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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 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-September 23, 2020

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Welcome to fall, it did not sneak up on us this year as the air temperatures dropped and if you caught yourself on the lake this past weekend wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt you most likely were seen talking to yourself about the chill that kept running up your backbone. This past Saturday was a special day for me because I got to see my boat pull out of the driveway just before daylight on its way to the lake. The only thing missing was I was not going to be in it but one of my very best friends in this world Lester Hughes who I met during an Instructional Trip last year was kind enough to come get my boat my fishing gear and best of all my three grandsons and take them fishing. Now I know what some of you may be thinking, you let someone else take everything that means the world to you fishing and in your own boat, you bet I did and I’ll do it again. If you have ever talked with me on the water or tried to schedule an Instructional Trip you know by now that every other weekend no matter what the situation I take my three grandsons fishing and let me tell you these boys can fish. Now that the doctor has me off the lake until I completely heal I’ve had to watch them come over every other weekend with all their gear and walk down to the dock and spend their day fishing one area and they usually catch fish and even if they don’t they never give up. So to see the look on their faces when I told them that Lester was going to take them fishing in my boat this past Saturday was worth everything to me. Now the boys love to hook up with a Striper or Hybrid and I usually can make that happen without a problem but Lester is an old Bass Tournament fisherman and he knows how to catch fish so the boys got the opportunity to fish for Stripers and a bunch of green fish all in the same day and that was like winning the lottery to them. They had a great day and boated some good Spots as they learned some things as they picked their guides brain. I can tell you this they had a blast caught a good bunch of green fish and will be ready to go again whenever Lester decides to take them again. My boat had been sitting long enough and it needed running and it needed some fish hooked up and flopping on the deck. I’m getting better and it should not be long before I will be fishing again! Late fall or early winter is the target date, with or without my doc’s permission. A Special thanks to Lester for thinking enough about me to take my boat to the lake and let my grandsons tag along for a fun day of fishing. A person with friends can call their selves BLESSED and I’m truly blessed! So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool into biting while Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell bite has remained fair with the water conditions beginning to change quickly for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 660.46 which are.0.46 feet above the 660 full pool levels with very heavy rain from this past week. This same time last year the lake was two feet below full pool. The current water temperature is into the high seventies and will begin to drop quickly if we continue to get these cool evenings. There have been some storms over Lake Hartwell over the last week that dropped as much as five inches of rain that’s still running in from all the creeks and rivers that feed the lake. As soon as the lake makes a complete turn over you will see a huge difference in the fishing.


Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell still remains as tough as I’ve ever seen or heard in all my years of fishing for Stripers or Hybrids. Just as a follow up to what I hear and know about what’s happening on the lake is this past weekend there was a Striper Tournament on the lake and not one single Striper or Hybrid was caught! Now there were not that many folks Striper fishing but the ones that where on the water are some of the best on the lake. So what’s up, first of all let me tell you that the lake is not empty of Stripers and Hybrids. The Biologist I talked with last week said when they shock fish up on Hartwell they have no problems finding numbers of Stripers and Hybrids. So let me tell you that how I explain it best to my grandkids the best I know how. I believe that the lake has been way to full all year, so hear me out. At the end of the day we know that when we leave the dock we will never cover the nearly one thousand miles of shoreline that Hartwell offers. Now let’s break it down in how hard it can be to catch fish when the lake is full. I have a big bait tank in the front of my boat and when the day of fishing is over with I usually ask one of my grandsons to catch the bait out of the tank and cast them back into the lake. Now if there’s a bunch of bait left the first dozen are not hard to catch but wait until you get down to five or six. It’s then that the bait tank seems like it has one thousand miles of shoreline and when it gets to catching the last one or two it feels like you’re trying to catch them out of the ocean. Now let’s talk about making things easier, pump the water level down in the tank and the lower it gets the easier it is to catch the bait so now when I ask one of the boys to empty the bait tank they have found that they lower the water level first by pumping some water out and then they have no problem catching the left over bait. So let’s put it into perspective, when the Lake Hartwell water levels fall below full pool the Striper fishing is always better and when the Striper fishing gets better it doesn’t take long for the word to get out the when, where and how to catch them. Fall is now here and that is a good thing because the fish will move into smaller areas where the fish will be easier to catch when they move back into the upper lake as it gets cooler and cooler. I’ve been kidding a bunch of folks that the fish are just waiting for me to get back on the water, I promise you there’s no truth in that but by the time I’m able to hit the water again the fish will be just where I want them to be and they will be much easier to catch. So with the fish that we know that are already in the lake and and the numbers of fish stocked over the last two years, it’s going to get better and better very soon! Let me assure you that I know personally that even though that there are not as many Stripers and Hybrids in the lake as what we saw many years ago, there are still a big number of fish in the lake and if you do your homework you will find them and catch them. We teach everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids so 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.
  • Captain Mack Chipmunk Jigs and Trailers in all colors available.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • SteelShad 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 – Great for Stealth trolling, flat line trolling, trolled on the Perfect Planer Boards or casting to surfacing fish!
  • Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite is cranking up and will only improve with cooling water temps. Get your Planer Boards ready for the upcoming fall fishing patterns.


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. The BassMaster Opens will be fished this week on Lake Hartwell September 23rd – 25th for the Eastern Open.  My grandsons are still catching resident Bass fishing from the dock using SteelShads and Weedless Wonders and Robo worms, The Weedless Wonder and the Robo worm seem to get the best bite. 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 rigged with a Bold Bluegill Robo Worm. 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!


  I will be back later in the year with an updated Lake Hartwell Crappie Report when it cools off into the sixties and I start back Crappie fishing. I will be building and sinking a bunch of new Crappie Condo’s this year so I’m getting ready. I’m already starting to hear some good reports! 

Go to Baits.

  • Blue Ice Jigs seem to be the go to color on Lake Hartwell right now. You may want to move up to bigger jig heads as the fish move deeper. When every other color fails on Lake Hartwell we find that chartreuse still will catch fish. Bobby Garland is my choice but many other brands also work great.
  • Small Minnows under floats. This may not be your cup of tea but it still works and the bigger Crappie will take live bait when they won’t take anything else.
  • Chartreuse and white jigs are working well when blue ice or blue grass colors fail. 
  • Custom Jigs are working if you can find the right ones. It’s still a good idea to see what is selling the best at your local bait shops. If the bait shop is out of certain bait you may want to see when they are scheduled to get their next shipment so that you can give it a try.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graph. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie.

Wishing you all tight lines and good fishing! Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide (Ret.) Certified SCDNR Fishing Instructor

To book your next Lake Hartwell fishing adventure please call Captain Mack Farr at – 770-235-8135

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-September 3, 2020

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Happy Labor Day weekend to all! Many questions about the annual Fall turnover, and has it started? I think yes, we have started the turnover process and fishing has reflected that. The Surface temps rose a couple degrees this week, up to 84. The lake level rained stable and was 1071.16,  Thursday evening, .16 feet above full pool. The long term forecast says if you can hang on through the weekend we’ll get a little cool down next week as high temps will be in the mid 80’s as opposed to the 90 degree weather we have experienced during much of August. 

Although the Striper bite changed drastically in the last few days, there are still a couple patterns that are very productive. A good game plan is to look for fish up in the pockets, as shallow as 30 feet, in the early morning, Then grab the umbrellas and start pulling over 25 to 30 foot points and humps for the remainder of the day, keeping watch for any surfacing fish you may run into.  The fish in the pockets will respond to a live bait, Herring on the down line or the pitch line, and I think the pitch bait is the better option. You’ll still need to change out the baits often, so keep them fresh to maximize the bite! 

The trolling technique i mentioned in the previous paragraph has been a very strong pattern in the last few days. This technique requires a great deal more effort and attention to detail than the open water trolling we experience during the Summer months. The primary pattern now is to pull the rig over 25 to 35 foot humps, the fish are piling up on these areas, often in big groups, and have been pretty quick to take the rig! The problem with this pattern is often the fish will be in really tight schools, right on the crest of the hill, but that makes for a small strike zone. Think in terms of a school of fish locked onto to the top of a hump, or a brush pile in an area the size of your boat. If you don’t get the rigs in that area you probably will not get the bite. Another point that is relevant to this technique is that the fish often leave after you catch one or two. Once you pull over the hump and get hooked up, you will often pull the whole group of fish off of the hump or point which means you can’t just keep circling over the same place over and over and continually catching fish. Generally, if you catch fish on a place, leave it alone and the fish will often return in 45 minutes to an hour, then you can return and catch a couple more.  

There is a lot of schooling activity, and I think we can break this down into two different patterns. In the early am, there are surfacing fish everywhere, but mostly single fish, or small groups of fish, that appear very randomly, and are up and down very quickly. They are hard to target, but if you can get a bait to them quickly they are catchable.  Flex-it Spoons are a good choice to cast at these fish, cast it slightly past the fish and if they are still on the surface, reel the spoon across the top of the eater. If the fish are no longer on the surface, reel it up to where you last saw the activity, and then allow the spoon to sink on a tight line. Having the spoon tied on is also plus because you can drop it to any deep fish you see while soaking the Herring. Vertically jigging the spoon should get you a couple of bonus bites from Stripers, Spots and an occasional Channel Catfish. 

The second pattern is casting to the big schools of fish that are starting to show up more  frequently. These fish are much easier to catch, I would pick the Mini Mack as the Number one bait of choice, but top waters, spoons, Steelshads and Flukes will also get the bite. The schoolers may show up anywhere, at anytime, and the activity is probably best in the afternoon and evening hours. This pattern may improve, or at least you should expect to see more surfacing fish, as the water cools more towards the middle of the month. 

The Bass have certainly been moving with the advent of the changing water conditions, so versatility is key. There are fish all over 25 foot humps and points, and those areas with a nice pile of brush will be a plus. Finding fish on those areas has been easy, catching them…well that  will vary from day to day. A topwater remains a viable choice, wind and lowlight may make this pattern a little stronger, and your favorite walking bait may get the attention of the bigger fish. Jigs around some of the humps and the brush may not produce the numbers that the drop shot will, but like the top waters it may catch the bigger fish. Spybaits, jerk baits and casting Spoons are also good choices. 25 feet seems to be a really good number right now, with a few fish deeper, but the numbers decrease as you get into 35 to 40 feet. 

Like the Stripers, there are plenty of bass pushing bait to the surface. They are catchable if you can get to them, and make a really good cast when you do. Often these fish are so focused on one bait, or one school of bait that it is hard to get the fish to lock in on what is tied to your line. As a general rule, if you can make the bait land in the rings the fish made when it surfaced, you have a good shot at getting the bite, outside that ring, good luck. 

Don’t rule out night fishing as an option right now. Fishing around the lights has been producing some good catches, and fishing the humps at night can also be produce well. Humps from 12 to 20 feet are a good place to target, and a worm on the shakey or a Texas Rig can be very effective. If nothing else it is a good way to beat the heat and the expected Labor day Crowds! 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report- July 31, 2020

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Lake conditions remain consistent, with the level, falling slightly from last week to a level of 1071.14, .14 feet above full pool. The lake surface temp is in the upper 80’s. The weather has remaining consistent, consistently hot and humid, with more of the same in the forecast. The bite has also been consistent, especially for the Striper Anglers, with the Bass fishermen also reporting good catches, particularly given that we are into what can often be a less than prime time to target Spotted Bass!

It’s hard to choose a “best “ technique for the line sides, with all of the traditional Summer patterns working well. I think maybe the trolling bite is the best pattern, mainly because the bait can be difficult to keep alive in places, jigs, spoons and Mini’s eliminate that issue. That being said, the bait bite is still very good, you’ll just need to take care of the Herring, both in the tank and on the hook. Drop them quickly, check them frequently. Last week there were certain areas and depths were the bait really struggled, often a common issue in August , so be aware of that condition.  Moving the down lines, either by stealth trolling at around .5 mph, or moving the bait up and down as the rod is in the holder. You may want to try dropping the bait below the fish and then slowly reeling up through the fish, basically it’s powered reeling in slow motion, and it can often trigger a bite. Keeping a bait on a light spinning rod, add a couple of splits, will also trigger a few extra bites. 

Trolling has been excellent, with lead core, downriggers, and flatline trolling the full size umbrellas producing very good catches. If you are using the full size umbrellas (both the 9 bait buck tail and shad rigs are effective), 1 20 to 140 feet behind the boat has been a good number, but fishing the rig that far behind the boat will cause you to sacrifice some control.  It is also hard to use rigs in conjunction with the lead core with the rigs that far out, they are more prone to cross up with the lead core rigs. To remedy that issue, add a couple of larger jigs to the umbrellas. Every time you add an ounce of weight to the rig, you add two feet of depth to the chart. For instance, Adding a couple of two oz jigs will add 4 feet to

the depth chart, adding 4  2 oz. jigs will add about 8 feet to the chart, allowing you to fish the rig much closer to the boat. This will also increase the distance between the baits on the lead core and the rigs, greatly decreasing the odds of the umbrella fowling one of the lead core lines.


Power reeling is also very strong, jigs and spoons will get the bite , and I think on some of my more recent trips the 2oz. Chipmunk Jig was the better producer. Tip the Chipmunk with a Herring, or a plastic shad body. The 4” Capt Macks Shad bodies in pearl and lime/chart have been effective trailers, as had been the DOA 4” CAL bait in the chart glow pattern . 

The Bass bite is also good, particularly for numbers as the fish are all over 25 to 30 foot brush. Worms on the Drop Shot are the big producer, shakey’s get the bite as well. Most of your favorite finesse worms will be effective, and the Roboworms in any of the morning dawn color patterns have been strong, along with Aaron’s Magic, Prizm Kraw , and Watermelon Magic. The Roboworm Alive Shad’s have also been producing well on the drop shot. Casting a walking bait, weighted Fluke or Spybait over the brush may call a few of the bigger fish up in low light or windy conditions .

While the 25 to 30 foot brush is producing the numbers , some of the bigger fish are showing up on the deeper humps and timber edges. Target those types of structures in 35 to 40 feet, the timber edges are difficult to find in any less water with the lake level staying slightly over full pool all summer. A single standing tree is also a really good structure to fish right now if you know of any, they will generally be in 30 feet or greater depths, but the top of the tree may be much shallower giving the fish an opportunity to suspend at the top or along the trunk of the tree depending on the depth. Approach the tree like you would s brush pile, casting a moving bait over the top and follow that up with worm on the drop shot!

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

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