Lake Lanier Fishing Report September 2012
Lanier: Level: 8.6 feet below full pool. Temp: Mid 80s. Clarity: Clear.
Spotted Bass: Fair. Guide and tournament pro Ryan Coleman reports, “The fishing is decent right now. I would not call it great or bad. It’s about where it should be. The spotted bass are mostly holding out in the deeper water around the thermocline in 27 to 35 feet of water. Most of these fish are holding around the few remaining deep-water brushpiles in Lake Lanier. The majority of our man-made brushpiles are too shallow right now for the fish due to the low-water conditions. The natural timber line right now is around 32 to 35 feet right now, and a lot of fish have moved out to that area to hold. This is the first structure the fish have to use as the water level drops. I have been doing decent on the lower end working these brushpiles with hand-poured plastics drop shotting around the deep brush or natural timber. There are a lot of smaller fish out there eating good, and the bigger fish are just feeding in short spurts each day. I am doing very well early in the morning, and then for a few hours after lunch every day. I am also catching a few decent fish up on topwater each day by working a Storm Chug Bug over the brushpiles in the mid-20s depth range. You have to fish a handful of piles before you get bit, but once you hit the right place, you will catch one. If you get a little wind, you can work a bigger bait over the brush, but I have mostly been sticking with the smaller Chug Bug. I have also been doing decent working a Fish Head Spin or small plastic swimbait over the brush. Just fan-cast over the humps that have scattered brush on them, especially early in the day when the fish are feeding. I have been using a 3/8-oz. Fish Head with a Zoom Super Fluke Jr. as a trailer. As we get into September and the water begins to cool, look for the bite to really pick up. The deeper fish will cooperate more, and some of the bigger spots will finally leave the deep timber and get up on the humps and points. This is one of the best times of the year to get some big fish on drop shot. Also, near the end of September, look for the topwater and mechanical swimbaits like a Sebile, Farley or Bull Shad to get into gear. Once that water gets in the 70s, all these patterns come back to us. If we have a considerable cooling period at the beginnin mg of September, look for fish to start to bunch up shallow on main-lake points. These fish will eat a spinnerbait, crankbait or swimbait once they bunch up on these points. Cold fronts in the fall are good things at Lanier. Don’t stay home when they arrive.”
Largemouths: Good. Billy Boothe reports, “There are still a decent amount of largemouths up shallow, and that will only improve as the month goes on. Right now you still have some fish up that were feeding around bluegill beds, and you can catch them power fishing. I’m throwing a bluegill Mann’s Baby Waker on bare banks and pockets and skipping docks with a 3/8-oz. green-pumpkin Mann’s Stone Jig. The shallow fish have been very skittish due to the pressure after the Forrest Wood Cup. I’ve had to go down to 10-lb. SpiderWire fluorocarbon on my jigs, and I’m using a long 7-foot, 6-inch Duckett casting rod for the wake bait. The deeper bite is still decent on isolated brush, but that bite should start to fade soon. The brush fish are hitting moving baits if there is some wind, but most of my bites are coming on a worm fished slow. If we get any overcast rainy days, a small white 1/8-oz. War Eagle buzzbait should work great up the rivers.”
Stripers: Good. Guide Mike Maddalena reports, “With water cooling, the fish have scattered over various water depths from 50 to 120 feet. The key continues to be the trees. Now is when your Lowrance Structure Scan really pays off. Use it to locate the fish in the trees, and when you find them, drop downrods just on top of the trees. If you can find a clean spot void of trees nearby, try varying your depth. I am using 20-lb. Seagar fluorocarbon main line with a 2-oz. slip sinker and 5 to 6 feet of Seagar 12-lb. test fluorocarbon leader and a No. 1 or 1/0 Gamakatsu octopus hook. The hook size depends on the size of the herring. Some fisherman have gone to 10-lb. test leaders, but I have not had any problems catching them with 12-lb. test. Trolling with lead-core line and U-rigs will also work, but you have to skim the trees, which can be a challenge with the lake lever down. Try seven colors on your lead core. Change your baits often. Lively baits are critical to downrod fishing. Orr Creek and Six Mile Creek are good places to start. Fishing should remain the same through September, with some topwater schooling starting up. Toward the later part, there will be some fish in both rivers. Large trout or large gizzard shad will be the ticket in the rivers.” Guide Shane Watson reports, “Not much has changed since my last report. Lead-core line fished 8 or 9 colors out with a chartreuse-blue 1-oz. Capt. Mack jig, tipped with a live blueback or chartreuse paddletail is still working. We’ve had some great downlining at times when the fish have been active and thick on the screen. The main channel and the mouths of creeks continue to be best. The weather is cooling down out there, and the temps are comfortable.” Guide Clay Cunningham said the bite’s been very good on downlines. “The schools of stripers have continued to be large and concentrated on the south end. The big question for September is how the weather will affect the stripers. September is always a month of transition for the stripers on Lake Lanier. Right now, the biggest question is how Hurricane Isaac will affect the lake. Several patterns may develop on Lake Lanier depending on Isaac and the weather after Isaac. Hard to say if the downline bite will continue after the storm. Hopefully the downline bite will remain strong until late September. However, it is expected that the pattern will change some and be more of a early and late bite with downlines in deep coves on the south end of the lake. If the water temperature drops some, look for the fish to possibly pull up more on points and humps on the south end of the lake. This could lead to a strong umbrella-rig bite on the south end of the lake. There is also the remote chance that if the water temperature drops enough we get an early topwater bite which can lead to some incredible fishing with topwater baits like the Sebile Slim Stick in Sea Chrome. We have already been seeing some small stripers break randomly on the surface which has many excited that this may happen this year. Overall, it is really hard to say what this September is going to bring on Lake Lanier. With Hurricane Isaac headed this way as this is written, it is very hard to say what will happen in the coming weeks. One thing is for sure, the weather is usually great in September. Get out on the lake and see what happens.”
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