Lanier: Level: 5.4 feet below full. Temps: 82 degrees. Clarity: Clear.
Bass: Excellent, says guide and tournament pro Ryan Coleman. “The level is dropping around one inch per day, and this draw-down has really turned the fish on. Spotted bass are schooling all over the south end of Lanier and attaching themselves to the man-made brushpiles. Topwater is your best bet right now. Start working a big Super Spook early, and don’t put it down until dark,” Ryan said. Work the Spook over the brushpiles that are 18 to 20 feet deep, and also fish the natural timber. “Look for places where the natural timber is in the 25 foot depths, and work it like you would a brushpile. Don’t worry about the bottom depth, just the depth of the timber.” After fishing the brushpiles or timber with topwater, Ryan said to try a Sworming Hornet Fish Head Spin. “Not as many fish are eating the fish head right now, but the ones you catch on it will be big. Before you leave the area, get directly over the brush and drop a small worm on a drop-shot rig over the brush. Look for the fish to continue in this pattern as long as the lake is down. If the water comes down much more, look for more fish to move off the man-made brush and go to the natural timber.” Tournament angler Billy Boothe said now’s the time to run-and-gun. “It’s just a matter of finding an active school,” Billy said. “Pay close attention to your graph, and look for the humps in 25 to 40 feet of water that have brush on them. Throw a pearl Sammy 115 using a fast retrieve over the humps. If that doesn’t produce, I’m doodling a watermelon Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm on 8-lb. test. The deep-timber bite for magnum spots is just getting fired up. Last week I had two spots over four pounds on three casts fishing submerged timber in 40 to 60 feet of water with a 1/2-oz. Reaction Innovations School Girl (an under-spin type bait). Look for the timber on your graph in 40 to 60 feet of water, and count your bait down till it’s right over the top of the trees, and use a slow to medium retrieve with the School Girl.”
Largemouths: Good. Now’s the time to head up the rivers and start fishing ledges, Billy said. “With the lake being low and falling about an inch a day, it’s really got the largemouth concentrated on the ledges and channel swings. Right now when you locate bait and brush on a river ledge, you can load the boat with largemouth. Just idle over the ledges in 10 to 20 feet of water and watch your graph until you see the bait and brush. When you find it, throw a Mann’s 20 Plus in a shad pattern using a stop-and-go retrieve to catch the active fish. Then follow that up with a Carolina-rigged green pumpkin Trick Worm to catch the inactive fish. Most of the wood cover that still has five to 10 feet of water under it is holding fish. Flip a 1/2-oz. Mann’s Stone Jig in green pumpkin, and you will get the rod jerked out of your hand. The fish that are up shallow will be the fish that are actively feeding and are super aggressive. There has also been a decent topwater bite on the same cover first thing in the morning. Use a small shad-colored Pop-R fished fast,” Billy said.
Stripers: The north-end creeks have been good, particularly Ada and Sardis. Try downlining blueback herring about 28 feet down over a 35 foot bottom. The thermocline should start to set up, and the past few years it has been between 28 to 33 feet. The striper fishing on Lanier is usually excellent in July and August because the thermocline concentrates the fish into a narrow range.