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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Target brush piles for larger bass
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Lake Lanier’s water level is holding steady at 1,065.28 above sea level or 5.72 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071.

Lake surface temperatures are in the low to mid 80s. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained.

The creeks and rivers are clear to stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: My Humminbird electronics are starting to show a defined thermocline around 23 to 28 feet deep, depending on where you are on the lake. This will start to affect the bass more and more as surface temperatures rise. Right now, the bass are still roaming around, just about anywhere from the surface on down to 40-feet deep or more.

Most of your bigger schools of spotted bass are either chasing baitfish over open water or hanging around brush piles and rock drop offs near a ditch, creek and river channels. Anglers need to have a plan and run patterns based on what the bass are doing on that particular day.

Those open-water schoolers are pelagic fish and they can make or break your day. These fish do not relate to cover or structure.

Take your shots when you see them. Schools of big spotted bass may be found anywhere on the lake where the bait is located, either shallow, medium depth or over deeper water.

These fish are here one moment and gone the next. Be prepared with a lure. You may catch a few bonus bass throughout your day.

Keep a Nichols Flutter Spoon or your favorite topwater plug ready at all times to make long casts to breaking fish. I attach a second Gamakatsu Feather Treble to the front split ring on my spoon to increase hook-ups. These bass can be hard to pattern.

They primarily concentrate on chasing blueback herring or shad schools.

The spotted bass you can regularly pattern right now will be near and in brush from 20-30 feet, or more, feet deep.

Isolated brush or timber around deeper flats can hold big schools of fish. Brush located along channel breaks where current is present can be cold mines in the summer. Use a drop shot rig with a Shakin’ Squirrel and a Gamakatsu No. 2 Aberdeen Hook on 7-pound Sunline.

I love my Kissel Kraft Custom Drop Shot Rod so I can feel every single bite. Use your favorite drop shot set up with your electronics.

It’s the best video game ever.

Other methods like fishing a Big Bites Suicide Shad on an under spin or SPRO Buck tail around brush are working well.

Deep-diving crank baits can produce a quick limit when the CORPS is generating. Strike King Pro Model Jig with a Big Bites Fighting Squirrel Trailer will work on the deeper brush piles or steeper bluff walls, both day and night.

Striper fishing is good.

We are starting to see a defined thermocline, which should concentrate the stripers for the deeper downline bite. Lake Lanier striper fishing can be off the charts during the hottest months. Get out and catch some.

Lively herring in a well-maintained live well, proper rods and reels with quality line and good electronics are all part of the equation. It’s no wonder you may pay $300-$400 for a guided trip. It’s a great investment if you are seriously thinking about learning the downline or spoon bite.

I know many people who have boats and still hire guides. It is a great way to advance your fishing skills as opposed to learning on your own.

Trolling umbrella rigs or down-riggers equipped with buck tails SPRO BBZ1 Swimbaits will work well for the next couple of weeks. There are a lot of stripers in that 25-35 foot zone that will hit trolled lures. Fish the edges of the timber lines, steeper drop-offs and the edges of humps and points near the creek and river channels.

Keep several dozen herring ready for when you find the big schools in 30-70 foot of water. The stripers have moved a little deeper but when you locate it, they can be ganged up in huge schools. If you find these schools, it’s not hard to use as many as three dozen herring in an hour with about half of those converted into landed fish.

If you can hold your boat over an active school of stripers, then it’s hard to beat catching them on artificial lures.

A Ben Parker or Nichols Flutter Spoon will entice some ferocious strikes from fish that you see down deep on your electronics. Other lures like a big SPRO Buck Tail or a Chipmunk Jig equipped with a Big Bite Baits Suicide Shad will work wonders on those schooling fish you can detect on electronics.

Power reeling is the technique to use in summer.

Drop your lures down on a tight line and be prepared to engage your reel and set the hook, if you feel a strike on the fall.

Otherwise, let your lure hit bottom then reel it back to the surface as quick as you can. The strikes that you get from a striper by reeling a lure at top speed can be described as almost ‘arm breaking’ but no pain no gain.

Keep a topwater plug or a SPRO Buck tail ready at all times to cast to fish on the surface. Some stripers are being taken after dark around boat docks with Hydro Glow Lights and under boats down lining in the channels close to the marinas.

Live herring and Gizzard Shad are all great options after the sun goes down.

Crappie fishing remains slow.

Crawling small jigs on light line through brush piles or timber from 20-40 feet deep may gather some bigger fish but don’t expect numbers. Continue to use downlined spot-tail minnows, small shad or crappie minnows after dark under Hydro Glow lights on the docks or bridge pilings.

Trout fishing is good when it’s not raining or they are not generating water during slack water flows. The steady rains do raise water levels and temperatures. The flows also add oxygen and food into the streams to keep them healthy.

Anytime it rains, it’s hard to beat native red wigglers that you catch from your backyard mulch piles and gardens. Dig up these smaller worms, thread them on a small Aberdeen style hook and fish them weightless in the small streams or with a small split shot weight in the faster moving currents of streams and rivers.

If you can’t find worms, then canned corn or Berkley Power Nuggets are a good option, too. Just make sure you check local regulations to make sure live bait is permitted in the areas you fish.

There have been some mayfly hatches this past week. Match the hatch to what you see with your dry flies. The early mornings remain the best time to fish in the streams and rivers.

Bank Fishing: Bugle-mouth bass, North Georgia Redfish or carp. Yes, they are junk fish for us but they fight like mad and bite all day long and are easy to catch.

Open a can of corn. Take half a handful of corn and throw it out into the water where you plan to fish. Take a light spinning rod and reel or a Zebco 33 and put a small Aberdeen style hook with a few kernels threaded on to it and cast it out where you chummed the other corn and hold on.

Carp love human activity around beaches, marinas, camp grounds or boat ramps and they are awesome to fight, catch and release.

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 him at

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