Lake Lanier Fishing Report – September 2019

GON Staff | August 28, 2019

Lanier: Level: 0.9 feet low. Temp: Mid to upper 80s. Clarity: Moderate stain for Lanier exists for most of the lake.

Bass: Guide Ryan Coleman reports, “The fish are holding out in a late summer pattern, but with the changing temperatures, look for them to be on the move very soon. Right now, spotted bass are holding out on man-made brushpiles in 25 to 30 feet of water. Some of these fish will start to move out deeper as the fall rolls in. We always get a big group of fish that move out in deeper water during September and hold out there until the turnover is complete sometime near the beginning of November. These fish will be holding in the standing timber and can be caught on drop-shot rigs and jigs fished slowly through the structure. I prefer a larger bait out there, like a 6-inch drop-shot worm in hot tomato or crushed herring. For my jigs, I prefer a 3/8-oz. casting jig in green craw or Georgia craw rigged with a twin-tail trailer. These baits will work every day for you over the next two months out deep. For the shallower fish, I like a big chugging topwater on windy days and a smaller version on the calmer days. While working your topwater over points and humps, have a 1-oz. Mini-me spinnerbait with double willowleaf blades tied on, and work it a few casts on every point you come to. This technique will bring you some big fish in the fall on Lanier. As we move into late September, look out in 40 to 50 feet of water for those big schools of spots that have taken the deep route for the changing weather. They will be more consistent for you, and there will be some big fish there, as well. Good luck.”

Crappie: Guide John McCalpin reports, “With these typical late-summer conditions, there is an opportunity to thoroughly test your crappie fishing skills—and your patience—as the fish are relatively stubborn at present. The best bite has been in the early morning hours beginning at first light and extending only to mid-morning. Crappie guide Don Whidby of DW Crappie Guide Service suggests fishing deep (25-32 feet) and slow around open water brushpiles near creek channels. Use scanning-type sonar technology (e.g. Lowrance Downscan and Sidescan) to locate these brushpiles, and drop a marker buoy nearby as a reference (not directly on the brush) to accurately present your bait or lure. Be prepared to present both artificial lures and small minnows to coax these tasty rascals into your boat. Bobby Garland’s Baby Shad in blue thunder colors (dark blue on silver), or Mo Glo Slab Slay’r in outlaw special (green on chartreuse) are my go-to plastics for vertical jigging in these conditions. Using these with 1/32- or 1/24-oz. jig heads will be slow yet may be the most productive. As we move into late September and early October, be prepared for the bite to become a bit easier as the water temperatures begin to decrease and the crappie begin to feed in preparation for the spring spawn season. Make certain to have freshly tied line and sharp hooks to maximize success, and always remember to wear a vest when boating.”

Stripers: Guide Ron Mullins reports, “The easiest way to catch stripers this month will be trolling lead core and pulling any of Capt. Mack’s jigs and trailers. The standard 1.5-oz Chipmunk in white/silver, white/chartreuse or chartreuse/blue are your best bets. Either 4-inch shad bodies or 6-inch u-tail trailers in white, chartreuse or pink are the go-to colors. This year the new hot lures to troll are the 1-oz. CM Underspin Bucktail in white/silver or white/chartreuse and the Mini Mack with blades with red heads and white grubs. All three of these baits should be pulled behind the boat at 2.5 to 3 mph and seven to nine colors back, depending on the depth that you are marking fish on your Humminbird graph. Fish will be scattered on the sides and the middle of creek channels from Big Creek south to the dam in 60 to 130 feet of water at the mouths to one-third of the way back. They will also be on the river channel from 100 to 150 feet. When you catch a fish, keep your eye on your graph. If you’ll stop the boat to bring your fish in, a lot of times the whole school will follow, and then you can drop a live herring or Nichols Magnum spoon to them for an extra bite. Stopping the boat also helps you get the fish in quicker and is better on the fish’s stress. The bait bite will still be good, when you find concentrations of fish, and the only changes from August will be to concentrate in 90 to 140 feet of water and to increase your leader length to 9 to 11 feet of 10-lb. fluorocarbon leader. The herring are not living well on the hook below 30 feet, so make sure you take plenty of bait if you are going to concentrate on this bite.” Guide Clay Cunningham reports, “The downline bite has been solid, and the trolling bite with lead core has been solid. These same two patterns will continue into September. As long as the weather stays hot, look for the stripers to stay deep on the south end of the lake feeding on herring. With the right electronics, like the Humminbird Solix Series, you can see the fish feeding through the schools of herring like you are watching Wicked Tuna. The technique to catch these fish on your Humminbird electronics is fairly simple. Spoil up a Penn Fathom II Linecounter reel with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game Line on a 7-foot Shakespeare Striper Rod. On the end of the line, you will need a Carolina-type rig using a Capt. Mack Swivel Sinker, a 6-foot piece of Trilene 100% fluorocarbon leader material and a 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook. Hook the herring right up between the nostrils, and drop it right above the schools of stripers on your electronics. I can see the Capt. Mack swivel sinker and the bait swimming around on the hook. If you do not want to use live bait, lead core is still catching some big fish. On the end of the lead core line, tie a 30- to 50-foot piece of 20-lb. Trilene 100% fluorocarbon and a Spro 1-oz. prime white bucktail. Tip the bucktail with a 4-inch chartreuse Capt. Mack shad body. Every bait store around the lake has these bucktails and shad bodies. Be sure to purchase several colors of the shad bodies. Some days a certain color will out perform other colors due to numerous factors, like cloud cover. In late September the weather will begin to cool off. Be sure to have several topwater rods loaded with topwater baits for any early topwater. Try baits like a Berkley Canewalker and a Berkley J-Walker. These fish will school on the surface in October.”

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