Lake Lanier’s water level is up 1.68 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake Lanier’s water is clear on the main lake and clear to stained in the creeks and rivers. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Lake temperatures continue to hold steady in the lower 80’s. Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been a little slow during the day this past week. We have still been targeting deeper ledges with both shallow and deep water close by. It seems the transition zones and points between shallow flats and deeper channel drops have held the best fishing.
Brush and rock piles in 20-35 feet have been best. I have been relying on my Humminbird 1158 to sight fish for bass around these deeper areas. Sometimes you may see bass holding tight to the underwater cover, while other times you will see them suspended off the bottom. These fish will strike a drop shot or jig dropped through the schools of spotted bass. This type of video-game fishing requires a quality graph and GPS to hold your boat above the fish on your screen.
We have also been marking some fish around the deeper timber lines off shore. These bass seem to be bigger, but catching is hard. The bass around deep timber are still pretty shallow for this time of year. They are holding in the tops of trees at 30-35 feet deep.
Our best action this week has come by fishing after the sun goes down.
We discovered this pattern when staying out late after a pretty unproductive day of fishing. Cast a deep-diving crank bait after dark around rocky points and humps in the creeks. A SPRO Little John DD in Citrus Shad or Spring Craw colors have been a great producer. Other deep divers like a Strike King 5Xd or Bill Norman Deep Little N have also been worth a try. Make sure your lure digs into the bottom like when we have gotten most of our bites.
Striper fishing remains a challenge, but some anglers have really figured them out. Almost every successful angler I have spoken with has been down lake. If you stay in sight of Buford Dam, you should be near some good fishing. The lower lake creek mouths have also been good areas to target.
Your electronics are going to be your best tools in summer fishing. The stripers are still relatively shallow for this time of year. Usually August signals the dog days of summer, but this year we have been experiencing almost record low temperatures. It feels more like late September or early October instead of mid-August.
Live bait fishing has been your best bet this week. Make sure your bait tank is kept cool and your herring are lively. Replace your baits often and move if you are not catching fish. There has been a constant thermocline showing up around 20-25 feet deep. The stripers are down below this level from 35-45 feet above timber and close to the river and creek channels.
Drop live herring down to the fish that you mark on your graphs. Use a lighter fluorocarbon leader. Many of the stripers seem particularly line shy. This is not too uncommon, but it is still frustrating when you are marking fish that you are not able to catch. Many times you can use a thick main line, but your leader may need to be 12 or even 10-pound test fluorocarbon. This lighter leader means you may need to play your fish with care, but it is worth downsizing to increase your hook-ups. After playing fish, make sure to release them quickly. Use the quick heads down method to get them deep quickly.
Trolling SPRO Bucktails on down riggers or lead core has just been fair. Even though this pattern has not been strong, it will still catch a few. It will also allow anglers to cover water to fish the larger schools of stripers that will hit down lined bluebacks.
Crappie: Not many fish reports are coming from anglers, but with this cooler weather I would expect that some slabs will be more shallow than normal. After dark will still be your best bet. Work small crappie jigs or down line minnows around lighted areas toward the backs of the creeks.
Trout: Most trout waters are very healthy and they continue to bite much better than is normal for August. Jeff Duriak from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources reports that we are having some of the best conditions in years due to the consistent rains and cooler than normal air and water temperatures.
Fly fishing with dry flies has apparently been off the chart. Small Caddis and Parachutes flies have been working in the mountains and below Buford Dam. This action can happen all day long.
Rooster Tails and Mepps inline spinners are a consistent method for North Georgia. Live earthworms fished on the bottom are also working very well in trout water. Just make sure you’re fishing where live bait is permitted.
Bank fishing can be very good from the banks both on Lake Lanier and also in other smaller lakes. When fishing larger lakes like Lanier, bank anglers should target the deeper drop-offs around rocky banks. Worms, topwater lure and crank baits will often yield bank anglers a few bass.
If you are fishing smaller lakes, like farm and subdivision pounds, try a Texas-rigged lizard or curly tail. Work and cast to any bank cover like laydowns, rocks or grass. Areas around pond dams tend to always hold fish, especially in summer.
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. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.