I have had some success this week casting an umbrella rig to schooling fish. Frankly it is hard for me to just keep one of these multi-lure rigs with all those hooks just lying on the deck. It is hard to get out of the rod locker and it bounces around on the deck of my Nitro when the water is rough.
I am liable to snag two fishing rods, and my poor hound, as I pick it up in excitement and cast to some schooling bass. I see!
There is also a threadfin shad bite going on in the pockets, especially in the mornings. Add to that some of those same areas will hold herring and other baitfish like gizzard, shad and small pan fish. If the shad and bass are there, you should know it pretty quickly, as you will see shad being chased on the surface.
The spotted bass and largemouth bass will feed on these shad. They can be caught with shallow-running crank baits like as SPRO Fat John 60 in cellmate or citrus shad colors.
You can also work a buzz bait around these same shallow flats for some explosive topwater strikes. You can also choose your favorite shad imitator and catch fish.
These lures are easy to use — just cast and retrieve.
A lot of the bass in fall will be in transition as the water temperatures fall.
These fish will relate to what we refer to as ‘bass highways’ as they move from deeper water into the shallow areas that hold baitfish.
There also seems to be a crawfish/bream happening around rocks, clay banks and secondary points.
The after-dark bite has been so good I have had the chance to see how long that bite occurs after sun-up. The crank bait bite can go on all day when it has been overcast or raining.
There are some big spotted bass that will eat a jig n’pig or a large deep-diving crank bait worked around rocky banks and points. The bass that eat these lures often spit up crawfish, bream and large shad.
This action has been best from before sunrise until an hour or two after sunrise. It pays to get busy first thing in the morning.
You can continue to catch bass all day long on these same lures, but the frequency of bites will be less.
That being said, the fish that bite during the day tend to be bigger ones.
Striper fishing is very good.
I have watched the guides and the weekend anglers fishing and catching stripers out on the main lake, over the river channels and in the mouths of the creeks, near where the creek and river channels meet.
Use your electronics while trolling umbrella rigs. If you are not having any action in an area, leave to go find fish elsewhere. You should be able to find a school and have it all to yourself while doing this.
There are still plenty of fish out deep, but they have moved shallower in the water column.
If you catch a fish while trolling, make sure to troll over that same area several times before dropping live bait to any fish you see on your graph.
It seems that once you fire up a school, whether it be by trolling, fishing live bait or dropping a spoon, the fish turn on and you may get several more fish before the school cools back down.
A friend of mine has given up on the live bait and switched over to a big spoon. He says the Ben Parker 8-inch spoon in silver or shattered glass finishes are his go-to lure right now. It is easy to use a spoon.
Drop it down through school, then reel it back up quickly. Almost all of your bites will occur on the retrieve. Anglers can work these spoons from the front of the boat while dropping live herring from the back of the boat.
Use a large leader and drop your herring to right above where you mark fish.
We have caught some stripers with McSticks and crank baits around the islands. You can catch a mixed bag of fish while casting lures to the banks after dark. Stripers, bass and even the occasional walleye. If you catch a walleye, you should invite it home for dinner.
Crappie fishing is OK. The best bite has been after dark. Fishing around lighted boat docks after dark has been a productive pattern for crappie and bream, as well as larger predator fish.
Cast small jigs on light line and vary the depth until you discover where most of your bites occur.
Cast to areas where shadows occur from the artificial light.
These same jigs that work for casting after dark will work during the day for catching crappie from brush piles. Use your electronics and Side Imaging to scan and mark brush piles. Switch over to Down Imaging to see fish in the brush. Let your jigs fall down to the level of the brush and work them through the limbs.
You can also down line crappie or spot tail minnows.
Trout fishing has been good in the mountains and fair on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam, due to the stained water after recent rainstorms.
Using live bait like live red wigglers — where permitted by law — has been working well, no matter where you fish. It has been hard to beat. Both native and stocked trout eat worms, especially when it has been raining. It is best to dig up your own worms.
Red wigglers and night crawlers will work well. Fish these worms with just a hook, no swivel or snap and attach a 1/4-ounce split shot about two feet up your line. Cast it out and let it hit the bottom down stream. Note you can only use one rod per angler on trout waters.
Fly fishing with wet flies has been productive. Tip over rocks before you fish to detect hellgrammites, small crawfish or other forage and match the hatch. You can use a dry fly at the top of your leader to increase your odds.
Bank Fishing: Our lakes, rivers and streams have been inundated with rain this week. The waters may have been muddied around your favorite honey hole.
No worries! Get out your best catfishing outfits and go catching. Catfish actually move to current breaks, like rocks and laydown trees in rivers.
The ones in the lakes will move shallower where they are easier to catch. Catfish are drawn to baits that have some scent. Chances are if it smells bad to us, it is a good bait for them.
Cut bait like pieces of gizzard shad work very well. You can also use livers or commercial catfish bait. Find an old pair of panty hose and wrap them over loose bait, like liver, to keep it on the hook longer.
Take a tip from the trout reports and string up a medium-size catfish hook with worms and cast it out and secure your rod(s). Catfishing is an easy way for anglers to just get out and go fishing.
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 our readers so email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing!