Lake temperatures are in the upper 80s. Lake Lanier is at full pool at 1,071 feet. The main lake and creeks are stained to clear and the Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing is hit or miss but they are biting very well at times.
Locating offshore brush is the key to summertime bass fishing on Lake Lanier. Finding this brush can be difficult at times but, today’s side imaging electronics make this task a lot easier. Instead of imaging just a small slice of the bottom, side imaging allows you to see a much wider swath. You can mark object on GPS that you see on the screen, even when the boat is not directly over that object.
We have still been power fishing and hitting 20 to 30 areas in a six- to eight-hour day. The theory behind this is that you will eventually run into an active school of fish. We rotate between the main lake and the creek mouths. Spotted bass go through active and inactive feeding periods. We often return to areas that were dead earlier in the day only to find that the fish schooling on top.
Spotted bass often roam around in large groups chasing blue back herring, shad or spot tail minnows. We refer to these schools of active spotted bass as wolf packs. Continue to cast moving lures when you first arrive at an area to determine if the bass are feeding. If the bass appear to be inactive, slow down and fish the brush that is 20 to 30 feet deep. Sometimes you can activate a school by just catching one fish. Bass are greedy and we often see several other fish trying to steal the lure from a hooked fish. We have even caught two fish on one lure and this is not as rare as you may think. It pays off to keep a lure handy to entice these followers. A Jerk Shad, McStick, Fish Head Spin or even the old reliable Rooster Tail are all good choices in this situation. If one-person hooks a bass then the other person should be ready with another lure in case a wolf pack shows itself.
Spot tail minnows rigged on a drop shot or a down line will just about ensure a successful day of catching. Spot tails are like candy to several species of fish on Lake Lanier. You can attract these native minnows by throwing grits or corn meal out around boat ramps or beach areas. After you scatter your grits or corn meal then wait a little and you should see the baitfish. Both spot tails and bream will appear but you should only gather the spot tails, as it is illegal to use bream that are caught with a cast net as bait. It is legal to use bream that you have caught with a hook. Use a small mesh cast net to catch spot tails. You can purchase these nets at local tackle stores but make sure you get the smaller mesh size.
After dark, try casting dark-colored worms or jigs to brush at 15 to 20 feet deep. I like to use a lure that displaces a lot of water at night. Try a six-inch Big Bite Kriet Tail Lizard in June Bug Color rigged Texas Style. Bass are sight feeders during the day but they rely on their lateral lines to actually feel movement at night. Black Spinner Baits with a large single Colorado blade are also working well, but make sure to cast these lures out deep and make sure they make contact with the bottom or brush for your best success.
The striper fishing remains very strong on Lake Lanier. The summer bite is really starting to set up and several guides are reporting that they are catching 10 to 20 stripers in a four-hour trip.
Target the creek mouths and main lake areas and watch your electronics closely to find the schools of stripers. Stripers appear as arcs or lines on your fish finder. If the screen looks like spaghetti, you are probably over a huge school of stripers.
Drop a live blueback down to the level that you mark the fish. Use a two-ounce sinker to get these baits down quickly through the warmer surface layer of water to ensure the baits stay lively. Use 12-pound test fluorocarbon as your leader to coax the bites.
Troll a two-ounce SPRO Buck Tail on lead core line over main lake humps and on the ends of the points. Let your lead core out seven to eight colors and keep your trolling speed around two miles an hour. Umbrella Rigs will also work but pick the ones that will run around 25 to 30 feet.
Keep a Dawg 125 or a Red Fin tied on incase the stripers appear on top. The topwater action has been slow but they can show up in the early mornings and some times through out the day. If you are not catching stripers, it can really pay to hire a guide. You can quickly accelerate your learning when you spend the time with a person who is out fishing every day.
After dark, you can fish live gizzard shad or even bream on a down line in the creek mouths. Use a Hydro Glow Light and check your fish finder to determine a good area. Unlike most fishing, you can actually pull in stripers with your lights because the lights attract baitfish, which in turn attracts the predator fish.
Crappie fishing is slower during the day, but the night bite has been good under lights on the bridges or beneath lighted boat docks. Most of the bridges are holding decent slabs and the best time has been 10 p.m. to midnight and later.
2 Mile, 6 Mile and Wahoo Creek bridges are all great places to put out lights. Place your Hydro Glow or Floating lights around bridge piling that are in 20 or more feet. Set crappie minnows or spot tails out on a down line at 15 to 20 feet deep.
Trout fishing is very good both below the dam on the Chattahoochee River and also up in the mountains. If you fish the Chattahoochee, try to get out early in the day as the float traffic definitely affects the fish. We have noticed that the fish bite very well right at daybreak to about 9 a.m. or when the sun hits the water. Once the sun is up you will actually see a bunch of trout but they will not bite as well. We go by the theory that if we can see the trout, they can see us.
Use a 1/8th or 1/16th size Rooster Tail on four-pound Sun Line, or try live earthworms below a large split shot. If you use corn, salmon eggs, power nuggets or worms, check local regulations to make sure live bait is permitted.
Bank fishing: The bream are bitting like mad in the shallows on Lake Lanier. Bream are one of the easiest fish to target, which makes them great for kids.
If you are fishing with your kids, choose a rod and reel combination that is easy for them to use. A Zebco 33 is an old reliable. Make sure the line is in good shape and that the reel is well-oiled. Cast earthworms set 1-2 feet under a bobber.
Tie your line directly to a small Aberdeen style bait hook without a weight or a swivel. Small Rooster Tails or other inline spinners will work very well too. Target the shorelines that have rock or wood, as these will hold the most bream.
Eric Aldrich is a part-time outdoor writer, bass fisherman and marketing specialist. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. I would love to hear from our readers so please e-mail me at email@example.com or visit my website at aldrichfishing.com.