Lake Lanier Fishing Reports – July 2020

GON Staff | June 25, 2020

Lanier: Level: Full pool. Temp: Low 80s. Clarity: Clear.

Bass: Guide and tournament angler Ryan Coleman reports, “Fishing is good for spotted bass right now and should remain good through July. Topwater fishing has been excellent both on points and working man-made brush in 20 to 30 feet of water. I have been using both walking-style baits and poppers, and both have been equally affective. Spooks and Vixens have been my baits of choice for the walking baits, and I have been using a medium-sized Chug Bug for my poppers and just picking either pearl or shad colors. During the mornings, I have been working a 3.3-inch or a 3.8-inch soft swimbait on a 3/8-oz swimbait head slowly over points and brush and have been catching some pretty good fish this way. It has also been pretty effective when the wind lays a little and the lake is still. Just let the bait get down to the 8- to 10-foot range and slowly reel it along. During July, look for the jig to continue to be your best bet for bigger fish. I love a 3/8-oz. casting jig in either herring or green-pumpkin-craw colors rigged with a cinnamon-black 5-inch twin-tail trailer. This has been my go-to summer bait for many years on Lanier, and nothing has changed. The 3/8-oz. SpotSticker Hand-Tied Casting Jig is built for this kind of fishing. Working 20- to 30-foot brush slowly will result in a great bite for the bigger spotted bass. Give it a try. Good luck out there.”

Stripers: Capt. Clay Cunningham reports, “Lake Lanier is still full of water, and the amount of erosion is unprecedented. The stripers have moved deep, and the schools are getting larger and larger each week. Typically July is one of the best months for numbers for stripers. With the schools of stripers being deep, good electronics and great bait are the essential ingredients to success. With the new graphs like the Humminbird Solix units, you can see your baitfish get devoured by stripers as they feed deep. You should be able to see your bait swim on the hook. After picking up blueback herring at the local bait stores, like Hammond’s, Sherry’s and Oakwood Bait & Tackle, 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 red octopus hooks. You should be able to see your sinker drop into the school of stripers. The stripers will be 35 to 70 feet deep most of July in the creek channels. 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. Capt. Mack bucktail. Some fish are being caught on the Ben Parker Spoon already this summer. 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. See you on the water!” Capt. Ron Mullins reports, “Typically, July striper fishing on Lanier means huge schools of fish in deep water on the south end of the lake, and this will be the case by the middle of the month. This year, however, we are 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 in 35 to 55 feet of water, and they will readily eat a herring on a downline. The thermocline is finally setting up in these areas, and the herring are not living very long down past 30 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 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-oz. Capt. Mack’s Underspin bucktail jig or a Mini Mack. Lead core will be best pulling 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 20 to 30 feet down. Once you find a school of fish, downlines will be the go-to live-bait technique. Your setup should be a 1.5- to 2-oz. lead, 6 to 8 feet of 10- to 12-lb. test fluorocarbon leader, finishing with a No. 2 Gamakatsu circle or octopus hook. This setup will get your fragile bait down through the hot water fast and allow him to swim around without dragging around an oversized hook and a 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 Parker spoon or a 2-oz. Capt. Mack’s Chipmunk with a shad or u-tail trailer will also be very effective when you get that school of fish to stack up under your boat. 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. Get out there and catch ’em up.”

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