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Fishing Report: Summer patterns prevail for Lake Lanier fishing
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier. - photo by File photo

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level continues to hold very steady, especially for summer at 1,071.31 or .31 feet above the normal full pool at 1071. The main lake and lower lake creeks are mostly clear. The water up in the rivers are clear to stained from the afternoon showers. 

Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures have leveled out and are in the mid-80’s.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at (770) 945-1466. 

Bass: Bass fishing has been up and down depending on whom you speak with and what times you choose to fish. The bigger spotted bass have been coming from off shore brush in 25 to 35-feet of water. These fish will tend to be close to or in the brush on sunny days but they will wonder out away from the brush when the skies get cloudy or during active feeding periods.

Start your day out in the creek mouths near main lake and target brush from 20 to 30-feet deep. Cast moving lures like a top water plug, spy bait or even a deep-diving plug like a SPRO DD and cast these lures over and around brush piles to trigger an early bite. 

You should only make a few casts to see if the fish are active then move in up over the brush and use your electronics to pick off any fish you see on the screen. Use a drop shot rigged with a Big Bite Baits Finesse Worm or a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm and pay close attention to see if the fish are reacting to your offerings. If the fish are not active, move on to the next area. 

Once you develop a milk run of productive areas and cycle through them you should eventually run into a school of active fish. The thermocline is set up between 25 and 30-feet deep and this seems to be concentrating a lot of the bass and baitfish at this depth.

After dark the fish have remained off shore so target the same areas that the fish are located in during the day. These deeper nigh time fish will strike dark-colored worms, jigs or a slow rolled spinner bait fish in the brush.

Stripers: Like the bass report above the striper fishing has been hit and miss. Quality electronics are one of the best tools you can have when fishing in the summertime on Lake Lanier. You have to locate the fish before you can catch them! The patterns remain the same this week…Trolling, herring on down lines and power reeling big spoons.

Start your day with a live well full of blueback herring. Make sure to add ice and salt or bait keeping chemicals to your bait tank. When you get on a school of fish it is easy to go through a few dozen herring in an hour. Few things are as disappointing as looking at your electronics for hours, then finally finding the stripers only to run out of live bait.

The stripers are relating to the creek and river channels from 50 to 100-feet deep. Keep in mind the thermocline is set up right around 27-feet deep so 90% of the fish you catch will be deeper than that. Use a heavy 1 to 2-ounce sinker to help get your herring down quickly through the warmer layer of water to the cooler water below. 

Once you locate the fish and set out your down lines try dropping a Ben Parker Spoon below the school then quickly power reel it up through the fish to entice a reaction strike. You can duplicate this by dropping other types of lures like an SPRO Bucktail or smaller spoon. When changing out your baits you can also drop your old herring to the bottom and reel them in the same fashion up through the fish to produce an arm breaking strike!

Trolling an umbrella rig has still been productive and is a great way to cover water. Set out a Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig on lead core set to 8 or 9-colors or on a downrigger set to 35-feet deep and troll them at around 2 to 3-MPH.

Crappie: Crappie fishing has been a little slow but some master perch jerkers are catching them by shooting small crappie jigs up under deeper docks with brush.

Your best bet may still be to get out after dark and fish the lighted boat docks or to set out your own lights under the bridges that have at least 35-foot of water. Fish small crappie jigs or down line crappie or spot tail minnows from 15 to 25-feet deep.

Bank fishing: Most anglers feel that you must fish deep for bass in summer but there are exceptions. I read the results from a tracking survey where most largemouth spend most of their life in water less than 10-feet deep.

You can find productive water in the backs of the creek on Lake Lanier or try fishing your local farm and subdivision ponds. Start out early in the day and cast topwater lure like a Buzz Bait or a Whooper Plopper and cast these lures around any trees laying in the water or around shallow rocky points. These topwater offerings work best early and later in the day but if you around a good population of fish you may catch them on top all day long.

Other great choices for summer bass are plastic worms, jigs, shallow running crankbaits and even live minnows so get out and catch some shallow summer largemouth bass.