Lake Lanier’s water level held pretty steady this week.
Currently the lake level is at 1,066.44 or 4.56 feet below the normal full pool at 1071. The main lake is clear, as are the mouths of the main lake creeks. The backs of the creeks and rivers are slightly stained to stained. Lake surface temperatures dropped a degree or two but remain in the mid to upper 80s. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: The days are getting shorter. All the overcast days have allowed the water temperatures to cool down slightly.
While these changes may seem insignificant to us humans, they are a big deal to fish. When the seasonal conditions change for us, we still have to work 9 to 5 (or a lot more in some cases). When the days shorten, the fish have less daylight hours to sight feed. Add in the cooling water temperatures and these small changes can trigger the fish into action.
I have found some schooling fish early and late in the day back in the secondary pockets in the creeks. The fish will eat topwater plugs, big Rooster Tails and crank baits like my SPRO Little John DD. I have also picked up some bigger fish with and underspin and the new Big Bites Suicide Shad around brush and docks.
There are some fish deeper during the day. Video fishing with my Humminbird Graph has been the main plan during the day. Finding large isolated brush piles near shallow to deep water breaks in 20-40 feet has been the place where the bigger fish seem to be. Make a few casts over the brush with a topwater or swim bait to pick off any active fish then get directly over the deep side of the brush. Watch your graph for lines or arcs that indicate fish and use a drop shot with a Big Bites Cane Stick or Finesse Worm in Pearl Pumkin’ or Green Watermelon Flake colors dipped in JJ’s Magic. For some reason, these fish seem to either grab it when the lure hits bottom or I have had to ‘dead stick’ the lure and wait for the hit.
Now that school is in, anglers have the whole lake to themselves in the week day evenings. Don’t tell anyone but the night bite is starting to pick up. Use a large Colorado Bladed Spinner Bait or slow crank a SPRO Little John DD through brush and rocks in the 20-foot range.
Work your lures either from shallow to deep or deep to shallow and keep in contact with the bottom and brush. You will get hung up occasionally, but you will also hang some good fish too.
Striper fishing is off the charts. My Humminbird graphs screen has been overloaded at times when we have found the massive schools of stripers below Browns Bridge. I can drop a Ben Parker Spoon or large two-ounce SPRO Buck Tail with a Suicide Shad trailer through the schools and power reel these lures for some arm-breaking strikes.
This fishing is addictive when you locate this action, but you will not find them every day unless you fish a lot.
The majority of stripers are hanging out well below the thermocline at 28-feet deep. These fish enjoy the colder lower layer of water. The oxygen levels above River Forks Park have been a little low below that thermocline and the better fishing seems to be occurring down lake. The fish don’t read these reports and someone can always find fish in the rivers.
Keep trolling around while looking for fish. Trolling is working so well, some anglers are sticking with it all day long. Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rigs with 3/4-ounce Chipmunk or SPRO Bucktails in white, white/pink and chartreuse colors have all been working well.
Always use a trailer like a Hyper Tail, Curley Tail, Suicide Shad or better yet — a real blueback herring on your buck tails. Use heavy fluorocarbon or 65-pound test Sunline SX2 Braid and get your umbrella rigs down to that 20 to 30-foot range.
The stripers will come out of deeper water to nail these “schools” of buck tails that they silhouette from below.
Live bait fishing remains very good when you can locate the schools. Some reports from the guides claim they have been going through five dozen, or more, in a half day trip. Some of these herring get used up due to stress but a lot are eaten by fish. Continue to keep the proper amount of ice and salt in your bait tank. Replace your baits every 5-10 minutes.
Use a heavy sinker to get your baits down through the warmer water and use as long a leader of fluorocarbon that you can get away with. Having 8 feet, or more, long leader is common for fishing in summer.
Crappie and Bream: Crappie fishing had been slow day and night, but someone is catching them for sure. The bridges in the creeks and rivers will hold crappie at just around the thermocline at 25-30 feet deep.
Locate brush piles and work a small crappie jig in 4-6 pound test and dissect the brush. If you are not getting snagged, then you are probably not fishing correctly.
After dark, start at these same depths and vary how deep you fish based on what your electronics. The fish that bite tell you. My new Hydro Glow light will pull these fish in much shallower and there are many docks around the lakes that have these same lights too that are fish magnets.
Bream fishing is OK during the day and good after dark around dock lights and those same Hydro Glow lights. Fish small jigs, crappie minnows or live worms around any brush of bridge pilings. Some private ponds are loaded with bream so take advantage of these fishing opportunities.
Trout fishing is OK on the Chattahoochee River and the mountain streams and rivers. Fly fishing early in the day and later in the afternoon when the bugs come out has been a good bet recently. The old Black Ant or Midge flies have been worth a try.
If I had only one lure to use for all fishing it would be a 1/8-ounce silver and white Rooster Tail.
I use 4-pound test Sunline Super Natural Monofilament on a medium weight Kissel Krafts Spinning Custom Rod. Cast this lure out and let it sink almost to the bottom. Reel it slow and steady — just fast enough to keep the blades spinning. This drives fish crazy for some reason. Trout will strike it all day long.
Bank Fishing: If you have never been or just have not seen it in a while, it is well worth it to visit to the Buford Dam Trout Hatchery. Kids and adults will really enjoy seeing all of the trout and the brood pond has some monsters. It is located about a mile across the river on Hwy. 20 on the Forsyth County side. Just downstream of Lake Lanier and Buford Dam in Forsyth County on the banks of the Chattahoochee River at 3204 Trout Place Rd.
They are open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. for the Hatchery Visiting Hours and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. for the Kids Fishing Pond and Nature Trail hours. The hatchery phone number is 770-781-6888.
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 email@example.com or visit my website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing.