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Fishing Report: Troll deep for stripers
Eric Aldrich
Eric Aldrich with the Fishing Report - photo by Eric Aldrich

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level continues to hold steady at just above full pool at 1,071.27 or .27 feet above the normal full pool of 1071. Dock owners haven’t had to move their docks all summer which is a true blessing! The main lake is mostly clear. Up lake is slightly stained from rainwater inflow. We continue to be blessed with afternoon showers that are keeping our lake right above full pool!

Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures continue to hover around the mid-80’s. Lake Lanier is calm on the weekdays, but the weekends are busy.

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 tough for most anglers but we have had some good days power fishing the timber lines in 25 to 35 feet of water. Power fishing can take you from being a zero to a hero quickly. It can also break your heart but put in the work and you shall be rewarded!

We have started our days early, launching the boat before sunrise. There is usually an hour of or two of action in the morning as the sun gets up above the horizon. This action has been a little slow the past couple of weeks but if you can get on a school of fish feeding in the morning you may be able to score a good limit. If you don’t find fish early don’t worry. Our best action has been on sunny days and the action heats up as the sun gets higher in the sky.

We continue to run and gun and power fish with large topwater plugs, BBZ1 Swimbaits and other big, topwater lures. Run and gun the timberlines and deeper brush from 25 to 35 feet for your best success. Cast large topwater lures or swimbaits over the brush and if you do not get a bite move on to more productive water. We usually encounter a school of fish in our first 5 stops but if not keep “plugin’ away” as you cycle through your milk run.

The truth be told, most anglers are struggling. Some of my friends are happy to catch 5 bass in a half-day but this time of year it can be tough so don’t despair if you’re not catching fish because some of the best anglers I know have been having a hard time catching fish.

Finesse fishing can save the day when it’s tough. When fishing gets tough, we have been working a Big Bites Baits Finesse Worm or a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm (they rule!) in the deeper brush and having success. This is where you need to have your electronics.

Try casting a SPRO Spin John 80 and cast it over the brush. Let your spy bait sink (I count down 10 seconds) to the level where the brush tops out and reel it slow and steady back to the boat. Use light spring gear with 6-pound test Sunline Fluorocarbon and fish this lure in the same way you would a topwater. Cast over brush, count down and reel slow and steady. If you don’t get a bite move in up over the brush and fish the brush with a drop shot rig.

I want to give a big Thank You to Jim Noble for raising such a fine son - Todd Noble. Todd is a long-time friend from our men’s group and I understand that Jim reads these reports so I just want to acknowledge a great father!

Stripers: The stripers fishing is good for anglers that can troll lead core or umbrella rigs at the proper level. Trolling is a great way to cover water and to catch and find the bigger school of fish.

The prime rig has been to fish 8 to 9-colors of lead core at 2.5 miles an hour. Rig your lead core with a 1 to 2-ounce SPRO Bucktail with a Big Bite Suicide Shad or live blue back trailer. This action has been so consistent that some of the guides are not using live herring because trolling can out produce live bait.

If you locate a big school of stripers, you can hang out and drop-down lined herring from 30 to 50-feet or deeper. Talk with your bait store about how to keep these cool water baits alive.

The stripers and blueback herring schools thrive in the cooler, deeper water during the summertime. The thermocline is located between 25 and 30-feet. Most of your stripers will be positioned below this level because the water temperature is probably 10 to 20-degrees cooler than the surface water temps and the oxygen levels are better out deep. Most of your action will occur from 25 - feet on down to 100-feet deep. 

Crappie: Crappie fishing has been slow for most anglers but the master perch jerkers can still catch them. The thermocline has positioned the crappie at around 30-feet but there are exceptions. Get out on the water very early or very late, fish small crappie jigs or live minnows on a down line for your best success.

Bank fishing: Brim fishing has been good on Lake Lanier and also in your local farm or subdivision ponds. 

The rains have made it easy to catch worms. Catching the bait is almost as fun as catching brim. Dig up worms around your garden or any good soil. 

Rig a worm on either a bobber or with just a split shot positioned a couple of feet with a split shot attached, The bigger brim will be deeper on Lake Lanier but they may be a lot shallow in local ponds. If the fish are present, they will bite your offerings pretty soon.

Fish trees laying in the water or deeper rocky banks for your best success!