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Lake Lanier Fishing Reports

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-October 22, 2020

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Was it the cool down we experienced last week that seems to have really energized fishing? Maybe it was a result of the Corp releasing water to reach the target level of 1069? Both? Either way, we saw an increase in the number of  Stripers schooling on the surface and plenty of Bass moving into shallow water. The surface temp only dropped a couple of degrees, 70 as of Thursday AM, the lake level was a different story. The water level was 1071.52 Thursday morning, .52 above full pool, however that is down 1.78 feet from last week. The weather forecasts looks great going into next week with very mild weather thru the middle or end of next week when our next front approaches. With it likely that the water releases will continue to be strong, and another full moon arriving on the 31st, fishing may be really good for the next few days! 

The Striper patterns are basically the same, with the exception being the increase in schooling activity. I think there has also been an overall improvement in the bite. Down lines are still the big producers, with some really nice schools of fish showing up over the creek channels and the river channel. The fish may be roaming over the channel proper or associated with a flat, point or hump near the channel. This pattern has been effective all over the lake, so I don’t really know if there is a best “area”. Herring are still the bait of choice for this technique, but jigging spoons may also be effective if the fish are very densely grouped up . 

This schooling fish pattern has been pretty strong, with some really nice groups of fish pushing bait to the surface. I think the greatest activity is early and late, but there are some fish showing up throughout the day. This bite can also be very good in the afternoon and evenings. Cast buck tails, wake baits, Chug Bugs, Steelshads and Magic Swimmers to the schools, all have been effective in recent days.  

The after hours Bomber bite has also improved with anglers reporting good catches beginning right when the sun sinks below the tree line. Nothing unusual about this technique, run and gun the saddles, long flat points or shallow humps, the bite is quick if the fish are there! Long a bombers, and McStik jerk baits are staples for this pattern. Dock lights are also holding plenty of fish so that makes for another good pattern to fish after dark or prior to sunup. Flukes, Jerk baits, small buck tails, and live baits on the pitch rod are all good choices for casting to the lights. 

Bass fishing is good and many of the patterns that have been in place are still very effective, just add some shallow water patterns into the mix to complement the deep water patterns. Topwater and swim baits are very viable choices for the Spotted Bass, cast them over brush, points and humps, use the wind to your advantage. Still plenty of fish in the 18 to 25 foot brush/humps but these same baits will also work over shallower targets as well. Small Chuggers, Magic Swimmers, Flukes and walking baits are producing well over these areas. If the fish do not respond to the top waters and swim baits, or you want to show ‘em a change up, swimming a Keitech swim bait over the same areas will also produce well along the Spybaits. If the wind will help you out a little, a big spinnerbait, 1 oz or 3/4 oz, over points and humps can also be a very solid pattern. Anglers have reported some good catches using this bait/technique in recent days. One footnote on the Sebiles: If is really calm, maybe high blue skies, and the fish seem reluctant tot take the bait on or near the surface, let the bait sink to the bottom, or down to 12 to 15 feet then start the retrieve, Often that will trigger the bite! 

Plastics on a drop shot or a Weedless Wonder continue to produce well, with finesse worms, trick worms and Senkos all being good choices. These combos are working well on a variety of sructurtres, brush, points and humps, or just fishing secondary points, rocks and docks. Basically, there are enough shallow fish that the “bank beating” pattern with the plastics will amount for some pretty good numbers.  Fish any points or structures you see, and docks are always worth a cast or two.

We also have some schooling Bass, still sporadic, and lots of single fish or small schools of fish pushing bait mostly early and late. They are catchable if you can get a bait to them, small baits that cast well are the ticket. The Steelshad is always a good choice, Spy baits, Flex-it spoons or sliced spoons will also be effective. 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-October 16, 2020

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Last week I stated  “lake conditions had been pretty stable” which has not been the case this past week. With the remnants of Hurricane Delta creating a big rain dump in the Lanier watershed, we saw the lake level rise over 3 feet in less than 48 hours! We are currently 1073.30, 2.30 feet over full pool. That is up 2.50 feet from last week. Fyi, the Corps is planning to pull the lake down to 1069 by the end of November to complete a maintenance project on the dam. That means they will be have to be releasing a lot of water to reach that number, which could be a big plus to fishing! Check the generation schedule to use this circumstance to your advantage. The lake temperature is still right at 72 degrees, that’s been pretty constant for almost 4 weeks now. That will likely fall as the weather forecast indicates some cooler temps, lows into the 40’s for the weekend! 

The Striper bite has been ok. The fish are scattered, vertically and horizontally, with a wide range of applicable techniques and methods. Overall, I think the down line bite is still the best overall pattern, with many fish being taken in 30 to 50 feet over a 35 to 90 foot bottom. The fish may orient to the areas adjacent to the river channel or back up in the creeks. Flats, points and humps near the channels are likely areas to look for fish. You do not have to see a ton of fish to warrant dropping a bait, a few fish will often turn into a bunch once you start dropping the baits. Blue backs have been the baits of choice, with a few anglers reporting taking some fish down lining small Gizzard Shad. If you get them really piled up under the bait, try dropping a spoon to them, a Flex-it or Super Spoon, or Jig n Shad will be effective if the fish are grouped up Densely enough. 

Casting top waters or swim baits to points and humps will account for a few fish, the key here is to move fast and cover plenty of water, it’s very much a numbers game. This pattern varies in intensity from day to day, and can be very weather influenced. This bite is also often good in the middle of the day or into the afternoon, so don’t give up on this technique after the first part of the day. As a general guideline, keep your boat positioned in 30 feet and cast to the point or top of the high spot, expecting the bite to occur over a 15 to 25 foot bottom. These parameters may change on any given day so watch the sonar to see where the greatest activity is, take note of what depth the boat is positioned in, and where the fish was on the strike. Sometimes you’ll be able to establish a pattern that will increase your efficiency. 

The Bomber bite has been somewhat slow to ramp up, not sure why that is, perhaps as the water cools that will become stronger.  While there have been a few anglers taking some fish casting Bombers and Jerk baits to the points and saddles, the dock lights are probably a more productive pattern. Small buck tails, jerk baits, Keitech’s on the lead head, or live baits on the pitch rod are all likely choices for the lights. Lights in a variety of depths in the creek backs or towards the main lake may produce.

While the schooling fish are sporadic at best, they may show up so be prepared when they do. Many anglers have reported being in some nice schools of fish that were really hard to catch? Often at this point in the year they will key on very small baits and it your bait does not match the size of what they are feeding on they will often totally ignore your offering. Small buck tails or Flies under a casting bubble, 1/2 Flex -its or Jig N Shads, and the 95 Sebiles will give you some options that are size appropriate. Down sizing your line will be a plus allowing you to fish these smaller baits effectively and increasing casting distance.  

The bass bite has been pretty good, with many applicable baits and patterns. Top waters have been producing well, the type of bait varies with the weather, but the small Chug Bug and the Magic Swimmers have been consistent producers. The fish are locking in to smaller baits so the smaller Sebiles, 110 and 95’s may also be good choices to “match the hatch”, as is the 1/2 Flex it or Nichols Mojo Spoon.

Another good pattern is to fish small secondary points with a Weedless Wonder with either a finesse worm, trick worm or Senko, The fish may be anywhere from 10 to 20 feet deep, in cover of roaming around a clean bottom. While you are soaking the worm, watch for schooling fish to show up. If there is bait around chances are the fish will push the bait to the top so have a bait  ready to cast. Tim Hawkins from Hammonds recommends casting the 72 Duo Spybait to the schoolers. It is small enough to match up with the small Shad but weighs in at 1/2 oz., allowing that little bit of extra distance on the cast to reach the fish that like to appear about 10 feet further than you can cast. 

Casting subsurface baits over the brush is also a good tactic, a lightly weighted fluke and the Keitech 3.3 or 3.8 inch baits on a 1/4 head are very good choices for this pattern. After you have throughly worked the brush with the moving baits, cast a drop shot to the brush to get a couple of add on bites. Rig the drop shot with your favorite finesse worm or the Roboworm Alive Shad!

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-October 9, 2020

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Fishing has been pretty stable in the last few days, as have the weather and the lake conditions. After an elevated rain chance Sunday through next Monday the 12th, it looks like a return to another stretch of very pleasant weather. The lake level dropped .43 feet over the last week to 1070.80, .20 feet below full pool. The surface temps remained stable at 73. 

STRIPER FISHING

The Striper bite still revolves around the down lines with the fish continuing to cruise open water/channel areas in 35 to 60 feet. This has been the dominant pattern, almost like you would fish during the summer months. The fish are showing up all over the lake, with anglers using this basic pattern on the lower, middle and upper parts of the lake. Herring have been the dominant bait, but there are a few fish being taken on Gizzard Shad as well. Down lines are the best producers, but pitch lines are also accounting for some extra  bites. Fish are showing up in a variety of areas, over the channels, sometimes around the periphery of deeper humps and points, and there are some fish in the backs of the creeks.  Search these ares until you see fish, often  they are in some very big schools, but even just a few fish are worth sending a bait to, and often a few will turn into a bunch. Again, think summer on this technique.

There are a few surfacing fish showing up, mostly early, so keep that in mind. The Sebile Magic Swimmers are still a great choice to cast at the schoolers, but small bucks tails and walking baits are also good choices. You can also catch a few just casting the above mentioned baits to points and humps, again mostly early but not limited to the am. Wind and clouds will enhance this pattern as well. 

Trolling is also accounting for a few fish, mostly pulling the rigs over the humps, with a few fish being caught by anglers pulling lead core over the open water areas. Targeting the humps will work almost anywhere on the lake, but that pattern may be a little stronger in the middle part of the lake, and the fish seem to be slightly shallower when you get above Browns Bridge. So target humps and points 25 to 40 feet and hopefully you can define that depth range into a smaller number which will make you more efficient. Both methods can be good ways to locate fish and you can always switch over to the down lines once you locate a big groups

The Dock lights are starting to produce some pretty good numbers of fish if you are out early or late. Live baits on a pitch rod, Jerk baits, and small buck tails will all be effective on the nights. If you like to target the Stripers on the fly, the lights offer an excellent opportunity to take a fish on the fly rod  Lanier Fly Fishing Guide Henry Cowen suggest 3 to 5 inch Flies, either the Coyote or Cowen’s baitfish should be quick to get the bite. 

BASS FISHING

Bass fishing is pretty good, with several patterns producing well. The Sebile Magic Swimmers are still accounting for good numbers, you can cast them over the brush, to humps and wind blown points. Top waters and flukes would also be effective for this pattern. The small Chug Bugs have been doing well, especially on the slick, windless days, as is the Fluke. If you get a little help from the wind the larger Chug Bug or walking baits may draw a better response. Spybaits and Steelshads are good options if you need something surface to get the bite. 

The drop shot rig is still very reliable, and although it may not catch as many of the really big fish as some other baits it will consistently produce, it will catch plenty of very nice keepers and there will be the occasional big fish mixed in. Brush, points and humps are all good areas to target the fish with the drop shot. If you go into the middle part of the lake, and the bite is good in that section of the lake, secondary clay points are holding decent numbers of fish. Worms on the shakey, top waters, and Flukes are all good choices here, and this pattern will produce some pretty good numbers. 

Vertically Jigging Spoons is a secondary pattern, but may be worth a look, Dropping the spoons around brush, anomalies in the creek channels, or bait concentrations will get you a few extra bites, and having the spoon tied on is a plus if you have surfacing fish pop up within casting distance! 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-October 3, 2020

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Very seasonally appropriate temperatures accompanied the arrival of Fall, enough so that you probably broke out the hoodie last week, at least for that first boat ride! Similar weather looks to be in the trend until late in the week when our next cold front is forecast to approach raising the rain chance. The lake level on Saturday the 3rd was 1071.23, down .31 feet from last week but remaining over full pool by .23 feet. The surface temp was 71 degrees. 

October can often be a challenging month with the conditions that the turnover brings, but this year fishing has been pretty good throughout that process. The Striper bite has evolved into primarily a deepwater downline bite, with some secondary patterns to supplement that. The fish are also using the whole lake, so the playing field is larger than in was three or four weeks ago, with fish being taken from the dam to the upper ends of lake. So, load up a tank of Herring, start searching around major points/humps along the river channel river, on the river channel proper, or points and flats adjacent to the major creek channels. You may locate fish almost anywhere, but the middle part of the lake may be the most consistent. As a general guideline, the fish have been suspended from 35 to 50 feet over a 50 to 90 foot bottom. 

There is also a topwater/swim bait bite going on, I would consider this a secondary pattern, but it will produce some bites. This technique seems to be better when the weather if conducive, which means clouds, rain and wind be beneficial to this type of fishing. Sebile Magic Swimmer 125’s have been a favorite for this, but walking baits and poppers may also produce, with the bigger nosier baits being better in the wind. The schooling fish are hit and miss, probably more miss lately, but I would still keep a buck tail, Steelshad or spoon tied on and ready to cast. I think he surest way to up the odds of seeing surfacing fish is to not be prepared and ready to cast to them. 

Night fishing is producing some fish, with the traditional pattern of casting Bombers and jerk baits to sand saddles and points yielding some fish. The fish are also starting to congregate on the dock lights, with the dock lights probably being the better of these two options. However, casting the old faithful Bomber is producing and will probably get better as we move further into October. The fish on the lights will respond to a variety of baits, small buck tails, jerk baits, Sebiles and of course a pitch bait, so extending your day past dark may be with quite a few extra bites. 

Bass fishing has been good, but like the Stripers there are several patterns working and the fish are on a several patterns and using in a variety of depths. Top waters are catching some very nice fish, walking baits and poppers are both strong, and let the weather dictate which size and style of bait you choose. The Sebile Magic Swimmers in the 125 size have been a staple for the Bass fisherman, along with Chug Bugs, Zara Spooks, and the Flukes. 

We have a pretty good spoon bite going on, with fish responding to Jig N Shad’s, and Flex-It Spoons. There are really two patterns here: one is to find concentrations of Threadfin Shad on or near the bottom and a fish the spoon around the bait Schools. You can also drop the spoon around structures, tree lines, ditches, and deep brush piles. I think most of us have trained ourselves to think the spoons are only effective in very deep water, often fish as shallow as 18 to 25 feet will often respond to vertical jigging, so do not limit yourself to water that is 30 feet plus. This spoon bite will generally only get better as the water cools, so spending time with this pattern will be very worthwhile. 

With the water temps in the low 70’s there are also some shallow fish roaming the banks or holding on 5 to 15 foot structures, especially in the creek backs, and the middle and upper parts of the lake. Small secondary clay points have consistenly held fish, and the worm on a shakey has been the ticket here. Your favorite finesse worm and the Trick worms have been producing well. Other structures to try are blow downs and docks, the worm/shakey combos will be effective on these types of areas as well!   

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-September 25, 2020

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The first week of fall, which officially began Tuesday the 22nd at 9:31 am, brought in some cooler air temps which dropped the water temps down to 72 degrees. The surface temps were around 82 degrees two weeks ago so that is a significant drop in that time frame. Fishing conditions have changed accordingly, and fall patterns are in play. Lake levels dropped slightly from this time last week, .10 feet to a level of 1071.54, .54 feet over full pool. Our long term forecast indicates really nice weather for the weekend, followed by a rain chance Monday and Tuesday, then some very fall like temperatures for the remainder of the week. FYI, a couple of noteworthy events this week: Saturday the 26th is National Hunting and Fishing Day! Georgia residents will NOT need a license to fish on any public waters in the State! The October Full Moon occurs on Thursday the 1st, so their you go, I have provided you with two excellent excuses to get out on the lake! 

The Striper bite has been pretty good, with some ups and downs and the expected movement associated with the turnover. The patterns are varied, and the shallow water patterns have been much better with lowlight conditions and wind. The biggest change is probably the number of fish that are in deeper water, 40 to 60 feet down over a 60 to 80 foot bottom. Live Herring on the downline have been producing well on this pattern, with fish over open water or on points and around humps. 

The topwater bite is still producing fish, Redfins, walking baits, and Magic swimmers are all good choices. Many days this bite has been good mid day or late into the evening, with the surface activity generally being best the last couple hours of the day. If you are not seeing fish chasing bait on the surface, blind cast the topwater/swim bait to points and humps. Keep the boat in 30 feet and cast to the banks, the bite may occur anywhere from the bank to the boat, but I think most of the strikes will be over a 15 to 20 foot bottom. 

Trolling the umbrella rigs over 35 foot humps remains a viable pattern although not as strong as it was in recent weeks. The 3 oz. 9 bait 4 arm rigs seem to be the strongest on this pattern, either buck tails or swim bait rigs, and if you see fish on the crest of the high spot they will generally take the rig. This pattern has diminished in the last few days because the fish have not been on the high spots in the numbers that we saw during most of September, with more fish staying in the deeper water on the periphery of the high spots. This bite has been generally best In the afternoons and evenings. When you are trolling the humps and start seeing see fish around the humps, switch to the downlines, keying on any points that tail off of the high spots into the 60 to 80 foot water.  

Many of you have asked about the after dark Bomber bite, and I can’t really give you a good report as I have not been out to try yet. I tweet that bite sneak up on me this year, usually by now I have been out there several times if the weather is decent. It should be full on, water temp is almost perfect and with a full Moon bearing down on us Thursday, a little after hours fishing may be a very worthwhile endeavor! I’ll update accordingly next week!

Bass fishing is ok, a lot of movement and inconsistency, typical stuff we have to deal with during the turnover. The shallow patterns that really became energized when the remnants of Hurricane Sally passed over North Georgia will still be effective, and that type of cloudy, rainy windy weather seems to really influence those patterns. The topwater/swimbait bite may also may be very good mid day and in the evening, not limited to early am. So, use the run and gun method to maximize this bite, and it is effective on there main lake or in the creeks. 

While the previously mentioned pattern is the main focus of most fishermen, here are a couple of other options that are also producing pretty well. Clay points in the middle and upper parts of the lake are producing some good numbers of fish, a trick worm on a Weedless Wonder has been a consistent producer. The bite may occur anywhere from 5 to 20 feet, weather will again be a big factor on the depth of the fish. There are also some fish on wood that will respond to Flukes and Chatterbaits. This bite is all better in the middle part of the lake, or creek backs on the lower end. After Thursday’s rain we should have some stained water that you may be able to use to your advantage Don’t forget the docklights, if you are out prior to sunup or after dark. They are becoming more prolific with the onset of cooling water temps. Jerk baits, Flukes, and bucktails are all good choices to cast to fish roaming the lights!

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack