Allatoona Daytime Summer Bass Bite

Fish early and during the week, and you’ll be more than pleased with Allatoona's July bass fishing. Here's a map with 10 GPS locations to set your pattern.

Ronnie Garrison | July 2, 2007

Lake Allatoona can get crowded — awfully crowded — with summer boat traffic. But this narrow, deep lake is a great bass fishery, and locals who can dodge the jet skis have some fan- tastic summer catches during the day. Tim Howell has been fishing Allatoona his entire life. One pattern he likes in the summer is paralleling bluff walls with a crankbait.

Catch bass on top early and late? Catch them all day on crankbaits and all night on spinnerbaits? That may not sound like summer fishing at Lake Allatoona, but it is. The late June and July bass fishing is very good at Allatoona if you can stand the crowds, but all Georgia lakes get crowded this time of year.

Allatoona will surprise you with the numbers of spotted bass and largemouth you can catch there this month.

Since Allatoona is so close to Atlanta, it gets a tremendous number of visitors each year, with more than 92 million visitor-hours in 2006. When you fish there, you won’t have the lake to yourself, but the fish still bite.

Tim Howell grew up near Allatoona and has fished it all his life. When he was 12 years old, his father took him to a night tournament on the lake, and Tim was hooked. He helped found a local club in the 1990s and also fished many of the pot tournaments on Allatoona. He has fished the FLW and Everstart tournaments as a no boater in the past, too.

Now Tim concentrates on the Bulldog BFL trail, American Bass Anglers trail, Southern Bassin Couples trail with his wife Kim and the National Bass Jr./Adult trail with his stepson Zack Bobo. He still fishes Allatoona many times each year, too.

Tim and Kim finished third at the Southern Bassin Couples Oconee tournament on June 9. Tim has won some Georgia ABA tournaments in the past, as well as several club tournaments on Allatoona. He likes tournament fishing and does well.

Tim’s best largemouth at Allatoona is a 6-pounder he caught on a jig ’n pig on a bluff bank. He also has a 5-lb. spot that hit a Rattlin’ Rap, again on a bluff bank. Those two bass are a good indication of the places he likes to fish.

Allatoona is well known for its bluff banks, and that is where Tim finds fish this time of year. Bass set up on the rock walls where they can move vertically to feed or move and hold at different depths very quickly. Rocks are the key to this kind of fishing, but some wood cover like brush or blowdowns definitely helps.

Tim usually has four rods rigged and ready for fishing at Allatoona in the summer. He always has a Pop-R tied on, and it is his favorite way to catch bass.

Tim loves a Pop-R for quality bass on Allatoona, and he’ll fish it all summer early and late in the day. When it’s cloudy, he’ll throw the topwater plug all day.

He also uses a crankbait and a spinnerbait so those are ready depending on the time he is fishing. A jig-head worm and a Texas-rigged worm are also ready.

A Deep Baby N in shad color is Tim’s choice for cranking bluff walls during the day, but at night he switches to a Deep Little N in crawfish. He does not throw a spinnerbait much during the day, but at night a 3/4-oz. Georgia Blade with black nickel blades and a black/blue/purple skirt works well.

If the bite is tough, Tim will throw a green-pumpkin Zoom Finesse worm on a shakey-head jig around rocks and wood cover, or he will fish the same bait on a Texas rig in heavy wood cover. Worms are his last resort, and he seldom goes to them in a tournament unless he is trying to fill a limit with just one more keeper bass.

When fishing during the day, Tim likes to be on the lake before the sky shows any light, and he starts working a Pop-R on bluff banks. He sticks with it until the sun gets on the water, then he searches out shady pockets to fish it until about 9 a.m. That bait produces the most quality fish for him.

After mid-morning, Tim will pick up his crankbait and parallel the bluff banks, cranking the bait down and working it right along the rocks. He keeps his boat in very close to the bank, and his rod tip will often be just inches from the bank to keep his bait in the right depth water.

Bluff banks at Allatoona drop fast, and you need to bump the rocks to make the bait more effective.

In night tournaments he does the same, fishing topwater in any shade he can find and working it up until full dark. Then he will switch to the crankbait or spinnerbait and again get in close and keep his lures in the strike zone. He lets the bass tell him which bait they want and also show him the depth to concentrate on with that bait.

Tim and I met on a Thursday in early June so he could show me his methods and the holes he wanted to share. The Saturday before we fished, Tim and his brother had caught more than 30 bass, with many in the 3-lb. and better range. That day was cloudy and overcast, and they caught fish on top up until 11 a.m. The Thursday we fished was bright and clear, but we still caught quite a few bass, though most of them were small.

Even with the bright sun, most of the fish Tim and I caught hit topwater poppers. Tim caught some fish on crankbaits, and I got a few on a jig-head worm, but most of the keepers came on top before the sun got high. We were off the water by 11 a.m. and still caught more than 20 bass, a pretty good morning on any lake. If you can catch a cloudy day, you can extend your topwater fishing.

The following 10 spots are places Tim will be fishing this month at Allatoona. They are very similar, and all are fished about the same way.

No. 1: N 34° 09.462 – W 84° 33.782 — Running up Little River above the danger signs, a good bluff bank is on your left just before you get to the mouth of Blankets Creek. The river makes a sharp bend back to the right here, and the outside bend creates the bluff wall. The sun hits this bank early, so it is a good idea to fish it as the sky first starts getting light.

There are a couple of blowdowns in the water close together on the downstream end of this wall, and that is a good place to start. Cast all around the wood cover with topwater plugs, then start working up the wall. Keep your boat in close, and make long casts parallel to the bank. You want your top- water bait to be working just inches off the rocks along the wall.

Fishing upstream takes advantage of any current here. Allatoona is not known for current, but this far up the river there might be some that will position the fish facing upstream and make them more likely to feed. Work your crankbait the same way as the top water plug after it gets brighter here, keeping it within a couple of feet off the bank. It will still be hitting bottom in 6 to 8 feet of water.

No. 2: N 34° 09.264 – W 84° 33.773 — Downstream and across the river, a straight rock-bluff bank runs a long way, and it has several small pockets and points along it. The river channel swings close to it, so it drops off fast. It is best to start on the down- stream end of this and other walls up the river and work upstream. Start at the first rock point upstream of the sandy and muddy bank. It turns to almost solid rock above this point.

Hit all wood cover with both topwater and crankbaits. There is a big stump that is in the water when the lake is full just upstream of the point where you start. Above it is a small pocket with three big blowdowns and one small one. Farther up, a second pocket has a new blowdown in it, and there are still lots of branches in the water. Fish all the wood carefully. Fish upstream until the rocks end. This bank stays shady for a long time in the morning and has a lot of good wood cover, so you can hit it later. The shade and wood tend to keep the fish active longer than on other spots.

No. 3: N 34° 08.969 – W 84° 34.322 — The last outside bend before the straight stretch going to the bridge is another of Tim’s favorite places in this area. Start on the point right at the danger signs just upstream of Rose Creek, and fish upstream. The channel makes a final bend here, running in close to the bank.

The sun hits this bank early. The day Tim and I fished he caught a solid keeper spot here and hooked what was probably the biggest fish of the day. It hit a crankbait and fought hard for a short time before getting his line in the rocks and breaking it.

Fish this bank from the point at Rose Creek up to where the rocks end and the bank flattens out. There are a couple of blowdowns on this bank, and one had a Christmas tree tied to it to make even better cover.

No. 4: N 34° 09.633–W 84° 34.836 — Rip-rap banks are good any- where you find them, and the area around Cherokee Ramp and the bridge are good. Heading downstream, Tim will begin fishing at the ditch on the left and continue along that bank past the ramp, to the bridge. Fish both sides and ends of the bridge.

The downstream rocks on the bridge stay in the shade for a good while in the morning, so you can work them later. Fish your topwater bait right on the rocks, then fish a crankbait along them. If you are fishing at night, try the spinnerbait slow-rolled along the rocks, too. The heavier bait and bigger blades make a lot of noise in the dark, while also making it easier for you to keep it near the rocks on the retrieve.

No. 5: N 34° 09.718 – W 84° 34.944 — Just downstream of the bridge, on your left heading down- stream, is a high bluff where people jump into the water. Signs up on the bank warn to keep out, but they are pretty much ignored. Fish this bank early to avoid the jumpers and because the sun hits this side of the wall early.

Start just below the pocket downstream of the bridge, and fish along the bluff out to the point with the 2LR channel marker on it. Fish around that point and down the bluff bank leading into the pocket.

This side stays in the shade longer, so topwater works here later in the morning. Boat traffic tends to get heavy here pretty early, and that can mess up the topwater bite. They will still hit crankbaits and spinnerbaits, though.

No. 6: N 34° 11.491 – W 84° 34.081 — Run up the Etowah River to channel marker 44E on a rocky point on your right. Be careful and watch the danger markers — there are big flats that run way out upstream of the mouth of Little River.

Start on the downstream side of this point, and fish all around it with topwater and other baits. It stays in the shade some as the sun comes up. After the sun is up, Tim says this is a good point to fish both a Texas-rigged and jig-head worm. Work all around the point from different angles to cover it all.

No. 7: N 34° 12.431 – W 84° 34.335 — The river makes a hard bend to the left and narrows way down as you head upstream. There are markers on the bank warning of danger upstream of this area, and you will see a no-wake buoy on the left side. The bank near that buoy is a good bluff bank on the outside bend of the river.

Start on the rocks across from the yellow sign on the far bank, and you will be downstream of the no-wake buoy. Fish upstream, working along this bank like you fished the others. You can fish a long way along this bank, hitting small points and blowdowns. Sometimes the water is a little more stained here, and that helps the fishing.

No. 8: N 34° 10.930 – W 84° 35.997 — Across from the mouth of Little River going downstream on your right is a ditch entering the river just downstream of channel marker 43E. A ledge comes out from the downstream point of this ditch and holds fish. Tim says many night tournaments have been won fishing this ledge and the rocks around it.

The sun will hit this spot early, so you have to fish topwater here before sunrise. After sunrise or at night, work the rocks with both spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Tim says this is an excellent place to slowly fish a worm along the rocks on the ledge, too.

No. 9: N 34° 10.629 – W 84° 36.693 — Downstream on your left across from channel marker 41E as you start into an “S” bend in the river, the river hits the bank and makes a sharp turn to the right. Start on the point 36E, and fish upstream. You need to be here early to fish topwater since the sun hits it as soon as it comes up. From this point downstream the water clears up a good bit, and the fishing is not as good during the day as the places upstream. One reason Tim likes the Little River and above it is the stain the water usually has there. That makes the fishing better. From this point downstream, night fishing is probably your best bet.

No. 10: N 34° 10.356 – W 84° 37.165 — The river makes an “S” bend, and the outside bend between channel markers 32E and 34E is a good bluff to fish. Tim likes it because he got his biggest Allatoona largemouth here. It is a very good night spot to fish with crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Start on the downstream point at 32E, and work the entire bank all the way up to 34E.

From this point downstream there are many more bluff banks just like these to fish. Try them all using Tim’s techniques, and find the ones you like best. You can catch bass all summer long on these banks and patterns if you give them a try.

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