Lake temperatures are in the mid-to-lower 70s. The Lake Lanier water level is dropping and is around 1054.4 feet or right around 16.5-feet below full pool. The Chattahoochee River is clear and cool.
Bass fishing has been very good with the continued milder temperatures. You will need to keep an open mind when fishing in the fall. Don’t concentrate as much on what types of lure, but instead find the active fish and they will eat almost any properly presented bait.
Bass are moving around a good deal and finding the bait is the key that will unlock great fishing.
Use your Humminbird Electronics to locate the large schools of blueback herring, bass and stripers. Also keep an eye out for any surface activity. You may only see a single fleeing baitfish, or one or two bass breaking the surface that can give away a much larger school of fish.
My buddy, Jeff Yero, used to say the water may be glassy on top, but there is a fish war going on below the surface.
When you find the schools, throw a SPRO Dawg 125, Super Spook or larger buzz bait when it’s choppy and down size to a SPRO Dawg 100 or smaller topwater plug when the surface is calm.
When a bass strikes and misses your topwater plug, keep it moving at the same pace —or even faster— and they will often come back for multiple hits until you finally hook up.
Almost any lure will work when the fish are on top. Crank baits, swim baits, SPRO Buck Tails and the old, reliable Rooster Tail will all work well.
We have also caught fish on finesse techniques like a jig head or drop shot rigged finesse worm, but it’s hard for me to slow down when the fish are hitting faster lures.
If you want to ensure some great catches, then buy some large blueback herring from Hammonds and flat line these bait fish in the mouths of any main lake creek.
The topwater action is still going strong, but it can be a challenge to stay with the fish as they are up and down quickly. At times you may see an acre of stripers exploding on the surface, or you may only see a few fish on top, but the action is happening. One of the best techniques to consistently catch topwater stripers is to wake a Red Fin on the surface.
Reel this lure slow and steady and keep your rod tip held high so that the lure forms a defined V wake on the surface.
The stripers will hit these plugs so hard you may need your heart pills.
As with the bass, other lures will work well so keep a SPRO Buck Tail or SPRO Dawg tied on as well.
Live bait fishing has also been very good, and the stripers are bitting flat and down-lined bluebacks and trout. Hammonds has trout in stock for the rest of the winter and they are easier to keep alive then bluebacks.
The down lines have been working best when you see fish at 20- to 40-feet or more on your Humminbird Electronics.
Here is a tip for catching a trophy striper: Often the smaller stripers will be the fish that appear on the surface. Bigger stripers will hang below the school, picking off wounded baitfishes that flutter down from the surface activity.
Try throwing a large spoon or SPRO Buck Tail to the school and let it just free fall through the fish. It will very rarely hit the bottom before a fish attacks it even on the free fall.
These will often be the bigger 20-pound or more stripers. Trolling buck tails on lead core or down riggers have been working well this week. The Bomber Long A bite is just starting to get going, and they actually are hitting these lures best right at sunset.
Be very careful if you venture out after dark, as the low lake levels cause many unseen obstructions just below the surface.
The Crappie fishing is good, and the same methods that were working last week are still productive.
The fish have moved shallower with the milder temperatures.
Troll Micro Spoons and crappie jigs at 10- to 12-feet from the creek mouths on into the creeks.
Trout on the Chattahoochee
Trout fishing has been a little slower this past week but it’s still pretty easy to catch a limit if you know what to do.
I often fish one lure all day long for some good action. I use a ¬-or 1/16-ounce white and silver (color isn’t that important) Rooster Tail on very light two- or four-pound test line.
Fly-fishing and live bait (where permitted) is also working fair.
Eric Aldrich is a part time outdoor writer, bass fisherman and 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. Remember to take a kid fishing!