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Fishing: Bass and stripers bite well after dark
Eric Aldrich
ERIC ALDRICH

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level continues to hold very steadily and is above full pool at 1,071.38 or .38 feet above the normal full pool at 1,071. The main lake and lower lake creeks are mostly clear. The backs of the creeks are stained from rain inflow. The water up in the rivers and creeks still ranges from slightly to very stained due to recent rain inflows. Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures are in the low 80s.

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

Bass: Bass fishing still rates from fair for anglers who beat the bank to very good for anglers who are adept at fishing off shore brush. The rains have kept the water temperatures down and the lake levels above full pool.

Start your days and be on the water by safe light. Cast subtle lures like Big Bites Jerk Minnows, Flukes, Spy Baits and smaller top water plugs or poppers over submerged brush out on main lake humps and points from 15 to 30 feet of water.

We continue to run and gun main lake brush until we find the most productive areas. Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth population are fat and healthy and are willing to eat both small moving lures as well as soft plastic Lanier Baits and Big Bite Baits worms on a drop shot.

Every time you see a new brush pile with your Lowrance Electronics, make sure to mark a GPS Points and add more areas to your milk run. It can pay off to “just go fishing” as you scan these areas to add new brush. Unless you have a good friend willing to supply you with GPS coordinates, then time on the water is the best way to build a milk run of productive areas to fish.

I have been testing the new SPRO Spin John 80 Spy Baits and have had great success with these very subtle sinking lures. Use a medium action Kissel Krafts Custom Rod and a spinning reel rigged with light 5-pound test Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon. You can make long casts with these light lures then allow them to sink to the level where the brush tops out and reel them slow and steady through the brush.

Bass fishing after sun down is a great way to avoid the crowds and an awesome way to catch big spotted bass up close to the shore. Many anglers target the green Hydro Glow Dock Lights, but we actually have our best success around dark, rocky banks in the creek mouths. Fish a large black spinner bait or dig medium to deep diving lures like a SPRO Little John DD into the bottom and slow roll these lures with a steady retrieve back to the boat.

Stripers: Striper fishing has rated from tough to very good. The secret to successful striper fishing is being able to find the large schools of fish with your Lowrance Electronics.

We have started to detect a thermocline between 25 and 30 feet. This thermocline is where the warmer surface layer meets the cooler deeper layer. The thermocline can greatly help anglers eliminate one third of the water column so they can concentrate on the other two thirds of the water column where the stripers and baitfish will congregate.

Trolling still remains a very viable way to both locate and catch stripers. Pull a full-sized Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig from 25 to 35 feet deep at around 2-3 MPH. Keep an eye out for arcs or lines that indicated schooling fish on your modern electronics.

Once your find a large school of stripers relating to the herring bait schools, then it is time to deploy down lined herring. Look for ditches, creek and river channels water from 30 to 70 feet over a 50- to 100-foot bottom. Make sure to have plenty of live herring and switch out your baits frequently.

After dark, set out Hydro Glow lights in the creek mouths and down line herring to where you mark fish on your electronics. Stripers will move a little more shallow in the water column after dark, so if you were fishing 50 feet deep during the day, try fishing at 30 to 40 feet after the sun goes down.

Crappie: Crappie fishing has been good around lighted boat docks after dark. We have found some crappie that are schooling in less than 15 feet of water around dock lights in the early morning hours from the creek mouths on back into the backs of the creeks.

The nocturnal feeders are striking both live minnow and small crappie jigs after dark. Get out to the lights after dark and fish until after midnight.

Bank Fishing: Lake Lanier has a healthy population of catfish that will bite early and late in the day as well as after dark. These catfish can be drawn in by the smell of a variety of baits. Cut bait is one of your best bets for pulling catfish in around your lines where they become very catchable.

Native, cut gizzard shad or even brim can work extremely well. Use a medium heavy rod and reel strung with 10- to 15-pound test with a heavy sinker and a #1/0 Octopus Hook. Locate banks where the channel swing in close to the shore and set out your lines here.

Secure your rods well, because some of the catfish are very strong and can easily pull unsecured rods into the lake. If you fish for more than an hour and don’t get a bite, then pull your lines in and move to a more productive area.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoors writer, marketing specialist, guide and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. Contact him at esaldrich@yahoo.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!