The cooler weather that arrived with the beginning of the month dropped Lanier surface temps to 59 degrees. The lake level rose slightly to 1070.33, up .014 feet from Friday a week ago. Last week’s cooler weather and falling water temps did not seem to faze the fish as the bite remains strong with little or no change to the patterns from last week. The long term weather forecast looks to be good with no more rain projected through the week and temps being near seasonal norms.
Not much change to report with the Striper bite, with the exception of adding Trout into the bait mix. Most of the bait stores are keeping Rainbows in stock and the fish have responded well taking the Trout on down lines, free lines, or behind the planer boards. Herring and Gizzard Shad are also producing well with the same above mentioned techniques, and keeping a Herring on a weighted free line is a big plus. Look for the fish to be holding up in creeks, and drains from 15 down to 40 feet, over a 25 to 50 foot bottom. Bait can be the key to this pattern, and finding big schools of bait layered up on the bottom will get the attention of the Stripers. Even if you mark the bait and do not see fish, set up the down lines and fish the area for the 15 to 30 minutes. If you do not mark or catch fish move on to another area. Moving over these areas, slowly, as opposed to fishing on spot lock pattern may improve your odds of locating the fish. This is a slow troll, .5 to .8 mph is a good speed, you can always activate the Spot Lock when you get the fish under the boat, This pattern has application all over the lake, with the general consensus that the better numbers are in the middle or upper parts of either river.
Trolling is also a very viable technique, pulling the big umbrellas over these same bait schools has been accounting for some good catches. Either the full size umbrellas, or the Mini Mack’s have been producing well. On the Mini Mack’s, you can Stealth troll them on the electric or pull them with the big motor. If you choose to use the big motor, you may find pulling the Mini’s on lead core to be very effective. I know that trolling lead core is considered a summer technique, but the objective of lead core is to get the bait deeper and control the depth, which may have application at any point in the year. Treat the Mini like a 2 oz jig, which will fish 4 to 5 feet deep for each color of lead core in the water.
The Bass bite is good and the ditches and drains are loaded up. I did not catch as many big fish as I would expect for this technique during this time of year but the numbers were very good. The depth varies quite a bit here, and bait is very important to this pattern. So basically find a ditch or drain with bait and the fish will be there. Roboworms on the Weedless Wonder have been producing well, as have spoons, Fish Head Spin/Keitech combos, and the Hula Grub on the Booger Heads. Don’t worry about seeing the fish on the sonar when you approach the ditch. They may be tucked away under an outcropping or ledge, or just really tight to the bottom. Once you start fishing they if they are there you see them start to move around, usually right after you drop them a bait.
Docks are still holding good numbers of fish, and I think this pattern may be best in the middle or upper parts of the lake, at least for numbers. Worms will be the staple for this pattern, but a jig is always a good option as well. 15 to 25 feet still seems to be a good number to target when pounding the docks, but they will change depths based on the weather on any given day.
Rocks are also holding fish, and many baits can be effective on this pattern as well. Crankbaits are always a good choice, and the Spro Rock Crawler is a good option as of late. If the fish are sluggish and will not respond to a crank bait or other moving bait, try a worm on the shakey or a jig. Slowing down your retrieve, with frequent pauses may get help get more bites! Larger profile plastics like the Roboworm Fat Worms or trick Worms may also be a plus!