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Outdoors:Striper fishing ready to flourish on Lake Lanier
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Forsyth County News

Lake Lanier’s water is exactly the same this week as last weeks report at 1,071.03 or .03 foot above a full pool of 1,071.

Lake temperatures have risen into the lower 80s. Lake Lanier is clear to stained from boat traffic on the main lake and clear to stained 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 has been good to great as the bass are moving into the offshore patterns that are more the norm for early summer. The topwater action has been great at times during major feeding periods the fish will move down into the offshore brush, where they are very catchable using your electronics.

Start your mornings around rocky banks back in main lake pockets and also in the creek mouths and on the main lake with a topwater plug or a swim bait. Medium-sized offerings have worked better than supersized lures so far this year.

There are many great swim baits available to anglers and A Sebile Magic Swimmer, SPRO BBZ1-4 Inch or a Bite Sized Herring have all been working well. These realistic lures mimic the prolific herring that the bass are feasting on this week and you don’t need a special rod or reel to cast these smaller, very manageable sized swim baits.

It is easy for anglers to gain confidence in swim baits just by watching the realistic way that they swim.

Along with realistic swim baits, a topwater plug is a necessity in late spring and early summer on Lake Lanier.

A medium-size Cordell Red Fin V-waked on the surface has been a great way to start the day and may continue to entice surface strikes well on into the day. Making these lures create a wake and not run too far under water is essential as bass and stripers seem to key into the wake to locate the lure.

A slow, steady retrieve is essential, but sometimes the lure still seems to run under the surface, so there are other things instead of retrieve rate that can help retain the v-wake. Start with using heavy monofilament.

I like 20-pound Sunline Mono. Other modifications can really help, too. You can get rid of the front split ring and tie a loop knot to the front of the lures eye. Also replace the standard hooks with light wire Gamakatsu hooks to allow your Redfin to run higher. These modifications will really help make your Red Fin put off the telltale v-wake this lure is famous for.

After the fish vacate the surface and move deeper, they will set up into brush piles that are from 15-25 feet deep where they remain very catchable.

Always cast a lure over the top of the brush before moving directly in over these sunken fish. Use a Fish Head Spin or a Scrounger Head with a five-inch Big Bites Can Thumper and swim it slow and steady above and through the brush.

After a few casts, move up directly over the brush with a drop shot rig and ‘Video Game Fish’ by watching your dropshot and the fish that are drawn to it on your Humminbird’s screen.

You can often see fish rise or descend as they chase your lure on your graph. Video Game fishing is probably my favorite way to catch bass.

After dark, we have been catching plenty of bass with a combination of techniques. Cast dark colored crank baits or large Colorado Spinner Baits and work these lures digging into the bottom. Use a slow and steady retrieve and make sure to stay in contact with the bottom to get the most consistent action.

You can also bump a big black jig with rattles and work these lures from the banks on out into brush from 15-25 feet.

Bass will move much shallower after dark and can be easy to catch after dark.

Stripers: Great news: anglers on Lake Lanier are getting ready for some of the best and most consistent striper fishing of the year and this action will continue to improve all summer long for the anglers who are adept at deepwater fishing for the line sides brutes.

I grew up fishing Lake Lanier for bass and stripers and the summer months used to mark the season when we temporarily stowed our fishing rods and turned to other water sports like water skiing, swimming and other activities because summer fishing was so difficult. Other than early and later in the day, fishing in the heat was very slow.

Fishing was very tough when you actually did catch a fish, especially stripers, they were usually very skinny and malnourished.

The water temperatures deep were cool enough to hold sport fish, but were devoid of the forage baitfish that stripers and bass ate. We would catch bream and use them as bait to sink down deep and the stripers we caught were extremely thin.

This week, the stripers have been feeding on the surface early and at major feeding times throughout the day. Keep a Red Fin or slow-sink swim bait ready at all times. The stripers have been separating small groups of herring away from the larger schools and corralling them against the surface.

This action has been best very early in the day.

During the rest of the day, anglers have been using a mixed bag of flat and down lines for catching stripers based on how deep they are in the water column.

Pay special attention to your Humminbird Graphs and use your Side Imaging to determine the best depth to target.

If your screen shows herring and stripers shallower than 20 feet, then use flat lines by themselves or with a planner board or even a balloon and allow your nose hooked herring to run shallow behind the boat.

Some days the stripers may be shallow but we have started to see the fish moving out deeper in the creek mouths and out on main lake around the river channel. In this case, the down lines have been working best.

Night fishing has started to be productive and it is a great way to beat the heat and to avoid the crowds. You will find stripers in the lower lake creeks around Big Creek and Flowery Branch around the marinas. Fishing inside the no-wake zones is a perfect way to stay away from the traffic.

Set out floating lights or submerge a Hydro Glow and you will see the bait fish appear around your lights pretty soon after you turn them on. Use down lines but expect the stripers to be a little shallower than during the day.

Crappie: fishing has been OK during the days and good after dark under lights on the bridges and docks. During the day, the fishing for deeper fish around the docks and brush midway back in the creeks is working well. Start your days shooting jigs up under docks or cast to deeper brush with small crappie jigs and also use down lined crappie and native spot tail minnows.

Find brush that is around docks or the ditches and creek channels from 10-25 feet.

After dark, set out floating or Hydro Glow lights around the creek bridges both up and down lake. Wahoo, Little River, Two Mile and Six Mile have all been good bridges to target.

Trout fishing remains consistently good and nothing should change for a while. One of the best ways to spend a hot summer day is to get up early and put a float tube, kayak or Canoe at Buford Dam and float downstream to Settles Bridge.

You can take two vehicles, leave one at Settles Bridge and then drive up to and put in at Buford Dam to float downstream. Just make sure to check generation schedules. Use light spinning tackle or fly fish and you can easily catch 20 or more trout in a four-hour day.

The water is cool and it provides a natural air conditioning and anglers will be amazed at how many trout they will see in this short float down stream.

The fishing has been equally good in the mountain streams and the amount of streams you can choose from is almost endless. Take your favorite ultralight spinning tackle or fly fishing outfit and enjoy the North Georgia mountains.

You can look on line and plan a day trip to trout fish any way you prefer. There are many creeks and rivers that offer live bait or artificial-only fishing.

Bank Fishing: I went bream fishing at my subdivision pond last week and caught a fish on almost every cast. Bream fishing is a nice change from the run-and-gun bass fishing and it requires very little investment. Fishing for bream with live earth worms is one of the best way for kids and adults alike to get into the sport of fishing.

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