Lake Lanier Fishing Report – July 2023

GON Staff | June 28, 2023

Lanier: Level: 1.7 below 1071. Temp: 75-78 degrees. Clarity: Mostly clear.

Bass: Jimbo from Jimbo’s Lake Lanier Spotted Bass Guide Service reports, “Depending on the water temperatures, there are several techniques you can utilize to stay on top of the fish during the hot summer months. By July, the majority of the spotted bass are normally in their traditional summer patterns. While some fish will be relating to key features at the mouths of the major creeks, you will begin to find more and bigger spots active on the main lake.  The fish tend to relate to either schools of bait or to some of the thousands of man-made brushpiles that can be found around the entire lake. Look for brush and other fish-attracting features around the steeper side of long-running points, rock, steep banks, rocky ledges, as well as underwater humps throughout the lake. Locating these areas and the man-made cover that is often found on them, which will often concentrate the fish, will be important to your success. Now that we have explored the location where the spots can often be found in July, let’s examine some of the techniques and lures that can be used to catch these fish. Topwater lures and swimbaits remain a viable approach until the surface temperatures hit the mid 80s. At this point, the majority of the bait goes deeper as do the fish. Until then, look for this bite to remain solid around the man-made brush. The Gunfish and Chug Bug are two of my favorite topwater lures. When the fish are stubborn, try a weighted fluke as a great second option on missed fish. Swimbaits such as the Lanier Baits Hard Swimmer and the offerings of the Sweet Bait Company are two of the best choices for the hard swimbaits. When the topwater/swimbait bite slows, pick up your Georgia Blade Underspin. Tip the Underspin with a Super Fluke Jr. trailer and fish the bait over and around offshore brush for your best success. Vary your retrieve speed and depth until you hit on the right combination for that day. When you see fish in brush on your Humminbird electronics, try the worm and jig. I like the Georgia Blade ball head. Explore different worm sizes, shapes and colors when you are fishing. Something different presented appropriately can make a big difference on certain days. Georgia Jigs in 3/8-oz. are my favorite jigs on Lanier. A pb&j color pattern is often a good bet. A drop shot is also a great bait when the fishing gets tough and the water temperatures soar in the middle of summer. I opt for this offering when fish are suspended in or around brush, or when they are suspended on points or humps. This presentation can be made vertically or it can be cast or pitched toward the feature. I prefer the Lanier Baits options. They have a tremendous selection of soft plastics. Check them out at”

Stripers: Capt. Clay Cunningham, of Catching Not Fishing Lake Lanier Fishing Guides, reports, “Lake Lanier has dropped more than a foot, the lake is predominantly clear and the water temperature has risen into the upper 70s. That being said, the recent forecast suggests rain will change this quickly. June has been a mixture of spotted bass and striped bass. As the month has progressed, the stripers have separated from the spotted bass. The stripers have moved deep, and the schools are getting larger and larger each week. Typically July is one of the best months of the year for numbers of stripers. The south end of the lake will be best. So far this summer, I would say the fishing has been better than the last two summers. With the schools of stripers being deep, good electronics and great bait are the essential ingredients to success. With the newest electronics, you should be able to see your bait swim on the hook. After picking up blueback herring at local bait stores Hammonds, Sherrie’s and Oakwood Bait, you just need a few key items. The key setup is a Shakespeare Striper Rod, a Penn Fathom II Linecounter reel, Captain Mack’s Swivel Sinkers, Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon leader material and Gamakatsu 1/0 red Octopus hooks. You should be able to see your sinker drop into the schools of stripers. If you want to try artificials, spool up another Penn Fathom Linecounter with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game line and tie on a Ben Parker spoon or a 2-oz. white Berkley Fusion bucktail. Use the Linecounter to drop to the correct depth and reel the spoon or bucktail up past the stripers. Many times they will try to rip the rod out of your hands. Give it a try and you will be hooked, as well. The last two years the spoon bite has been slow, but every year is different. Hopefully this year they crush it if so you will forget live bait. Pulling lead core with these same baits back eight colors will also become a viable tactic. See you on the water!”

Capt. Ron Mullins, of The Striper Experience, reports, “July striper fishing on Lanier means huge schools of fish in deep water on the south end of the lake. This is already happening and will be more the case by the middle of the month, but we are still seeing lots of fish north of the 369 bridge up to Little Hall Park and River Forks campground. These fish are in coves and pockets from 35 to 65 feet of water, and they will eat a herring on a downline when you find these schools.  The thermocline is setting up in these areas and the herring are not living very long down past 40 feet. When you find these schools of fish and they are near the bottom, you can drop your bait down to them, but if they don’t eat, then you will have to change out your bait within a few minutes to keep a frisky herring in front of them. Down below the bridge the lake is setting up for summer fishing. Look for large schools of fish from Brown’s Bridge to the dam in deep drainages, creek channels and the river channel in 40 to 60 feet of water early in the day to 80 to 100 feet of water later in the afternoon. The best way to look for these schools later in the morning is to troll with lead core or Cannon downriggers and a 1.5-oz. Captain Mack’s Super Spin Shad or a Mini Mack. The trolling and spoon bite is great this month and Captain Mack will be having his Customer Appreciation tourney on July 22. Sign up for free at Lead core will be best trolling at 2.5-3 mph with six to eight colors out. When using your downrigger, put your baits 50 to 75 feet behind the ball that is set 25 to 35 feet down. The lake is coming back up, but be prepared to lose a few jigs to the trees as the tops of the trees are about 38 feet below the surface right now and the lake will most likely start falling again. Once you find a school of fish with your Humminbird Helix or Solix, then downlines will be the go-to live bait technique. Your setup should be an Okuma Coldwater 203 with 15- to 20-lb. mono main line, matched to an Okuma Striper Rod. To the main line, tie on a 1.75-oz. Striper Tackle Pro Pencil Sinker, 6 to 8 feet of 10- to 12-lb. fluorocarbon leader, finishing with a No. 1 Gamakatsu Circle or Octopus hook. This setup will get your herring down through the hot water fast and allow him to swim around without dragging around an oversized hook and heavy leader. The best baits will be herring, but if you can get small to medium gizzard shad, they will get the attention of some larger fish. Power reeling a BOSS HAWG SPOON in chrome/ silver flash or 2-oz. Captain Mack’s Chipmunk Jig with silver flash and a white u-tail trailer or a live herring will also be very effective when you get that school of fish to stack up under your boat.  Power reeling is a great way to get those deep schools to bite. Drop either lure to the bottom and start reeling it back up at a decent rate. Reel up to about 20 feet and then drop it back down. Keep doing this until the school disappears or when that striper tries to rip that rod out of your hand.  July stripers are really hungry and on the move, so be prepared to move around, as well, so that you can keep up with them. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. He was here before any of us, and He will be here after all of us.  He is the founder and finisher of our faith. When you get the chance, look at Genesis 1:1 and at Revelation 22:21. God is there at the first verse, and He is there at the last verse.”

Crappie: Capt. Josh Thornton reports, “Fishing on Lake Lanier for crappie has been great lately. The water temperature is around 75 degrees, perfect conditions for catching crappie if the rain will ever let up. The best gear to use for optimal success is an ACC Crappie Stix one-piece rod and reel with a 6-lb. test  K9 line, a pink-and-chartreuse (electric chicken) ATX Lure Company jig or a small minnow. With the current conditions, you should have no problem landing some decent-sized crappie. I also use Garmin LiveScope and Power Pole.”

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