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Outdoors: Boat traffic affects anglers more than fish
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Forsyth County News

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier water level is 0.85 feet (1,071.85) over the normal full pool of 1,071 and may rise more with the heavy forecasted rain. Lake Lanier’s water is clear on main lake and clear to very stained in the creeks and rivers. Lake water temperatures continue to hold in the mid 80’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: Fishing has been very good this week. Independence Day weekend will be a busy time on Lake Lanier so practice safety at all times. The good news is that boat traffic and the waves produced by it will affect anglers more than it will fish. The bass in Lake Lanier are accustomed to boat traffic in summer and boat wakes can actually help certain patterns.

This past week I was catching more spotted bass on top water plugs when boats passed by then when the water was calm. There is a very good explanation for this. Boat traffic stirs up and scatters the baitfish schools and bass capitalize on this action. Baitfish like threadfin shad and blue back herring stay grouped up in tight schools as their main defense. When a boat passes over or through the baitfish schools they separate and scatter often triggering a feeding frenzy.

Power fishing or running and gunning has been a very productive method right now. Bass are relating to the huge schools of bait so if you can locate the forage fish you should be in the right area. My Humminbird electronics are showing some massive baitfish school both out on main lake and back into the creeks. Use lures like a Super Spook, Pop Rs, BBZ1 Jr. Swim Baits or other noisy top water plugs and work them around areas where you see baitfish or bass schooling on the surface. Some days the water may be calm and a bass will come out of nowhere to explode on your plug. This action gets an anglers blood pumping for sure! When this occurs continue to work that area until the top water bite dies then move on or switch over to a deeper diving crank bait, shaky head or drop shot rig to catch fish that you see below the boat on your graph.

Sight fishing with your electronics is what I refer to as video game fishing and it has been very good this week. Today’s modern electronics allow anglers to actually see our lures and fish below the boat. I never grow tired of watching my drop shot lure fall on the screen as a bass rises or drops to attack it.

Even on a busy weekend you can find calmer areas to fish. Head to the way backs of the creeks or up into the Chestatee or Chattahoochee Rivers to get away from the boat traffic. These areas will hold largemouth bass or spots and there are even some shoal bass way up in the Chattahoochee River. Fishing after dark is also a great way to avoid the crowds and the bass are biting well after dark this week.

Stripers: The stripers are moving towards their summer feeding areas but they are not really deep quite yet. Usually by July they have moved out into main lake timber and river channels but right now the creeks are still holding some good schools. Continue to rely on your electronics to locate the best areas and the proper depths to fish. You may need to move around a good deal but this is necessary to find fish that will bite. Staying in one area and waiting for the stripers to come to you can make for a very unproductive day of fishing.

Try trolling a 2-ounce SPRO Bucktail Jig tipped with a Hyper Tail or live blue back herring on lead core or down riggers while watching your electronics. This is a great method to find the stripers. Your electronics and the strikes you get while trolling will give away the best areas. Also keep a top water plug tied on because there are still a few stripers schooling on the surface.

Lively blue backs or gizzard shad on a down line will be your go to method for the remainder of the summer. You can use heavy test monofilament, fluorocarbon or braid for your main line but use fluorocarbon for your leader because it is almost invisible under water. Use Gamaktsu Circle Hooks for striper fishing if you plan to catch and release. When using circle hooks keep your rod in the rod holder and let the rod bend when a fish strikes instead of setting the hook hard hook.

Some anglers that have started to set out lights and fishing after dark and are reporting good results. Use a bright floating light like a Hydro Glow and set out as many as you can without using up your power. Set out down line to the level where you mark fish. These lights will draw in the baitfish, which in turn brings in the predator fish. You may catch other species of fish besides just stripers including bass, catfish and even some tasty walleyes too.

Crappie: Not a lot of crappie fishing reports are coming in but they are biting after dark. Target lighted boat docks or use floating lights around the bridges. Fishing after dark is a great way to avoid crowds and the summer heat. Live crappie minnows or native spot tail minnows will coax crappie into biting.

Trout:Fishing has been excellent this year on the river and up in the North Georgia Wildlife Management Areas. The only exception to this is after hard rains occur and muddy up the waters or when the Corp is pulling water below Buford Dam. Fishing before or during the rains can be excellent because rain washes insects and worms into the creeks and rivers. Pick your favorite method and go trout fishing.

Bank Fishing: Brim are a favorite fish for many anglers during the summer because they are plentiful and easy to catch. Get an ultra-light rod and reel and cast a one sixteenth ounce Rooster Tail or a live worm on a small hook under a bobber around rocks or fallen trees on lakes, ponds or streams. Some diehard anglers use a fly rod with a popping bug and do quite well. Kids and adults can all have fun catching brim plus they also taste good if you wish to keep a few for dinner.

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