Lake temperatures are from the upper 80s to around 90 degrees, and Lake Lanier is less than a foot below full pool at 1070.3. Lake Lanier is clear on main lake and stained in the creeks. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been good and the FLW Championship in August promises to demonstrate that Lake Lanier is a world class spotted bass fishery. Anglers have really been doing their work and there are a bunch of new brush piles along with some old reliable community fishing holes that are producing good fish.
The topwater bite has been very good this week and the spotted bass are chasing bluebacks out on the main lake, in the creek mouths and also up in the rivers. The best bite seems to be late morning into the afternoon. We have been running and gunning and hitting 20 or more areas in an eight-hour day. It seems like the productive holes are cycling through active and inactive times. Keep moving and you should eventually collide with some active fish. A few of the schools of spotted bass are pretty large but there seems to be a lot of smaller packs of three to five fish. You may be able to pull up on a productive point and catch a good limit of bass in short order, but the routine seems to be more of a one-or-two-fish-then-move-on type of deal.
Topwater plugs and swim baits are producing some big bites. Sunny, windy days seem to be the most productive for power fishing. Floating 6-inch BBZ1s in the Silver Fish pattern or larger Sebile Magic Swimmers have been producing some good fish while V-waking these swim baits over brush. Super Spooks and SPRO Dawgs worked in a rhythmic “walk the dog” cadence over these same brush piles have been best for both size and numbers this week.
After working an area with the larger lures, try switching over to a drop-shot, shaky head or Texas-rigged soft plastic worm and work through the brush and rocks in 15 to 25 feet deep. Robo Worms, Big Bite Finesse Worms and even the old school curly tail worms are all good choices. Dip your worms in JJ’s chartreuse dye because spotted bass really key in on this color. Spot tail minnows continue to be the most effective and easy way to catch spotted bass and other species including catfish, stripers and even walleye. Spot tails are pretty easy to catch and two methods work best. Check local tackle stores and buy a small mesh cast net. Throw grits or cracker crumbs around the beach or boat ramps to draw the baitfish in. You can also try using a minnow trap and bait it with grits. Some tackle stores sell minnow traps, or you can check online for instructions on how to make your own.
Striper fishing is just about as good as it gets, and the action should stay consistent for the rest of the summer. I often sound like a broken record, but lively bait is key for catching summer stripers. Blueback herring are relatively inexpensive and you can go through several dozen in a half-day of striper catching. Check with local tackle stores to get the right bait set up and consider hiring a reputable guide to help eliminate the learning curve.
Three methods are working best for stripers this week, and all three should remain productive for the next few weeks.
There has been a decent topwater bite during the day and the stripers and spotted bass are both eating SPRO Dawgs, Super Spooks and Redfins. Swim baits worked on the surface can be productive, too. The topwater action is hit or miss, but if you find stripers feeding on the surface you can often catch them one after another.
The most productive method remains fishing herring on down lines. Use a long fluorocarbon leader and a heavy weight to get the bluebacks down to the cooler deep water.
Watch your electronics and keep moving until you see the tell-tale arcs or lines that look like spaghetti which indicate the large schools of stripers.
We have seen fish from the surface all the way down to 60 feet and deeper, so electronics are a must to determine the proper depth.
Trolling two-ounce SPRO Buck tail tipped with a live blueback or Hyper Tail on lead core set out to seven-eight colors has been working well over the river channels during the day. Trolling is a great way to cover water and many anglers troll buck tails until they find the large schools that can be caught with herring.
I spoke with an angler this week who was using gizzard shad way up in the Chattahoochee River in some of the deeper holes around Lulu Bridge to catch some nice stripers away from all the boat traffic
Crappie fishing is decent for the anglers who can unlock the deeper brush. Target docks in the creeks and look for water that has a little stain to it to be the most productive. Brush and lay downs have been holding crappie and 15 to 20 feet seems to be the most productive depth.
The active fish are biting all day and night, but early mornings and around midnight have been the most productive times.
Live crappie minnows or jigs tipped with live minnows are producing better than plain artificials.
Trout fishing on the Chattahoochee continues to be good below Buford Dam and also in the many Wildlife Management Areas in the North Georgia mountains.
The plentiful rain this year has filed the mountain streams and has made for some great fishing. Try small inline spinners, dry flies or even live bait (where permitted by law).
Many bank-fishing opportunities are available for Lake Lanier anglers who don’t have boats. Check with local tackle stores to get information on some of the best areas and methods to try. Fishing from the banks in the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers can be very productive in the summer. Target the moving water or areas where creeks feed into the rivers. Shoal, largemouth, spotted and striped bass all live in the upper reaches of Lake Lanier. Most lures will work well.
Try inline spinners, crank baits, plastic worms and live minnows to catch some of these hard-fighting river fish.
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 e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!