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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Trout more plentiful early in the day
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Lake Lanier water level is 1068.95 or 2.05 feet lower the normal full pool of 1071. Lake Lanier’s water is clear to stained on main lake and clear to very stained in the creeks and rivers. Lake water temperatures are in the mid 80’s. The Chattahoochee River is clear.

Bass fishing is still good, but they are really starting to settle into a summer pattern. There are still a few fish to be caught on top water plugs so don’t stow your top water gear yet but catching fish on the surface has slowed down considerably. I have been using a Zara Spook, Super Spook and also a double fluke/Jerk Minnow rig over brush piles early in the day for a few top water strikes. I will keep a rod loaded with a Chrome Zara Spook in case any fish appear on the surface during the day.

While the surface fishing has subsided, the fish relating to brush have been consistent. I mentioned this in the past, but if you are going to catch fish on Lake Lanier in the summer, it really pays to get out and explore and to mark as many brush pile waypoints in your GPS. With today’s modern Side Imaging technologies, finding brush has become a lot easier.

I have my Humminbird fish finders networked together. This way, when I set my Side Imaging to 75 feet, I can scan a path 150 feet wide and mark waypoints anywhere I see brush or other cover and structure, and I can share the information between the front and back units. This beats all of the crisscross idling we had to do before this technology was available. I also mark other brush that I fish while running the trolling motor so my Humminbirds have literally over a thousand way points.

Once you mark brush, it is important to fish it to find out which ones are the most productive piles. Not all brush piles will hold fish. Usually, newer brush is better if only because the vegetation may still be decaying, which offers food for baitfish. Where the brush is located probably has as much to do with how productive it is.

Always try to fish brush that is either close to both deep and shallow water or look for brush piles that are very isolated. Some anglers go as far as to use underwater cameras to locate the best brush. What they look for is usually smaller brim and other forage and, of course, bass.

Once you get a good milk run, you should easily be able to catch a limit of bass. Right now, the best brush I have been fishing is located along main lake humps and points that are close to the river and creek channels, The best depth has been 20 to 35 feet deep. I have been setting my Nitro Z-8 directly over these brush piles while using my Humminbird 1158c to “video game” fish.

My best soft plastics have been a Big Bites 7 inch Shakin’ Squirrel and a Big Bites 4 inch Cane Stick. At over 20 feet, I think color is less important, but green or pink colors are usually what I use, and I always dip these soft plastic lures in JJ’s Chartreuse Garlic dye. My wife hates the smell of that stuff, but to me, it smells like money.

I have also spent some time in the backs of the creeks fishing for large mouth and that fishing has been good. If I were looking for a good tournament weight, I would probably stay shallow in the backs of the creeks and throw a white and silver Linker Lure Buzz Bait early and switch over to a SPRO Fat John or Fat Papa crank bait or a Jig and pig after the sun got shinning.

Night fishing has also been good right now. Target main lake rocky areas and work a Little John DD in Citrus Shad color or a large blue and black jig around main lake brush in the same areas as mentioned above. There are many other methods that are working, so don’t just limit yourself to what is mentioned in the report. If you would like to share your experiences, I always enjoy reading emails from readers, so send me an email that is listed at the bottom of the page.

Stripers: There are a lot of smaller stripers working the lower lake humps just off the main lake channel in the morning. These fish have been moving from one hump to the other, so they can be a little hard to target, but when you get into a school of these 2-3 year old fish, then you can have a blast before the sun gets up over the horizon. Cast Zara Spooks, Chug Bugs and Gun Fish to the stripers you see on the surface.

The bigger stripers have been down a little deeper, and two methods are working to produce fish — live herring on a down line and trolling. Trolling is a great way to start the day, and most of the guides either troll a large buck tail or an umbrella rigs. This week, we will talk a little about lead-core trolling.

Lead-core trolling is a method that utilizes a weighted line set out at different lengths (colors) to achieve the desired depth. The lead-core line’s different colors let you know how deep your lure is running. While it is not an exact science, most lead-core set out at 10 colors at 2.5 miles per hour will run between 45 and 55 feet deep. Right now, trolling about 30 to 40 feet deep is ideal and you will achieve this with a large SPRO Buck tail by running out 7-8 colors. Remember that many variables come into play while trolling lead-core including boat speed, line test, lure weight and drag and even water temperature.

Your electronics play a big part year-round, and especially in summer when the stripers are deep. Other than getting a random strike, there is only one other way to determine that stripers are present — your electronics. Right now, we have been marking schools of stripers in 35 to 65 feet of water over a 45 to 80 foot bottom. Use a weighted line (down line) with fresh blue back herring and switch.

There are also some stripers being caught after dark down lake around some of the major marinas. Set out Hydro Glow lights and use down lined herring. The stripers after dark will move a little shallow than in the day, so adjust your depths as your electronics show where the fish are in relation to your boat. It also pays to chum up the area with your dead or dying herring.

Crappie fishing has been about the same as last week. They are on deeper brush down lake and they will be under docks and medium depth brush up lake during the daytime hours.

After dark, set out your lights around the bridges and fish live minnows under them.

Trout fishing remains good in the North Georgia streams and rivers. Dry flies have been working well in the North Georgia Mountains. Small Elk Ear Caddis or a Black Ant pattern have both been good options. Of course, take a look at any insects that are close to the waters you fish and match the hatch.

The Northern Streams and Rivers along with the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam has experienced some very good action early in the day with that action slowing on the busier waters, after the sun gets up. Trout fishing on the “hooch” is one place where it pays to be the early bird. Cast inline spinners or Count Down Rapalas on light line and target areas where he rocks or logs create a current break.

Remember that the biggest or most aggressive trout will occupy the best areas, so if there is one lone rock in the middle of the stream or river, you can bet there is a good fish waiting below. It also pays to know that big fish didn’t get big being dumb, so make sure to be as stealthy as possible on your approach.

Bank Fishing: The brim fishing on almost all of our local waters has been good. Subdivision and farm pounds can offer some of the best fishing because many receive very little fishing pressure, so these fish are aggressive and will strike just about any food offering. My grandson got spoiled because I took him out and taught him how to dig up worms, and to fish in our own pond across the street. This pond is less than an acre and is in a well-traveled subdivision, but receives very little fishing pressure. We can go fishing with worms, crickets and eve dry flies and catch 20 or more brim the size of your palm in a half hour.

This type of fishing is great for kids, because it keeps them interested without requiring too much time between bites. Always remember when taking kids fishing to make those trips all about them. Be ready to tie on hooks and help untie tangles and bring along drinks and snacks. When the kids get bored, allow them to skip stones or explore the banks as long as it does not disturb others. Don’t do what I did to my oldest son and make them get up at 4:00 a.m. and stay till 5:00 pm. Instead, practice patience, and then when you do want to get up early and stay late, they may just be raring to go. It worked with my grandson.

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. I would love to hear from our readers so please email me at esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit my website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing!

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