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Fishing: Bass, stripers move deeper as dog days of summer arrive
Eric Aldrich
ERIC ALDRICH

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is up again with the steady afternoon rains and is 1,071.14 or .14 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 80s.  The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are clear to stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river @ 770-945-1466.

Bass: Bass fishing is hit and miss depending on who you ask. Recent afternoon showers have had a good effect upon fishing. The bass are starting to set up deeper due to the thermocline setting up. The magic depth seems to be around 25 to 30 feet deep. We have been keeping a power rod in our hands equipped with a top water plug or swim bait, while keeping a drop shot rod at the ready to pick off any fish that appear on your electronics.

Get out early and start running and gunning your favorite offshore brush piles in 20 to 35 feet deep. Make casts over the brush with a top water plug or swim bait. If the fish don’t react to your power lures, then move in over the brush and use your drop shot rig to catch inactive fish down around the brush. Your electronics will let you know if the fish are present and between the two lures you should be able to duplicate the same pattern in other areas.

During active feeding periods, cast a SPRO BBZ1 4-Inch Shad or your favorite top water plug and get busy. Any time storms are blowing in or the CORPs is pulling water through the dam are the prime times to fish aggressively. Cover off shore brush and rock.

Make a cast or three, then move on if you don’t see any action. There have also been some big schooling fish that are attacking herring on the surface over open water. These pelagic fish are very hard to pattern, but these fish are often trophy size. When you see fish exploding herring on the surface, be ready with a moving lure and cast to them quickly!

During slower periods get out your drop shot rod and explore brush from 20 to 35 feet deep. Target larger brush piles that reach 15 feet below the surface. Sometimes the bass will be besides or around the brush while other times they may be buried in the brush. Use your Lowrance electronics to give away the schools of fish in deeper water.

You can also cast and work a sub-surface lure like SPRO Buck Tail rigged with a Big Bites Suicide Shad, cast this lure out an let it sink then work it over and through the brush. Also consider casting a SPRO Spin John spy bait and work this lure slow and steady just above the brush.

Stripers: Striper fishing is good and the summer down line bite is working well. Ninety percent of the stripers will be found below the thermocline in 27 feet of water. To truly capitalize on the hot summer bite, you will need the right equipment. A round live well is best to prevent the “red nose” that herring get from running into the corners of a square tank. Check in with your local bait supplier and use the correct amount of salt or bait chemicals and ice to keep your herring alive.

It pays to have the right rod, reels and lines. I like my medium heavy Kissel Kraft Custom Rods with a bait caster spooled with 15- to 20-pound Sunline Natural monofilament. Use a heavy 2-ounce egg sinker to get your herring down to cooler water quickly. Add a SPRO Swivel with a 6 to 12 feet of 12-pound Sunline fluorocarbon leader rigged with a #2 Gamakatsu Octopus Hook. Hook your herring from under the chin through the top of the nose. Switch out your baits every 10 minutes or whenever the bait seems to be inactive.

The stripers are showing up throughout the water column from 30 feet on down to 70 or more feet deep. Always position your down lines and herring right at or slightly above where you mark fish.

You should always keep two rods with lures ready at all times. On the first rod put a Redfin or Gunfish top-water plug and on the second rod put a Nichols-Ben Parker Spoon to drop to fish you see below the boat. Cast the top water plugs early in the day or any time you see fish breaking the surface. Use the spoon to drop down below the stripers then “power reel” it as fast as you can through the school for some arm breaking strikes!

Crappie: Crappie fishing has been slow to fair. Fishing jigs deep around brush from 20 to 25 feet deep early in the day or shallower from 10 to 20 feet under lights with down lined spot tail minnows after dark is your best bet for a few bites.

Bank fishing: Hit your local subdivision or farm pond with some store bought or home caught live earth worms, some small Aberdeen Style hooks, a bobber and a light fishing pole to target brim from the shore. You can also catch brim from the banks of Lake Lanier.

String a worm over the hook, set the bobber about a foot or two above your worm and cast to any shore line cover. Rocks, Laydowns, dock or weeds will all hold brim in the shallows during the warmer months.

There is just something special about the anticipation of watching a bobber just sit on the water. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, you see the sudden jerk that indicates that a fish has taken your worm!

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!