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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Look forward to thermocline to concentrate fish
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Lake Lanier's water level continues to move in the right direction and is up again due to the consistent rains. Lake Lanier's level is 1,064.62 or 6.38 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 70s. The main lake and creek's mouths are clear to stained. The creeks and rivers are slightly stained to very stained.

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

Bass fishing rates are good to great. Anglers that work hard should be able to put together some big stringers this week. The bass can be found in both shallow and deep waters, so pick your strengths and go catching!

Top water fishing is the big talk this week. In the mornings, the top water bite is strong. As the sun starts to get up the action seems to go through a lull, but don't worry. From mid-day on into the early evening, the bite has been strong.

Start out early up shallow on points and humps with a Chug Bug or your favorite top water lure. Poppers, walking baits and swim baits like the SPRO BBZ1 6-inch floater will entice some vicious strikes from big, hungry spotted bass.

The run and gun pattern is still our go-to technique. You may have to cycle through several areas before you encounter a hungry school of bass. Hit your best areas and add a new one or two and run through them, returning to the best ones throughout the day. Timing is everything, so make sure you build a good milk run and fine tune your tools.

Remember. Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

During the morning lull, cast a crank bait, worm or jig around brush located from 10-to-30 feet deep. Docks, rocky humps and other hot spots located near deep water offer bass and anglers that pursue the best opportunity to score bites.

I received a new spool of 15-pound test Sunline Cranking Fluorocarbon this week and was extremely happy with how sensitive and castable it was. It performed more like 10 to 12-pound test. We scored several bass on this line by slow rolling a Little John DD or RkCrawler around rock during the morning hours and also after dark.

Working Texas rigged curly tail worms around creek and ditch channel drop-offs has been working for numbers of keeper spotted and largemouth bass. Try switching to a jig to weed out the smaller fish. A Big Bites finesse worm on an Alien head is hard to beat around the deeper docks near the creek channels.

Striper fishing has ranged from fair to very good. The fish are scattered throughout the water column, so patterning them has been a challenge. There is a slight thermocline forming up lake at around 20 to 25 feet deep. Down lake the thermocline is still setting up so look for stripers to start moving deeper as we get a hard line around 25-to-30 feet deep.

Right now, you may catch stripers on the surface on down as deep as 80 feet.

Start your day casting to long points near creek mouths and around humps close to the river channels. The stripers are feeding on herring and shad close to the surface early in the day. Redfins, McSticks or a Gunfish are all great lures to cast all day long. Make sure to have one tied on and ready all day for any surface activity you encounter.

Pick your favorite method and try it for a while, but be open to modifying that plan. Trolling Captain Mack's Umbrella Rigs, casting plugs or pulling flat and down lines will all produce fish in the right locations.

As the sun rises you can continue to cast top water plugs. Also keep a 2-ounce SPRO Bucktail rigged with a Big Bites Suicide Shad or a Ben Parker Spoon to drop to any fish you see on the graph while you drag either flat or down lines.

Keeping lively bait is the biggest chore for summertime live herring fishing. Add chlorine-free ice and sea salt to your bait tanks to keep your herring in great shape. Fresh herring are super important, so change out baits frequently. Use a long fluorocarbon leader on your down lines with heavy one to two ounce sinkers to get your baits down to the fish that you see with your electronics.

If you do not have a quality graph that you trust, consider your options. I use Humminbird but also sell Lowrance, Simrad, Raymarine and Garman fish finders where I work. Each manufacture has their advantages so educate yourself on the best unit. Email me and we can explore options at the store. If you do not know how to use and read your fish finder, then I can't stress the importance electronics play. Your units are your eyes under the water!

Crappie fishing is fair to good for anglers that are adept at fishing deep brush. Working a 1/32nd to 1/16th ounce crappie jig on light 2 to 6 - pound test in brush 15 to 20 feet deep takes some practice but it will pay off. I heard once that a great crappie angler can out fish just about any one because there are so in tune with ultra-light lures that every other technique is easy.

The nighttime hours are your friend if you are hunting slab crappie. Lights around the bridges or docks in the backs of the creeks will pull in crappie from 5-to-15 feet deep after the sun goes down. Small jigs or down lined crappie and spot tailed minnows are all good choices.

The best action goes from sunset to sunrise with peak times being before midnight and an hour before dawn.

Trout Fishing: The trout must be happy with all the rain we are receiving. Trout fishing is good and the fish are biting early in the day and during active feeding periods and hatches.

A dry fly had been the go-to bait for fly anglers. Cast a Small Black ant pattern or a Midge anywhere you see fish rising. If you fish below one of the many dams, try a small clowser minnow or streamer and use quick strips around the rapids and at the ends of the deeper pools.

A Rooster Tail, Rapala or other small crank bait will work well in North Georgia. Cast crawfish or brighter colors in the smaller streams and rivers up in the mountains. Use those same reddish colors or try a shad pattern below dams.

Bank Fishing: Someone came into work the other day and asked if we sold just fishing poles. After a brief explanation that we sold everything from Ugly Sticks to G-Loomis I became aware that this gentleman just wanted an old-fashioned cane pole.

Occasionally we should all take a look backward. For my grandparents, fishing was a simple act of preparation. Cutting bamboo, making floats out of scraps around the home and digging your own worms were just part of the process.

Gather the kids and cut either bamboo or other wood for poles, take pieces of wood or Styrofoam to make a bobber.

Attach about 3-4 feet of line with a small hook at the end. Dig worms from the garden or mulch pile. All of this prep will add to the fun. Then go fishing!

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. He would love to hear from his readers, so please email him at or visit his website at or

Remember to take a kid fishing.