Lake temperatures are in the mid 70s down lake and in the lower 70s up in the rivers. Lake Lanier’s water level rose almost 2 feet with the recent rains and is around 1,063.13, or 7.95 feet below a full pool of 1,071. The lake is stained and the creeks and rivers are stained to almost muddy in the backs.
The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is very stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: Lake stratification or turnover has started and the pea green color of the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is a dead giveaway. The warmer upper layers of water are starting to mix with the cooler lower layers of water.
This natural process tends to scatter the fish as they no longer have a distinct thermocline to relate to. The turnover does not happen all at once or in all the same places so you will still find areas where the water layers remain in place.
Lake turnover will happen over a period of a couple of months and usually starts in late September and goes on through November.
A lot of anglers blame slow fishing on the turnover. There is some truth to this because the bass do spread out. That being said, I have caught some of my biggest spotted and largemouth bass during this period.
Because the fish are scattered, running and gunning is a very good method right now and my Nitro Bass Boats big motor gets used a lot during fall.
Power fishing with large topwater plugs and larger swim baits is a productive way to fish. I keep a Super Spook and a BBZ1 Swim Bait tied on at all times. I also keep a drop shot rigged and ready to drop down to fish that appear on my Humminbird’s Bow Graph.
Target main lake points and humps that have brush piles and cast your top water plugs and swim baits directly over the brush. Because almost every point and hump has brush, your options are almost endless. Knowing specifically where the brush is located will increase your catch rate.
I scan the area with my Side and Down Imaging then mark those sweet spots on my GPS, so when I return later I will know where to cast.
After throwing lures over the brush, move in and scan the brush piles with your electronics to see if there are any fish present.
If so, use a drop shot rig or shaky head worm to entice these fish into biting. During inactive feeding times fish may not be aggressive, so working soft plastic lures around and through brush piles may be the better way to go.
The largemouth bite has been very good with the recent rains and many of these fish can be found in the backs of the creeks and rivers in shallow water. Start your day throwing a buzz bait around docks and lay downs in water less than 5 feet deep.
Target areas in the creeks where the muddy or stained water meets slightly clearer water. A jig and pig or SPRO Fat Papa crank bait are both productive lures in these same areas. The night bite for bass has been very good.
There are very few boats out after dark so you may have the whole lake all to yourself. Work big black spinner baits or a Little John DD crank bait and slow roll these lures through rocks and brush to catch some magnum spotted bass after dark.
Stripers: The stripers are scattered but several anglers I have spoken with are catching them. You can just about pick your favorite method and go catching as long as you can locate the fish.
Quality electronics are a key tool year-round, but they are especially important in fall as the line sides move around chasing the bluebacks. Live blueback herring are your best bait right now but the stripers are also keying in to the larger gizzard shad up in the pockets.
It pays to have a properly set up bait tank and to buy or net the liveliest bait available.
Start the morning casting Refins or Zara Spooks around main lake points and humps in the creek mouths. There is a little topwater activity, and while this action seems to be best in the mornings it can also occur throughout the day. The surface action will only improve as we move into fall, so keep a topwater plug tied on and ready at all times.
The stripers are hitting both down- and-flat-lined bluebacks and the best action seems to happen when the sun is a little higher in the sky.
You can sleep in a little and get out on the water after 9 a.m. for the better live bait action. Trolling large buck tails or umbrella rigs is a good way to cover water while looking for the large schools that are grouped up in the creek mouths and around the main lake islands and humps.
There are a couple of reports that the Bomber Long A action is starting up so get out after dark and cast these large lures to rocky banks around the islands and down around Buford Dam.
Crappie fishing is picking up as the water temperatures drop. The recent rains have raised the oxygen levels and have also introduced microscopic plankton into the lake, which feeds the baitfish that crappie eat.
Fish back in the creeks where the clearer water meets the stained to muddy water. Some of the crappie have been extremely shallow while others can be found 10 feet or deeper around brush piles and docks. Troll small crappie jigs or minnows on a down line or under a bobber, depending on the depth you see the fish on your electronics.
Trout fishing is fair below Buford Dam but better up in the mountain streams. The recent rains have improved oxygen levels and this will help the trout fishing. The river below the dam has turned into a pea green color but this does not hurt the fishing too much.
Cast bright colored inline spinners and small crank baits around the rapids on the river. Up in the mountains more natural colors may work better if the water is clear but the brighter colors may be best if he water has a stained appearance. Of course a live earthworm is hard to beat where live bait is permitted by law.
Bank Fishing: There are a wide variety of species that can be caught from the shore in fall. Casting a white and silver Rooster Tail on light line will entice strikes from several species. Bass, crappie, brim and even trout will all hit these small in line spinners. A live earth worm or minnow fished under a bobber is also a great choice this time of year.
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.