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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 Lanier Fishing Report-September 18, 2020

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Last week I stated that the lake level dropped below full pool for the fist time since February 1st of this year. Well, that did not last long as the remnants of Hurricane Sally brought a big rain dump that raised the lake level back over full to 1071.64 as of Friday pm, up .74 from last week to bring the current level to .64 feet above full pool. The surface temps went the other way, falling to 78 after staying in the low 80’s last week. The surface temps will most likely continue to fall as we get some cooler temps arriving this weekend, with low temps forecast to be in the upper 40’s on Monday and Tuesday! 

The Striper patterns are beginning to change, last week initiated the transition into fall with the fish really responding to swim baits and top waters prior to the arrival of Sally. The live bait bite up in the pockets over that 30 to 40 foot bottom was still a good pattern, and trolling the rigs over the high spots and 30 to 40 foot contours continued to produce well. I expect the shallow water patterns, and the casting techniques to become stronger with the onset of cooling water. So, dust off the top waters and swim baits, and add that to the above mentioned techniques! 

Casting the swim baits and top waters to points and humps is a solid pattern and if you are willing to keep moving and fish plenty of places this pattern can account for some decent numbers. Sebiles and Redfins seem to be two of the go to baits early into this pattern, however, any of your other favorites may also produce, Keep the bait positioned in 25 to 30 feet and cast to the humps and points, if the fish are there the bite is quick. Remember, lake conditions, like wind and light levels may change the bite so match your baits accordingly. I will try and define this pattern more next week and update accordingly!

Trolling umbrellas over the humps or remains a viable pattern and typically this technique remains strong right through the end of the year. The depths or the most productive part of the lake may change, but the basics of this method should not was we move into the fall. Currently, humps, points, and flats adjacent to the banks are all holding fish, key on a 35 foot bottom and cover lots of water and this pattern will produce well. Footnote: in the past few days this pattern is best from mid morning on, so fishing bait or casting top waters may be better in the early am,

I have several inquiries about trolling lead core and is it effective going into Fall? It probably has more year around application than we realize, but it will typically be a secondary pattern once we enter into the turnover phase. Why? Mainly because if the fish are in the pockets, in shallow water, or on small structures (like the tops of the high spots or in a brush pile) It is hard to accurately present a bait on lead core to such a small or confined area. Because you need to deploy so much line to get the bait to the proper depth, you lose the precision needed to consistently place the bait in the strike zone.You will probably find trolling the full size rigs, stealth trolling a Mini, or casting to be more effective in the above mentioned situations. That being said, if you find fish over open water, or over a big flat or suspended over trees, lead core trolling can be very effective into the fall months.

Bass fishing is good, and last week’s storm really energized the bite. Lots of topwater fish, both surfacing fish or just blind casting to structure and pulling the fish up to your bait. I think 15 to 25 feet was the most productive depth, however there were some good numbers of fish taken on  some of the shallower structures in 8 to 15 feet, especially with the wind, cloud cover and rain from last week’s storm.  Points, brush and humps were all good places to look for fish, and really be looking for the surfacing fish. They have been showing up frequently, probably more frequently in the early morning or evening, with some sporadic activity throughout the day. 

Of course the worms on the drop shot, shakey head, or a Texas rig are still counting for plenty of fish, cast them to the same 15 to 25 foot brush and points, and pitching them around docks in the same depth will also produce some good numbers of fish. Casting the Flutter spoons over brush or the tops of humps is also a good pattern, especially if you are targeting the larger fish. You may also want to try fishing the flutter spoons around docks. Pitching a spoon into an open slip or around the seawalls will also account for some nice fish. 

With the water cooling look for some fish to be moving onto shallow structures in the creek backs. With plenty of water in the lake there is an abundance of good cover. Blown down trees, docks, and secondary points may all hold fish, and you may find a few nice Largemouths mixed in with the Spotted Bass! 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

 

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 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