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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Striper bite strong at the thermocline level
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Lake Lanier's water level is up about a half foot, which is a blessing during the hot summer. Lake Lanier's level is 1,065.71 or 5.29 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the mid-80's. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are clear 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 is slower as water temperatures approaches the upper 80's. The fish will hit moving lures during active feeding periods and Buford Dam's water generation. You may fish 10-20 areas, only to find that the next stop is full of active bass.

In summer, the thermocline sets up and fish relate to that area in the water column where the warmer top layer meets the cooler lower layer of water. The area where the warm and cold-water layers meet is called the thermocline.

It will help your fishing greatly to be aware of it. You can turn up the sensitivity of your fish finder and see a small line or cloud when the thermocline is present.

A thermocline does not mean that there won't be any fish up shallow or that they won't charge to the surface to strike a topwater plug. We are still running and gunning brush. We are concentrating on areas where the brush is located from 20-40 feet deep.

The thermocline has set up at around 27 feet in most locations. The majority of bass are hanging around brush and timber at this level. Occasionally we have gotten away from main-lake targeting largemouth bass that are very shallow.

Continue doing your normal run-and-gun routes to deeper brush and timber.

The surface activity has been slower. When you are gunning, still make a few casts over the cover before moving in to investigate. In fact, if you know that there is probably a concentration of fish in the area, consider just moving in on them quietly with the drop shot, shaky head or other types of soft plastics.

I feel that a topwater plug or swim bait will get noticed. Even if they don't bite, it still scatters some fish.

Try switching things up. Get a lure down to the school first, and catch as many bass as you can. Then, switch over to a topwater plug or a subsurface lure like a Big Bites Suicide Shad on your favorite 1/4-ounce jig head, underspin or wobble head to entice any fish that have scattered away from the cover.

Get away from the traffic on the main lake to fish the creeks. There are deep areas in the creeks where you can catch spotted bass.

There is a very shallow pattern toward the backs of dock planks and shallow around cover where some nice largemouth are feeding on bream. Skip or cast jigs, prop baits or try skipping a SPRO Bronzeye Popping Frog under the gang planks.

Striper fishing is very good. When the thermocline sets up in summer, striper fishing can be incredible. This warm/cold layer of water eliminates a large surface area and concentrates the stripers in big schools down deep. This week, the stripers have been very concentrated in coves, ditches and the creek mouths from 30-50 feet deep.

Target shallow cuts with deep water close by. Fish the ditches and shallower creek channels where the bottom depth is in 40-70 feet of water.

Lively herring are a must. This will be a redundant reminder for of all reports during deep water, hot weather and down-line summer fishing.

If your bait is not lively, you will not catch as many fish. Herring that get excited when they are lowered into a school of hungry stripers trigger aggressive bites. If you lower a dying herring, you will occasional get a bite, but not nearly as much. Get out to your local tackle and bait shop to get the right set up with ice and salt/chemical additives to keep your herring alive.

Hook your herring through the nose with a No. 1 Gamakatsu Octopus Hook. Use a long leader of Sunline fluorocarbon leader attached to a SPRO Swivel. Place a plastic bead ahead of the knot on your main line to protect the knot, then add a 1 to 2-ounce lead or tungsten sinker to 20-pound Sunline Natural Monofilament line.

I like a medium-heavy, parabolic bend rod like my Kissel Krafts Custom eight-footer. This rod allows the fish to take the bait by bending with a slow tip.

We are seeing concentrations of stripers on Humminbird Electronics from 30-50 feet around the islands and creek mouths from the dam all the way to Browns Bridge. Frankly, I did not check above because fishing is good down lake.

I am sure there are plenty of fish up lake too.

Drop several downlines to different levels when the fish are on the screen. Also, try power reeling SPRO Buck Tails, Nichols Flutter Spoons or Suicide Shad on buck-tail jigs.

Night fishing for stripers is good, but not many people are outdoing it. Get out your Hydro Glow lights and head to the Islands or creeks mouths. This is a great way to avoid the crowds and enjoy some productive fishing. Set downlines out around 25-40 feet. Adjust the depth based on what your electronics show.

Crappie fishing is very slow.

Fishing under dock lights or Hydro Glow lights around deeper bridge pilings with down-lined spot tail minnows after dark will work for a variety of fish including a few crappie and bream.

Trout fishing is good during slack river and stream flows, both up north and below Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee.

High-water levels have interrupted some great fishing, but it's good to have the rain. You can bet the fish don't mind.

Fly fishing with nymph or a double-down rig can work well in the mountains and down on the Chattahoochee River.

The trout are also striking small red wigglers or any worms you catch in your back yard. With all the rain, the trout are getting fat on earthworms washed into the streams and rivers. Just make sure live bait is permitted where you fish.

Small inline spinners like a trout colored Rooster Tail will score multiple bites around where the best current breaks are located.

Bank Fishing: Since we mentioned earth worms in the trout reports, let's talk how they can work for bank anglers.

First of all, if you have kids, digging up earthworms can be half the fun. Dig in the garden, mulch piles or piled up leaves. Fill a can or container with dirt and you can leave it in a cool area. The worms will live for a couple of days.

In the summer, the fish are active but they tend to be a little deeper. Hook your worms on just about any small-to-medium size hook, cast them out with or without a bobber around rocks or trees in the water. If you are fishing from a dock, try casting deep with no weight or bobber, just a hook strung up with a worm.

Some fish will be shallow, while others can be caught deep. Small bream will be shallow. The bigger ones will be down around 10-feet deep. Bass like to eat large live earthworms close to the bottom around 20-feet deep. Catfish and carp find their food by smell. You will often catch them with worms.

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 readers, so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com.