Lake Temperatures are in the lower 80s. Lake Lanier has leveled out and is around 1,066.6 feet, which is 4.4 feet below a full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and slightly stained in the creeks. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
The bass are very predictable this week and they should remain that way for a while. Target the main lake and the creeks and rivers and look for brush piles that are 15-to 30-feet deep. You can just about bet that every lake point and hump has brush piles close by. It is important to know where they are located so that you can fish over the top of them with a topwater plug or swim bait before you move in and work them with a drop shot or shaky head rigged worm. My Humminbird Electronics are essential tools for locating these deeper brush piles.
If you can hit the bank with a long cast, then you may be fishing too shallow. Most of the time we are casting to the place where other anglers stop their boats to cast to the banks. You may catch a few smaller bass by beating the banks, but you better fish are out deeper. Throw topwater and swim baits over the submerged brush piles first. Zoom Flukes, SPRO Dawgs and Super Spooks are all great choices. Swim baits or Fish Head Spins will also work when the bass are actively schooling. These topwater plugs and swim baits seem to be catching the bigger fish. Rig the Zoom Flukes on a No. 4/0 EWG Gamakatsu Super Line Hook with a leader tied about two feet up from the lure to a swivel. This will help keep the line twist down and it also adds a little weight to get the fluke to run under the surface.
If you can’t coax fish to rise up and hit your topwater plugs then move in and work the brush piles vertically with a drop shot or jig head worm. My drop shot rig consists of a ¬ to Ú-ounce drop shot weight set 12-to 14-inches below a No. 2/0 Gamakatsu EWG Hook rigged with a Zoom Finesse Worm. You can rig the worm weedless with these hooks, which helps to keeps them from hanging up in the brush. Use six or eight-pound Berkley Fluorocarbon on spinning tackle when fishing drop shots because it is much more sensitive the monofilament.
The surest way to catch spotted bass in the summer is to use live spot tail minnows. You will have to catch these native baitfish with a cast net. If you can’t net spot tails, then try purchasing medium shiners from Hammonds Fishing Centers. Fish live minnows on a down line over brush or cast them out deeper with a slip bobber if you are fishing from the bank.
Striper fishing is good. They are still hitting topwater plugs like Super Spooks and other topwater lures during the day but bluebacks fished on a down line are the most consistent method. This is the time of year to start really utilizing your electronics because the majority of stripers will be deeper in the water column. Move midway into the creeks and target deeper flats close to the creek channels. My Humminbird 797c unit set on side imaging mode covers a large area and shows me the contours of the bottom. You can also see bigger fish and the schools of blueback herring. Once you find the stripers, you can switch to standard mode to see where your down line is positioned below the boat. Target areas that are 40-to 70-feet deep and look for the stripers to be suspended at around 25-to 35-feet deep.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have lively bait. Make sure to use a heavy sinker so that you can get your bluebacks into the deeper cooler water quickly and make sure to change baits often. You can tell if a blueback herring is lively enough by watching the tip of your rod. If the rod is not jiggling then switch out your baits. Hammond’s has the least expensive bluebacks for sale at $5.99 a dozen. Make sure to keep these herring in a quality bait tank and put ice and salt or a commercial chemical additive in the tank to keep them in good condition.
Trolling has been working OK. Continue to troll two-ounce SPRO buck tails on a Cannon Down Rigger or use an umbrella rig that runs deep for your best action.
Crappie fishing had been OK. Keith Pace of Micro Spoons says that fishing in the north end of the river is the best location. Target deeper docks at 15-to 20-feet and shoot your jigs or Micro Spoons up under these docks and let them fall to around 10-15 feet deep. Night fishing for crappie has been just fair fishing below lights around docks and the bridge pilings.
The trout fishing is good and the DNR has stocked plenty of trout for the summer. A ¬-ounce silver and white Rooster Tail is hard to beat in the mountains or below the dam on the Chattahoochee River. Target rapids and the pools below them and retrieve these inline spinners just fast enough to keep the blades spinning. Corn, Berkley Power Nuggets and live earth worms (where permitted by law) are all working well. Fly-fishing with a dry black ant pattern has been fair.
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 e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web site at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!