By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Outdoors: Bass feeding on bream near the banks
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News

Lake Lanier’s water level continues to be less than a foot down from full pool at 1,070.14 or .84 feet below a full pool of 1,071 feet.

Lake temperatures remain steady in the lower 80s. Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and clear in the rivers and creeks. The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing remains very good for summer. The stable water temperatures and weather have made for some redundant fishing reports, but this is a good thing because fishing has remained better than normal for August.

There are a few fish in the pockets and on docks, but for the most part man-made brush piles on the main lake and in the creek mouths are the best areas to target. Use your SideImaging capabilities to find these off-shore secret areas and store the waypoints in your GPS to set up for future fishing.

I have found and marked brush that I was unaware of, then returned to that same day and caught fish off a new area.

I have kept three lures tied on at all time: a topwater plug like a Super Spook or Sammy, a SPRO BBZ1 4 inch Shad, and a dropshot rig.

Very often you will notice that certain locations have active fish during specific conditions. For instance, when I hear the water release warning siren blowing at Buford Dam, I can expect that the brush piles around the mouth of Baldridge and Shoal creek will probably have active schooling fish about 30 minutes after the warning siren.

This is because the current generated by the dam moves water, which actives blueback herring, threadfin shad and spottail minnows. When the forage gets active, the bass will join in the action.

The warning siren is like ringing the dinner bell.

As is the norm for the past months, you should approach brush piles by stopping your boat about two long casts away from the exact area.

Make several casts with your topwater plugs and swim baits. Some days the bass seem to want theses lures fished slow and steady. However, the majority of the fish this past week seemed to prefer a fast erratic retrieve.

Working a Sammy or swim bait quickly over and around brush simulates a fast-moving school of herring. Spotted bass are accustomed to chasing this faster prey.

Most of the strikes will occur directly over the brush but keep an eye on the surface around the brush. Also watch your depth finder. If you see bait scattering on the surface, cast your topwater lures directly to them.

If you see wavy lines or arcs on your depth finder, sink a dropshot rig down to where the fish appear on the screen. It is very cool to watch your lure fall and see the fish either rise or descend to eat it.

It is like a video game but so much more fun.

The spot tail bite is very good and will remain that way through September. Once you learn how to throw a small meshed cast net over spot tails that have gathered after chumming grits or cracker crumbs, you will be set. You will be rewarded with all the live bait you will need for the day in just a couple of casts.

Largemouth bass are biting buzz baits around any bank cover in the back of the creeks and in the rivers.

Largemouth will relate to shallow docks during the day and will bite jigs or finesse worms.

Stripers: The summer patterns have actually gotten better this past week. There seems to be smaller stripers in many locations from shallow to deep. Some stripers will strike a topwater plug during very active periods but the majority of the bigger fish are being caught deep by trolling or using live bait on down lines.

Trolling a single big buck tail or several smaller jigs on an umbrella rig has been a good option this past week.

Target areas with timber in the creek mouths and run your lures around 30-40 feet deep. A Cannon down rigger is a great investment for anglers that troll a lot. You can install one or two on your boat, which will take all the guesswork out of the depth which will keep your lures directly in the strike zone.

If you use lead core, set it out around nine colors with two-ounce SPRO Buck Tail in a spearing blue or bunker color. Tip these jigs with your favorite trailer or increase your odds by using a live blueback herring hooked through the lips.

Run your boat around 2 mph and adjust your depths to keep your offerings right over the top of the timber line.

Invest in a lure or umbrella rig retriever because if you are not getting hung up a few times, then you are probably not fishing deep enough.

Live blueback herring on down rods continues to be the most popular and possibly the most productive method in summer, so of course these reports will repeat mentioning this method throughout the summer. Lively bait and a stealth presentation make the difference in catching a bunch of stripers or going home empty handed.

You need a large circular bait tank with some salt, ice and aerator stone to keep the oxygen levels up. Switch out your baits every 15 minutes, or so, to keep a lively blueback on your hook. The stripers are relating to timber in the creek mouths from 40-70 feet deep.

The most productive depth can vary. Use your electronics to find the arcs or "spaghetti" lines that indicate a large school of stripers.

Crappie: Some anglers are catching some OK numbers fishing brush toward the back of the creeks from 15-25 feet deep.

Use light four-pound mono or Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon and work 1/8-to 1/6-ounce hall flies and pick the brush piles apart.

Crappie are schooled thick in certain areas. When you locate a productive brush pile, then you can stay in the area and catch some decent numbers. The bite seems better early and later in the day. Night fishing around lighted docks or on the bridges after dark with minnows has still been a viable method.

Trout: This has been a banner year for trout fishing.

The steady spring and early summer rains have kept the oxygen levels up and the water temperatures down.

Because of this, the trout are active and healthy. Visit your favorite Wildlife Management Area stream in the mountains or try the Chattahoochee River from the dam all the way south into the Atlanta perimeter.

You can just about pick your favorite method as the trout are hitting dry flies, inline spinners, small Rapala Countdowns and live bait like worms, power nuggets and corn. If you prefer to fish live bait, check local regulations as it may be restricted on some waters.

Bank Fishing: This week, the moon will be full. When this occurs, the bream will build their nests or beds near the banks. You can catch bream easily but there is a another secret to this pattern. Bass eat small bream and will wait outside these bedding areas to pick off bream that stray too far.

Use a topwater prop bait or a SPRO BBZ1 Shad swim bait. You may catch some of the biggest bass using these methods from the shore.

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. Contact him at or visit his website at