Water conditions: The lake level has dropped slightly to 1,069.89 feet, or 1.11 feet below the normal full group of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures have also fallen with the coldest weather last week and are in the lower 80s. The main mouths of the lake and the streams are clear or slightly stained. The streams and rivers are slightly stained. The Chattahoochee River below the Buford Dam is clear. Check the generation schedules before leaving the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been rated from slow to decent this week. The water temperature dropped with the cold front earlier this week, which should affect fishing for the better. When the front exploded, the fishing was quite good, but after the sun came out it decreased again. This is the time of the year when cold fronts will positively affect the low ones because the fish love the colder water and the weather as much as we do.
We have been using several techniques this week, but the best for larger fish has been to put a SPRO Little John DD 70 in the mouth of the lake coves. I use an 8 foot custom Kissel Kraft Custom bar for several reasons. This configuration allows me to make long throws, which is important because it makes the deep diving plug reach its maximum depth. With a longer cane, you can also dip the tip in the water, which announces a foot or two at the depth that your lure runs. The average action has a parabolic curve, which allows the fish to eat the lure and also allows the fishermen to fight the fish and not take out the hooks.
The best technique to catch large amounts of bass is still fishing for a low-draft worm and around the brush 20 to 35 feet deep. My 12-inch Lowrance Carbon screen on the bow of my Nitro is an important tool for locating arcs or wavy lines that indicate fish. The large high resolution screen allows fishermen to clearly see the bass and hit the lure when it falls even before feeling the bite through my rod. I use the 16-pound Sunline SX1 braid as the main line attached to a SPRO Swivel with a 7-pound Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon leader and a No. 1 hook with a straight Gamakatsu handle. Rig the hook with a Lanier Baits or Big Bite Baits straight-tailed fineness worm.
Other lures that are scoring low are the top water outlets like a Chug Bug. It's also worth trying Fluke-style Big Bite Jerk Shads and Strike King templates with a Yo Mamma trailer. It is also worth trying to fish at dusk with the same SPRO Deep Diving plug mentioned above, as the days shorten and the water temperatures fall.
Striped fishing is good, and there are some massive striped schools under the Browns Bridge from 30 to 100 feet deep. Markers will appear as arcs when your boat is moving and as long wavy lines when your boat is stopped.
Trolling seems to be the most productive way to attract these fish that fight hard to bite this week. Troll either large individual queues or the old and reliable umbrella team. The best umbrella team is a Captain Mack team equipped with Chipmunk or SPRO Bucktails with white or chartreuse or Hyper Tails curls. Pull these platforms with eight or nine colors of lead core or even better use a downward rigger to achieve precise depth. You want your lures to run just or slightly above where you mark fish on your Lowrance screens.
I am spoiled for having a 12-inch Lowrance arc carbon and a 16-inch carbon unit with 3D side images, Down Scan and Structure Scan at the helm. These huge screens along with the aforementioned features allow me not only to mark fish directly under the boat but also at the sides at 100 feet or more to cover a 200-foot path. With Structure Scan, I can place a waypoint directly where the fish appear on the screen, even if they are not directly under the boat.
If you prefer to fish live baits instead of trolling, try herring or other bait fish such as gizzard gizzard or small native-tailed fish. You can catch these bait fish in the coves by beating an area with semolina. You can even use the live wing, but keep in mind that you must catch the wing with a rod and a reel, since the net wing is illegal. Use a heavier 2-ounce plummet with a leader 8 to 12 feet long to increase your chances of catching these shy strokes.
There have been some smaller fish from 3 to 5 pounds appearing around the Hydro Glow Dock lights. The fish will hit a SPRO McStick, Bomber Long A or even live bait thrown to the sides of these fish attracting lights.
Fish-type fishing is still slow, but you can catch them if you are patient. Sink a live small fish or a small fish-type template down to brush located in the coves or streams at a depth of 25 to 35 feet. You will also catch the bass, the edge, the yellow perch and the occasional pike perch in these same piles of deep brushes. Yellow perch and pike perch are even better to eat than the type of fish!
The type of fish will be displayed around the Hydro Glow Dock lights or floating lights arranged around the bridge piles after dark. Their best baits are small ether minnows or native tail minnows. It's easier to catch tails before sunset, so fill your bait tanks before leaving after dark
Bank fishing: most Lake Lanier fishermen ignore catfish, but there are some people who fish year-round. Cast live night crawlers, cut baits or even chicken livers. If you use chicken livers, consider placing them inside a piece of nylon stockings to avoid throwing your baits. Commercial catfish bait will also work well.
Catfish have a great sense of smell, so stinky baits often work better. Your average catfish will run 3 to 5 pounds. That said, you still have the opportunity to catch a huge flathead catfish about 50 pounds, so make sure you have a fresh line and a reel with good resistance. Use a monofilament of 12 to 17 pounds on a moderately heavy fishing rod with a heavy plumb line to bring the baits to the bottom. Target areas that have a ditch or a stream channel that runs near the bank. Secure your bars with store-bought or PVC rod holders.
Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist, guide and bass fisherman. He is currently reserving teaching trips for the mottled bass and largemouth of Lake Lanier. The reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. Aldrich would love to hear from his readers, so send an email to [email protected] Remember to take a child to fish.