Lake Lanier Fishing Report – October 2019

GON Staff | September 24, 2019

Lanier: Level: 2.7 feet low. Temp: Low 80s. Clarity: The water is not in great shape. It is as cloudy as it has been for a while and turning over in some areas. There is a lot of silt in the water, and fish and the bait are searching for good water to hold in.”

Bass: Guide Ryan Coleman reports, “During this time of year, we typically see fish stacked up in certain water depths, and at times, they can be very difficult to catch. You can mark them on your electronics, but getting them to eat is hard. There are clouds of baby spotted bass all over the 10- to 15-foot range right now, and they are schooling at times on the small threadfin that is also in that depth range. For the bigger fish, I have been slow-rolling a 3.3- or 3.8-inch soft swimbait rigged on a 3/8-oz. SpotSticker Screwlock Swimbait Head all over the points, humps and brush. I am using a pearl-colored swimbait most of the time and the blueback herring color at others. Just slow-rolling this bait on 12-lb. fluorocarbon line has been the key. I am also catching some nice fish on topwater with a Chug Bug, but that is hit or miss. You must be willing to move around and work more areas to get this to work. Drop shotting has been decent but not quite where it will be in a few weeks. Look for some big schools of large spotted bass to head out in the 40- to 50-foot range and set up in the timber. Work a 6-inch drop-shot worm in crushed herring or hot tomato around these fish, and be patient. They will eventually commit. As the water cools in October, the topwater bite should come on strong, as will the deep drop-shot bite. It seems odd to target fish on top and in deep water at the same time, but it’s just what Lanier gives you every fall. Good luck out there.”

Stripers: Guide Ron Mullins reports, “October striper fishing is all about being versatile and ready for anything.  Trolling will be the best way to target stripers this month. The fish are moving around a lot and feeding in a variety of areas, so fishing on the big motor allows you to cover more water and always be fishing. Main-lake humps and points with 25 to 45 feet of water on them, from Mud Creek to the dam, will be the areas to target with your Capt. Mack’s U-rigs or Mini Mack’s. A four-arm rig loaded with nine, 3/4-oz. jigs (with white trailers on sunny days or chartreuse on cloudy days), on 50-lb. mono or 135-lb. braid, pulled at 2.7-3 mph, and 120 to 150 feet back, will put you down the right depth to fish these areas. The Mini Mack’s will be best fished 250 to 275 feet back on lead core at the same speeds. One of my little secrets is that I have been changing out the center jigs to a ChatterBait I make on both of these rigs. The extra flash and thump seems to be getting a few extra bites. Don’t forget to take along your Capt. Mack’s U-rig Retriever (it’ll get a Mini Mack out, too) since most of these places have brushpiles on them. If you are not getting hung up on the shallower spots, then you are not fishing deep enough. Topwater schooling fish will show up more and more as the month proceeds. These fish will only be up for short periods of time, so be ready to cast a long way to these schools. Topwater favorites like a Super Spook, Chug Bug or Pencil Popper will be great bets. Sub-surface lures like a 1/2-oz. Capt. Mack’s Chipmunk Jig, Super Spoon or a Steel Shad are also great lures to keep tied on since they will cast a long way. I throw all these lures on a 7-foot medium-action Okuma Reflections spinning rod paired with an Okuma Helios 30 or 40 class reel. This combo loaded with 15-lb. PowerPro braid will cast considerably farther versus a reel loaded with mono. The braid (with no stretch) also makes working the topwater plugs much easier since you will be a long way out. Make sure you attach 2 to 3 feet of 12-lb. flouro to your braid before you tie on your lure. These fish will be popping up in 80 to 140 feet of water in the same creek channels and over the river channel on the south end of the lake. Don’t forget your downline rods as concentrations of deep fish will still eat a herring hung down 25 to 50 feet in these same areas, as well as a freelined herring out the back of the boat. Let the next few months of kitchen sink fishing begin.”

Crappie: Guide John McCalpin reports, “Even though the water temperature remains high, the fish are getting hungrier and the bite has begun to improve. Even though the best bite is in the early morning hours beginning before first light and extending to mid-morning, we’re also seeing a decent bite in the late afternoon and early evening.  The recommended approach is to fish deep (20-30 feet) with a slow retrieve around open-water brushpiles and covered docks near creek channels. Use scanning-type sonar technology (e.g. Lowrance DownScan and SideScan) to locate open-water brushpiles, and drop a marker buoy nearby as a reference (not directly on the brush) to accurately present your bait or lure. Jiffy Jig JJ20 or Bobby Garland Baby Shad in blue thunder are good choices to start. Adjust colors based on how the fish respond. These 1/24-oz. jigs can be used equally well for vertical jigging or dock shooting presentations. As we move into middle and late October, I expect lake water levels to continue dropping and cooler weather will reduce surface water temperatures. This will improve the bite further as the crappie are more comfortable with the cooler water. Make certain to have freshly tied line and sharp hooks to maximize success, and always remember to wear a vest when boating.”

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