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Fishing Report: Fishing for Bass may be your best bet
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier as seen from the air in July 2017. - photo by Nick Bowman

Water Conditions:  Lake Lanier’s water level is above normal pool at 1072.15 or 1.15 feet above our normal full pool of 1071. Surface temperatures are in the mid 60’s to low 70’s.

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The creeks, pockets and rivers are slightly stained from pollen. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at (770) 945-1466.

Bass: Bass fishing remains very good and the spawn is in full effect. It has been a shallow anglers slug fest but some anglers are still working hard for their bites. Junk Fishing is a phrase that describes using multiple lures in different locations and that may be your best bet this week.

Having a boat that can maneuver in and out of the docks to get the correct angles on where to cast to is a huge advantage. I just invested in a Lowrance Ghost trolling motor and so far, I am thrilled with the decision. The motor is so quiet that I can get close to shallow fish without spooking them on low to medium speeds then switch to high to run through unproductive water and arrive back into the most productive areas quickly and resume stealth mode.

We have been doing a lot of sight fishing. The bass we catch quickly get returned to the lake and immediately get back on their nests to resume with the spawning process. There is some controversy about targeting bedding bass but it is my experience by studying these fish over the years is that there is no real harm as they proceed on with the reproductive process after being caught and quickly returned to the water

All you really need right now for bed fishing is a white fluke style lure like a Big Bites Jerk Minnow and a white tube or Big Bites Craw Worm in white. All of the lures allow you to see the bright white and you can tell when they disappear that you have gotten a bite before you feel it through your rod.

For anglers that prefer not to bed fish there has been some productive action with shaky heads, Texas rigs and even Carolina Rigged worms or lizards. A Lanier Baits Fruity Worm on a shaky head or Texas rig is also a great choice fish around bank cover and docks.

There has even been a good topwater bite in coves and shallow points both in the creeks and out around the main lake. Use a smaller top water lure like a Baby Zara Spook or a smaller Big Bites Jerk Minnow fished on the surface. Other lures like spinnerbaits, crankbaits or your personal confidence lures should also produce bites around the banks this week!

Stripers: Striper fishing remains good and the fish are going through their false spawning runs up lake in the rives and down lake in the creeks, Stripers have no significant successful reproduction on Lake Lanier but they still go through the motions.

 Most of these hard fighting fish can be found relatively shallow right now so flat lines and weightless planner board rigs have been your go-to baits. If the fish show up deeper than 15-feet on your Lowrance Electronics then try adding a quarter ounce split shot to your flat lines to get them down a little deeper. If you mark fish deeper than 25-feet then a down line may make better sense.

Start your day pulling flat lines and unweighted planner boards over shallow flats in the backs of the creeks or up in the rivers. Blueback herring have been your best baits with medium to large shiners coming in at a close second. Pull these baits very slow at around .5 to 1 MPH. If the wind is blowing lightly you can use it to push your boat and just use your trolling motor to correct the direction of the boat. If the wind gets up it may be a better idea to face into the wind to control the speed of your boat.

The night bite around dock lights has been decent. Both Hydro Glow and regular white dock lights can attract baitfish that in turn attracts the larger predator fish. Use a small bucktail, or better yet, a small fly on a fly rod like a Clowser minnow and make casts as far away as possible to the sides of the lights. Stripers will hang around on the edges of where the lights meat darkness. Other lures like an SPRO McStick or Smaller Bomber Long A will also work well. Once you catch a couple of fish the rest will get spooked so rotate through the most productive lights for your best success. 

Crappie: Crappie fishing remains good and the fish have started to finish up spawning. You will catch a lot of the smaller males right now but numbers should be good. During the day cast minnows on light lines with a bobber around any shore cover or docks with brush located around them.

After dark there have been some bigger fish biting around bridge pilings. Place out floating lights of smaller Hydro Glow lights. Light jigs or minnows on a bobber or weighted down lines have been producing well.

Bank Fishing:  A variety of fish have been biting around the banks so pick your favorite species and go fishing. Trout have been stocked in all the major creeks and below Buford Dam in the Chattahoochee River. Cast Rooster Tails, Count Down Rapals or Dry Flies to the pools below the rapids for some great action. The trout that have been stocked are new to the river and are not used to being caught so they are easy to catch!

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer 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 

Remember to take a kid fishing!