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Lake Lanier Fishing Report-September 11, 2020

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Lake and fishing conditions were mostly stable last week, however the lake level did fall slightly, 1070.90 as of Thursday evening,  that is .10 feet below full pool, and down .26 feet from last week at this time. This is the first time the lake has dropped below full pool since February 1st of this year! The surface temp was 81 degrees. Next week’s extended forecast calls for more seasonally appropriate weather, and we should see low temps in the 60’s and highs in the low 80’s, good fishing weather!

The Striper Bite has been similar to last week, with last week’s patterns still in play and a couple of new ones that are in the picture now that we are moving into fall. The umbrella bite is still very good, pulling the full size rigs over main lake humps, or contour trolling over ridges and along the bank has been a consistent producer. The only changes I see in this pattern is the depth, the fish are using a greater depth range with more fish holding on the humps  from 25 feet down to a 45 foot bottom.  You may need to fish the rig a little further behind the boat, 140 to 150 feet  as opposed to 110 to 120. I also found that RPM changes or kicking the boat out of gear and dropping the rig into the fish would get a few extra bites. Fishing rigs with underspins may be a plus, or adding a couple of underspin jigs the existing rig may also be worth a few extra bites. This bite will work all day, but I think is strongest from mid morning on. 

The other method that is consistent is fishing live baits in the pockets, with the fish pushing back into water as shallow as 35 feet. Live bait has been the big producer here, and a jigging spoon may be a good compliment to the live baits, bringing in a couple of bonus bites from Striper and Spotted Bass. This pattern may also work all day, but I think is best from sunup until 9:30 or so, which fits in nicely with the above mentioned trolling pattern. 

Some other techniques that you may want to consider are fishing dock lights after sunset or before sunup, and be prepared for the schooling fish which are showing up more frequently. The schooling fish are still very random, may show up anywhere or anytime, but I think the afternoon or evening offers the best opportunity. A Mini Mack or Magic Swimmer will be hard to beat for casting to the schoolers, but spoons, top waters, and buck tails will also get the bite if you can get the bait to them before they sound. There are enough fish on the humps and points that will take a topwater even when you don’t see them chasing bait. A big walking bait, Magic Swimmer or popper cast over humps and points will pull a few fish up to the surface. The dock lights are starting to produce some decent numbers, mostly smaller fish but the big ones will not be far behind as the water cools. Jerk baits, buck tails and live Herring will be the baits of choice for the lights. On the shallower lights, the Herring may not survive well on the pitch line so change them out often. 

The bass bite is pretty typical for this time of year, you may have to work for your bites, and the good news is the topwater bite has been somewhat energized in the last few days. In the early part of the day you can catch fish casting the top waters to shallow structures such as secondary points, shallow brush, and shallow humps. After the am bite is over, fishing the brush is still a great technique. Several baits are effective for this pattern and vary from day to day so make adjustments based on wind and the amount of sunshine. Walking baits and Chug bugs have been strong if you get a little help from the wind, Magic Swimmers, Spy Baits if the conditions are calm. This pattern is a numbers game, so think run and gun to make this work. Of course the drop shot is still a solid producer, an if the water is slick back the boat off of the brush and cast the drop shot as opposed to fishing it with a vertical presentation. 

There are a few Bass showing up on the dock lights, this pattern is ok and should improve with cooling water temps. Jerk baits and Flukes are likely choices to cast at the lights.  Another pattern that may not get you big numbers but may produce some really nice fish is casting to the marina seawalls. The bait of choice on the seawalls can be very varied, but top waters, flutter spoons, Spybaits, and jerk baits can all be effective. Like fishing the brush, the wind can often really enhance this bite, bigger more aggressive baits in the wind, smaller subsurface baits if the water is slick. 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-August 28, 2020

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Things are changing quickly, both from a weather and a fishing standpoint. The lake surface temp is 82 degrees, which is about 6 degrees cooler than the norm for this date.  The lake level dropped slightly this week to a current level of 1071.15, .15 feet above full pool. The fishing conditions are also changing, and the patterns and techniques are taking on characteristics that would be more typical of late Sept. With fish moving and scattering out, versatility will be a big plus for Bass and Stripers! We will have the September Full Moon on the 1st, occurring just after sunset. 

The Striper bite has changed dramatically in the last few days, with fewer fish in deep water, and fewer fish roaming over deep water areas. There are good numbers of fish setting up on the humps and points around 35 feet deep, but they have been finicky on some days and hard to catch. The fish are acting like they do when the lake begins the turnover process, and although that usually begins in September, we may be seeing an early turnover this year? With all that in mind, here are some patterns to try. Many of there fish are over a 35 to 40 foot bottom,  on points, humps on flats. A live Herring on the down rod is a good choice for this pattern, and a mix of free lines and down lines will be your best bet. Drumming may be a plus to pull them and keep them under the boat, and down sizing your line size may also be a big plus. The Herring that are available in local shops have been good baits lately, but you will still need to check them often and keep good baits on the hook to maximize the bite. 

Trolling is till a very relevant pattern, single jigs and Mini’s on the lead core and/or down riggers,  or flat lining the full size umbrellas over a 30 to 40 foot bottom targeting humps, points, or contour trolling.  There are still a few fish roaming over open water areas, especially where bait is present, not the numbers we have seen in recent weeks but enough get hooked up now and then, and if you are diligent this is a constant pattern. Just keep moving until you get get n an area where you are markup fish, tweak the depth, and you should get a few fish hooked up. Jigs spoons, and Minis are still the preferred bait, 8 colors behind the boat (about 275 feet out counting the leader if you are using the line counter)has been constantly producing fish, but the depth is very subject to change with the fish moving like they are. 

The third pattern technique to watch is schooling fish. While this has been sporadic, there are some schoolers showing up, very randomly, but it is frequent enough that you need to be prepared. What is the best bait to cast to them? Sebile Magic Swimmers, Mini Macks, and buck tails are all good choices for the surfacing fish. 

The Bass bite has been fair, with the fish starting to really scatter out. The 20 to 30 foot brush is probably the best overall pattern and will be effective all over the lake. The recent weather patterns that have brought cooler water temps and frequent cloud cover have somewhat energized the topwater bite, especially with there is wind to help it out. Walking baits and poppers may coerce some fish out of the brush, follow that up with something sub surface, Flukes and Spy baits will be good choices. In terms of numbers, the worm and drop shot/Weedless Wonder combos are still the best overall producer.  

Deeper structures are also producing some fish, bluff areas where the channel swings up against the bank, timber edges, and deeper humps, with the humps being a fairly consistent pattern.  Fishing the deeper humps may not catch you a bunch of fish, partially because it is slow and tedious when you are fishing big structures that are deep. Many of these humps have a pretty big surface area that can hold fish and it takes a while to saturate these types of areas with worms and jigs . Try and locate any anomaly like a flat or point coming off of the high spot, or any other type of structure. Brush is always a good, but may or may not be present on humps deeper than 35 feet. If there is no brush, look for natural cover. Small rock outcroppings, a ledge, or just a couple of stumps, will often be enough cover to be a home for a few Spotted Bass! 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-August 14, 2020

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The Dog Days of August generally mean good Striper fishing, albeit very hot and humid, but the bite is often strong. Bass fishing maybe not so much, as many of the Spotted Bass suspend over open water roaming around bait balls making them hard to target. At any rate, summer is surely winding down as the days grow noticeable shorter, with sunrise occurring on the 13th at 700 am, and sunset at 8:23 pm, and the day length is decreasing by almost two minutes a day. That is nice for the fishermen, as the later sunrise and subsequent daybreak start time allows for a few extra minutes of sleep!  The lake level rose slightly last week and remains above full pool, with a current level of 1071.37 .37 feet over full pool. The surface temp is 86 degrees.

The Striper fishing is good, perhaps a little more finicky than in past weeks, but overall good. The fish are largely where you would expect them to be on this date, and seasonal expected techniques are in play. The down lines are producing well, with fish being caught anywhere from 30 to 90 feet, depending on the pattern and the location. We still have fish pushing into some of the pockets and drains, especially in the early part of the day. Any of the major lower end creeks are holding fish, and there are also some decent numbers of fish roaming over the river channel. Concentrate your search for fish by scanning the old creek channels, particularly bends in the channel, and any of the drains and pockets adjacent to the channel. If you are out over the river channel, you may locate fish anywhere, but searching the channel bends and areas where a creek channel dumps into the old river run is a good place to start. 

The patterns are very typical for this time of year, with Herring on the down lines, trolling umbrellas and lead core line all being very effective. Power reeling is also a viable technique when you get the fish bunched up under the boat. On the down lines, you may find a very slow troll to be more effective than a stationary presentation. Just deploy the down lines and start pulling the baits slowly, about .04 mph. If you have a couple freelines out, and that is a very good choice right now, adding a split or two on this moving approach will be beneficial. If you are spot locked just pitch the Herring about 50 feet and let him swim.  As you change and or check the bait on the down lines, try dropping and reeling the baits as discussed in the last report, this may be worth a few extra bites. 

The trolling bite has been very good, and there are a big variety of methods and baits to choose from. The full size umbrellas are producing well, the 4 arm 9 bait rig with shad bodies or buck tails are catching plenty of fish. Pull this rig around 120 to 150 feet behind the boat if you are using mono, 100 to 120 if you are pulling the braid. Lead core trolling is very good, Chipmunk Jigs, Parker Spoons, Hawg Spoon Fat Spoons, and Mini Mack’s are all very productive. Start out at 8 colors, and adjust accordingly. If I had to pick a trolling speed I would choose 2.8, but I have caught fish going as fast as 5. mph. I think that speed has a big effect on the depth of the bait, so if your outboard does not want to idle down under 3. or 3.5 mph, compensate for the extra speed by fishing a little deeper. 

Bass fishing is pretty good, and no surprise here, a drop shot in the brush is probably the best pattern. The fish are loaded up in the brush around 25 feet, The numbers are good on this pattern, the really big fish may not be as plentiful as you would like, but there are a few big fish holding in and around the brush. Some favorites on the Roboworms have been Prizm Shad, Aaron’s Pro Shad, Sxe Shad if the sun is bright, Green Shiner, Northern Lights and any of the Morning Dawn patterns if you have a little cloud cover or if you are fish deep water.  Shakey heads and the old school Texas rigs are also effective in the brush. 

Some of the deeper natural Structures are also holding fish, with some bigger fish showing up in 30 to 40 feet. Standing Timber edges, Road beds and main lake humps are likely areas to try, but these areas may not be as plentiful as lake levels remain high into the summer.  Worms are probably the best option on the deeper areas, but spoons and jigs may also be effective, especially if you are chasing the bigger fish. Vertically Jigging a spoon may also be worth a try, most of us tend to think of spoons as cold water baits, but spoons can be a good choice any time the fish are in deep water. The spoon can be a great follow up to the worms and jigs, and is also a good bait to cast at some of the surfacing fish that are showing up within casting range! 

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report August 6, 2020

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Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for August 07, 2020

So I’ve proved it once again, Lake Hartwell is good medicine and even on a tough day the lake can put some pick me up in your steps. This past week I was invited to my son’s camp site at Watsadlers camp ground just in site of the Lake Hartwell dam for a cook out and some rest and relaxation. What a chill pill for this old fisherman who is off limits to a boat right now but able to sit down at a picnic table with the smell of hamburgers cooking close by and the lapping of Lake Hartwell water on the bank just feet away from me, well how do you describe blessed in a few words? I just did! From my view point I would guess that the evening bite is still good as I saw a lot of fishing boats running and gunning before the sun started to set. August is a great time to catch fish on Lake Hartwell especially during the late afternoon or early evening and you never know when you are going to find a school of fish that are schooled up and feeding aggressively. Keep in mind that the late afternoon bite is always a good time to get out and try many of the things you learned in one of your Lake Hartwell Instructional Trips earlier in the year. This week I will begin sharing some information that you will need to get you through the next couple of months of HOT weather and you already know that you are free to call me at any time. The information that I will be providing will be first-hand information provided to me from several of the best fishermen on Lake Hartwell as well as information from my personal log book that I don’t normally share. Please continue to pray for my recovery so that I can return to the lake soon. So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Finds Them, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Holds Them, Captain Mack Products Fools Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

   

The Lake Hartwell bite has remained good with the water conditions remaining favorable for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 659.82 which are.0.18 feet below the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperature is into the high- eighties and has been holding at these temperatures over the hot days we have experienced this week. The Army Corp of Engineers will continue with their normal summertime generating schedules now that the summer demands are in full swing. The Striper and Hybrid bite continues to be the best through the week when the dam is generating power. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell has been good but it still has been an early morning and late evening bite. My log book shows that last year and in past years that I have always caught fish by fishing a clean bottom very close to the main river channels in sixty to eighty feet of water within a mile or two of the dam. When you locate one of these places some light drumming will help get the bite started so don’t forget your drumming skills. This works good in the morning as well as in the evenings. I always have found that this is the best time to Power Reel a Chipmunk Jig when you get the fish ganged up under the boat. When the live bait bite slows down as the sun gets high in the sky and the fish move to deeper waters and in many cases the bigger fish you came out to catch head for the river channels then you’re in luck if you have your Umbrella Rigs in the boat. I personally have talked with several good Striper and Hybrid fishermen who are catching most of their fish before daybreak and the rest are being found and caught suspending and trolling Umbrella rigs over these fish. While trolling if you mark a large school of fish in the river channel suspended be sure to throw out a marker and go back and Power Reel these fish also and you may just catch the bigger ones out of these schools. The late afternoon is productive and I know that there are several Striper and Hybrid fishermen fishing under sodium vapor lights in the river channel right in front of the dam. I don’t fish after dark in the evening but years ago I caught my share and had a bunch of fun night fishing on anchor waiting on the bait and the fish to come to me. Now is still a good time of the year to climb into a boat that teaches all the different method’s that you can use to locate fish and catch Stripers and Hybrids while learning all the seasonal patterns that Stripers and Hybrids follow as well as the best ways to catch these fish during these different seasons. Now there are only a couple of professional Striper fishermen that will share everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids but if you get a chance to get into a teaching boat, book and take that trip. This could be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. If you are interested in booking an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait. Be sure to add ice and O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip.
  • This has been my first week to pair up the Okuma Live Bait Rods with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels. What a great match, this rod and reel combo is the perfect Striper and Hybrid combo and it is unmatched in its ability to handle a good fish while giving you all you need to enjoy the fight. This rod and reel combo is the perfect tool and I would give this rod and reel an A++ for Striper Live Bait Fishing.
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait during the summer months. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition during a hot day and increase your odds of catching fish.
  • SteelShads are still working great for schooling or breaking fish. This bait will catch all Bass species when cast to points or fished in deep or shallow waters.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will not go to the lake without them! 
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. 
  • Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards will return later in the fall so now is a good time to get your Planer Boards ready for the upcoming fall fishing patterns.
  • Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling or while pulling lead core line. It’s time to stock up as Power Reeling and lead core pulling has now taken off. I suggest the 2oz with or without stinger hooks rigged on a Captain Mack Mustard Stick Rod. You will not find another rod that will work better for Power Reeling, pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs or while pulling lead core line.
  • Parker and Hawg Spoons also used to Power Reel. This bite will only get better as the bigger fish move into deeper water.

BASS

The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass bite continues to be good based on a few reports that I’m getting from those weekend Bass Club Teams. My grandsons camped near the dam this past week and caught several fish from their kayaks fishing close to the banks using SteelShads and Weedless Wonders and Robo worms. As soon as I’m released back to Lake Hartwell I will give you an accurate report. Go to baits for this week.

  • SteelShad in all sizes and colors are working great. The mini SteelShad is working the best on points in the mornings when the bait is shallow. The Heavy Series is working over schools of bait in the main lake. Be prepared to throw this bait at schooling fish for a guaranteed hook up.
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s with or without blades, both work great. This bait is catching some hogs while being fished off of deeper points or around bridges and docks.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits as well.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head in Green Pumpkin. Use the plastic of your choice. This is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder Shakey Head!

CRAPPIE

  I will be back later in the year with an updated Lake Hartwell Crappie Report when it cools off and I start back Crappie fishing. 

Go to Baits.

Lake Lanier Fishing Report July 25, 2020

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The last week of July finds Lake Lanier Striper Fishing on Fire! It we had not had so many work delays from C19 I would issue a stop work order! Fishing has to be really good before those get issued, if that tells you anything! All traditional summer techniques are productive so get out on the water and fish! Bass fishing is also good, so if you are after Spotted bass, they are also very accommodating and you need to make time to fish! The lake level is very good for the end of July, 1071.22, .22 feet above full pool! The water temperature is 88, which is right where it should be on this date.  More ‘Dog Days” weather on the way with a good chance of afternoon thundershowers as we go into next week, so keep the rain slicker handy!

The Striper bite has been excellent! Live Herring on the downlines have been producing very well, power reeling bite has also been effective, and the trolling bite has been outstanding! Once you find fish and decide to drop the baits, use a combination of downlines, a pitch bait, and power reeling. On the pitch bait, fish this with a small split shot, cast it out and let it fall back to the boat on a tight line. This technique seems to be working well most days and can be worth quite a few bonus bites. As has been the case in the past few weeks, you will need to pay close attention to the Herring, this warm water is taking a toll on them and you need to check them frequently. 

Power reeling has been very good, with spoons, Herring(use the Herring either on the drop shot or for tipping the jig)and jigs both producing well. Which is the better option varies from day to day so experiment with that until you tweak the bite. You can tip the jig with a Herring or a soft plastic, with both the 6” grubs and 4” Shad bodies being good choices for the trailer. If you choose the 4” inch Shad body, try trimming the bottom of the shad body with a pair of scissors or shears. This decreases drag on the bait and it also allows the bait to swim more freely. 

The trolling bite has been excellent, Umbrellas, Mini Macks, Chipmunk Jigs, and spoons are all effective, and you can pull them on Lead core, downriggers, or in the case of the full size Umbrellas, just flat line them on braid or Mono. There are many options and effective combinations to choose from with the trolling techniques, but here are some good basics to get you started. On the lead core, pull the Mini Macks, 1 oz Chipmunks and Hawg Fat spoons about 275 feet behind the boat if you are using the counter, or 8 colors if you are counting colors. If you are using the downriver, try any of the above 40 feet behind the downrigger ball, ball at 25 to 30 feet. On the full size umbrellas, 140 feet behind the boat has been working well(thats with Mono, adjust accordingly if you are using braid).  

Bass fishing is very good, and the fish are piled up in 25 foot brush, pretty much right where you would expect be at this time of year. Targeting brush on main lake humps or points are always a good choice, and this pattern can be best during water generation. Some of the natural structures, roadbeds and deeper humps are also holding a few fish. A topwater will pull some of these fish out of the brush, a Chug Bug has been very effective, along with the walking baits. The Spybait, Steelshad, and a weighted Fluke are also very good choices to cast over the brush. Of course the finesse worms on the drop shot or shakey have been big producers, some favorite colors on the Roboworm have been Morning Dawn(any of the Morning Dawn patterns seem to be working well), Aarons Magic. Halogram Dawn, and Northern Lights. 

There are also quite a few Spotted Bass over deep water cruising around the open water bait schools. These fish are really hard to target, at least until they surface. They will push bait to the surface, with the greatest activity in the am, and are quick to bite if you can get a bait to them quickly. I have caught several nice bass casting the Hawg Jr. Spoon to them, so keep something ready to cast when the opportunity arises!

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack