Lake Lanier August Spotted Bass From Top To Bottom

Stew Medlin shows us the key — main-lake points and humps with brush.

Ronnie Garrison | July 28, 2022

Lanier bass fishing guide Stew Medlin with what the lake is famous for—great spotted bass. The August main-lake bite can be very good.

Lake Lanier is famous for its big spotted bass, and in August you can catch them from top to bottom on points, roadbeds and humps near deep water. They may be chasing bait on top, suspended in the water column or on the bottom, but fishing the right places with the right baits will put fish in your boat.

Lake Lanier is also famous for its summer boat traffic. The 40,000-acre Corps of Engineers is close to Atlanta, so it gets huge numbers of visitors. In fact, it is the most visited corps lake in the country, with about 12 million trips to the lake each year.

Those numbers make it rough and dangerous for fishermen, especially on the weekends. Since August fishing means being on big, open water, it can get very rough. If you fish on the weekends, it is a good idea to be off the water by lunch to avoid the traffic—and the August heat.

Stew Medlin grew up fishing with his father Jim Medlin for anything that would bite in Atlanta area waters. He got started bass fishing in the 1980s and joined the Paulding County and Dog River bass clubs, where Bill Barclay and Bud Flanagan were mentors. He learned to catch bass in a variety of ways and under different conditions fishing with the clubs.

Stew fell in love with catching big spots on Lanier years ago, spending many hours on the lake learning the spots habits and key places to catch them. About a dozen years ago he started guiding and now works with Jimbo’s Lake Lanier Guide Service, guiding three or four days most weeks.

Stew especially likes teaching other fishermen the keys to fishing Lake Lanier, showing them the patterns to look for and the baits to try. A trip with him is a learning experience, as well as a fish-catching trip.

“Bass like to hold on humps, roadbeds and points on the main lake,” Stew said.

He said brushpiles are the key, and you can find them on every good structure on the lower lake. Stew will often have as many as a dozen piles marked on one piece of structure.

“The fish may be schooling on top, suspended between the surface and bottom at any depth, or tight to cover on the bottom,” Stew said.

He has a routine when he pulls up on good structure to cover it from top to bottom to find them.

Baits for topwater action include a popper, a flopper and a walking bait. For suspended fish, try a Spybait, a hard swimbait and a Pulse Jig to get bites. For those fish on the bottom, Stew will pick up a drop shot, shaky head, Neko rig or Carolina rig.

Many factors—from clouds to wind to current generation at the dam—can affect the bite. But no matter the conditions, some bass will bite every day if you try the right places with the right bait at the right time.

We fished the following 10 spots under bad conditions, there was very little wind, a lot of cloud cover, and no generation. Stew still caught several keeper spots. We got off the water about noon and, as usual, one of Stew’s friends texted him saying the bite turned on like a light being flipped on about 3 p.m. when the sun came out and the corps started pulling water.

These locations will hold bass all the month of August.

No. 1: N 34º 11.169 – W 84º 04.422 – Go into Bald Ridge Creek to the point on the left with channel marker BR 3 on it. There is a danger marker off the point where an old roadbed runs out, creating excellent August structure. There are multiple brushpiles here.

Stew has the brush marked with a waypoint so he can make accurate casts over it, a key to catching bass on these places. Forward-facing sonar, from the live-action units to the 360 Scan, are invaluable for making accurate casts if you don’t have the brushpiles marked on your GPS.

Stew starts his routine by casting topwater over the brush. He starts with a big topwater plug. He said big baits produce big bass, but if he doesn’t get bit or if he knows the bass are feeding on threadfin shad, not blueback herring, he will go with a smaller bait.

His go-to bait is a chrome or shad-colored Evergreen 125 Shower Blow pencil popper, but he will drop down the 77.7 if the bigger bait does not produce bites. He says it is important to learn to work the Shower Blow like its name implies, making it spit and throw water in front of it on each twitch. Before he drops down in size, he will try the CAST “OG” 30 for a different action.

Chugbug poppers and Gunfish walking baits will sometimes work better than the pencil popper, as will a Berkley Choppo, a flopper-style bait. 

Try several different baits and actions on different brushpiles before going to the next step, which is working down the water column for suspended fish. Then fish the bottom around the brush with the drop shot, shaky head, etc. Stew will usually start on the brushpiles near the bank in more shallow water, and then work deeper and deeper.

No. 2: N 34º 11.175 – W 84º 04.147 — Across Bald Ridge Creek and a little downstream there is a big cove with docks on the left side. The cove has a good underwater bar on the right side. The bar comes off the bank about halfway down the bank, and it turns and runs downstream parallel to the bank.

Stew starts on the end of the bar on the outside of it with his boat in about 50 feet of water and casts to 40 feet of water on the end. Then he works parallel to it going back into the cove. The water drops from 25 to 35 to 40 feet deep along the bar, and bass will feed anywhere on it.

Start with topwater, then try the baits for suspended fish. A hard swimbait like the chrome-and-blue Sebile 125 will catch suspended fish that are not deep but that still won’t come up for a topwater plug. Stew says spotted bass on these places are always looking up for schools of herring, especially when it is sunny, so a swimbait worked over them will draw a bite.

Try your other baits for suspended fish, and then hit the bottom around the brush. Sunny days will usually put the fish right in the brush, while cloudy days will have them roaming the bottom around the brush. You can often spot them on your electronics and drop your baits right in front of them.

No. 3: N 34º 11.087 – W 84º 04.219 — Idle downstream from hole 2 out from the main creek point, and watch for a hump coming up from about 38 to 26 feet deep on top. Stop in 45 feet of water and fish around the hump, hitting it from all angles. There is brush here in 30 to 40 feet of water.

This deeper hump will hold bass in August when the water is hotter and will help you zero in on the depth to fish that day. Try topwater first, then your baits for suspended fish.

Stew likes to cast a shad-colored Spybait 90 on 6-lb. Invizx fluorocarbon line and count it down—it sinks about a foot a second on slack line. He usually starts with a count of five, then goes in 2-foot increments to as deep as 20 feet. Once you get a bite, consistently count down that depth.

It is important to reel the Spybait very slowly to keep it at the depth you let it sink, and to not give it any additional action. The Spybait has a special wobble that attracts bites, but the wobble can be messed up by rod-tip action or changing speeds, so keep it consistent.

No. 4: N 34º 10.332 – W 84º 03.282 — Go across the river to the island out from the mouth of Shoal Creek with red channel marker 4 on it. The island has a clay bluff face on the downstream side. Idle out from it toward the East Saddle Dam rip-rap, and you will cross a hump coming up to about 25 feet deep.

Stew says this hump is like a “volcano,” coming up fast and making a round hump. Stop out in 35 feet of water and work around the hump, casting topwater, and then baits for suspended fish, and then your bottom-bumping baits.

Brushpiles in deep structure like this—especially canepiles—may come off the bottom 20 or more feet, and bass will hold in the top of them and come up and hit topwater.

Stew likes a Spybait, but also try a 3/8-oz. Pulse Jig with either the trailer that comes with it or a Damiki Armor Shad trailer. Reel it slowly and the wobble-head jig will wiggle enticingly and get bit. Count it down like the Spybait to get the right depth the day you are fishing.

No. 5: N 34º 10.251 – W 84º 03.289 — Idle out from hole two in the same direction toward the saddle rip-rap, and watch for a second hump coming up to 25 feet deep on top.

Keep your boat out in 30 or more feet of water, and fish around this hump like the previous one.

Fish may be on one or both of these humps, so check both out.

If you don’t get bit on topwater or suspended fish baits, ease in closer to the brushpiles. Try a Carolina rig, drop shot and Neko rig around the brush for bass that do not want to come up to eat.

A Carolina rig allows you to cast ahead to the brush without getting right on top of it. Stew rigs a Lanier Baits Blue Lily or Sweet Rosie worm about 15 to 18 inches above a 3/8-oz. tungsten sinker.

He drags it to the brush and then through the bottom of it. The lighter lead allows it to come through the brush better.

No. 6: N 34º 11.311 – W 84º 01.203 — Go around to the main-lake side of Lanier Islands and start into the cove that has Mountain View Marina in the back. On your left are two danger markers sitting off the bank. Stop your boat away from the outside maker.

There is a hump that comes up to about 8 feet deep on top. It runs out from the bank and slopes off on the lake side, but it drops straight off on the side toward the marina. Stew says it drops off into the abyss—very deep water.

Fish the lake side first. There is brush on the sloping bottom that you can fish like other places. Stew says fish feed here, but they will sometimes hold on the marina side, suspending way off the bottom, often about the same depth as the ledge on that side before it drops straight down.

Fish the deep side with Spybait and Pulse Jig, counting them down to different depths. If you watch your electronics, you can often spot baitfish and bass to give you the right depth to run those baits. Stew caught a keeper spot here on his Spybait.

No. 7: N 34º 11.066 – W 84º 00.029 — Go to the mouth of Big Creek and stop about even with the upstream point, a narrow island between Big Creek and Flowery Branch. Going into the creek, straight ahead of you will be a big island with a clay bluff bank facing you.

Idle toward the island along a line about one-third of the way across the creek from the island. A long point comes off the upstream point. The point runs across the mouth of the creek and comes up in a series of humps.

The deeper hump tops out at about 38 feet deep, one of the deeper places Stew fishes.

Standing timber around this hump makes it good, as does standing timber around other places. And we saw a big tree standing right on the edge of the hump. Stew says this is a good schooling area, so keep your topwater baits ready.

Also fish your other baits here. With Holiday Marina back in the creek, this place can be difficult to fish because of boat traffic, so hit it early.

No. 8: N 34º 11.254 – W 83º 59.938 — If you idle toward the end of the narrow island on the upstream point of Big Creek, you will cross another hump. This one is only 12 feet deep on top. There are quite a few stumps on it and brushpiles around it.

Here and in all other places, watch your electronics for balls of bait. Stew says if bait is not present, go to the next spot. Good electronics will help you determine if the bait is shad or herring. Herring are much bigger and—the opposite of shad—will come toward the surface in bright sun. Baitfish determine the location of bass, as well as which size baits to cast.

Fish over any brush with topwater, and then count down baits between the surface and the top of the brush. After trying them, work the bottom for fish that will not come up.

No. 9: N 34º 12.333 – W 83º 58.295 — Go across the river to the river side of the big island upstream of Three Sisters Island. About halfway up the big island, three danger markers make a triangle with two near the bank and one closer to the river channel.

Stop out from the outer marker in 60 feet of water, and idle around to find a ledge dropping from 20 to 25 feet down to 60 feet quickly. Stew has about 13 brushpiles marked on this ledge.

Fish the entire area. Try for active fish first with topwater and suspended fish baits, and then go to the bottom. For his drop shot, Stew rigs a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm or Roboworm about a foot above a 3/8-oz. sinker. He casts it, moving it slowly by any fish-holding cover, or he gets right on top of the cover or any fish spotted on his electronics and fishes vertically.

No. 10: N 34º 12.534 – W 84º 00.385 — Go around to the mouth of Two Mile Creek, and stop out in the middle between channel marker 5TM and the tip of the big island between the river and creek. Idle toward the clay bank on the island, and watch for a hump coming up to about 22 feet deep.

Fish all around the hump with all your baits. When fishing is super slow, Stew keeps a Neko-rigged worm with a 3/32-oz. weight in the tail and lets if fall slowly to the bottom. He then works it slowly along the bottom for inactive fish.

Spots move constantly, following baitfish. These 10 locations give you an idea of the kinds of places Stew fishes. Then you can learn how to find and catch August spots at other locations.

Editor’s Note: George Stewart “Stew” Medlin passed away on Sept. 20, 2023. In addition to being a fishing guide, Stew was the longtime bar manager at Gino’s NY Pizza Bar in Atlanta, where the bar has been renamed Stew’s Watering Hole in his honor.

Stew’s Obituary


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