Lake Temperatures are in the mid 80s and the lake level is around 1056.5 or down 15.5 feet. The lake is slightly stained during the week to very stained on the weekends from all of the boat traffic. The Chattahoochee River is clear.
Bass fishing has slowed and we are approaching the summer doldrums. This is a time when most bass anglers struggle. There are many reasons summer fishing is harder. We touched on water color last week. Bass anglers may want to take a lesson from the successful summer striper anglers, fish deeper. The water cools down considerably the deeper you go. There is a level where the cold, dense water meets the warmer surface layer and this is called a thermocline. I can crank up the sensitivity on my Humminbird 787c unit and actually see a defined line showing the thermocline. When you find the thermocline then that is a good depth to fish. There is plenty of bait at the 25- to 35- foot range in summer. Blueback herring hang out even deeper. As long as the oxygen levels are OK, the fish have no reason to move shallow. Target brush piles and standing timber in the 30-foot range for your bigger spotted bass this week. Any type of lure that you can work deep efficiently can produce well. I like to use a Zoom Finesse worm on a drop-shot rig or with a Tru Tungsten Ike Spike or Spro K-Finesse Wide Bite jig heads. Use 6-to-8-pound test fluorocarbon for three reasons. It is denser than water so it sinks faster, it is much more sensitive than monofilament, which is essential to feel these deeper bites and it is much less visible than other lines which will prevent it from spooking fish.
The good news is that spot-tail minnows are still producing nice catches of bass. Spotted bass and other species can’t seem to refuse a lively spot-tail minnow fished on a down line. If you fish for bass with live bait, please use a small Gamakatsu circle or dropshot hook to ensure that these fish don’t get gut hooked, and so you can release them unharmed.
Striper fishing is very good but you will need to fish deep. Down lined blueback herring in the lower lake creek mouths and near the river channels are your best bet. These fish were schooled up at around 50-to 60- feet deep over a 70- to 90-foot bottom. Make sure you use lively bait, as bluebacks can be hard to keep alive this time of year. Go to a reputable bait store, like Hammonds, and ask them how to keep you bluebacks alive.
The stripers are also hitting one to two-ounce SPRO buck tail jigs trolled at 2.5 to 3 miles an hour on Lead Core line. Set your lead core out seven to eight colors.
Crappie fishing has slowed down a little. There are a lot of smaller fish showing up around the bridges but the larger fish are harder to catch right now. Fish a small Micro Spoon or crappie jig tipped with a minnow and fish these around any docks with deeper water and brush.
Continue to fish for trout on the Chattahoochee with small white Rooster Tails or Rapala Countdown minnows in the mornings on weekends. These lures will also work great all day long on the quieter weekdays. Work these small lures at a slow and steady pace for the best action. Fly-fishing has been decent. Try a small black ant pattern for a reliable fly. Worms and salmon eggs are working well where permitted.
Eric Aldrich is a part time outdoor writer, bass fisherman and is sponsored by Humminbird, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammonds Fishing and Boat Storage. 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 his website at esaldrich.tripod.com.