Lanier: Level: Down 16.3 feet below full pool. Only a handful of ramps are open. Go to <www.lakelanier.info/boat-ramps>. Temp: 75-78 degrees. Clarity: A bit stained because of wave action on red-clay banks.
Spotted Bass: Good, according to guide Ryan Coleman. “Fish are making a small move up shallow and can be caught all over the lake in 15 to 20 feet of water. The bigger spotted bass have moved up from the deep timber and are holding on creek points and shallow cover,” Ryan said, adding that a lot of good fish are schooling. Ryan recommends flukes rigged either on jighead or weightless. “The drop-shot bite is also on fire right now,” Ryan said. “Big fish are eating the larger worms rigged on lightweight drop-shot rigs fished in 20 to 30 feet of water. Look for good clear water for the drop-shot rig. With low weekend boating traffic, the lake is not getting churned up this fall. On windy days, I am also doing very well on small crankbaits and Mini-Me spinnerbaits worked on main-lake, rocky points. Last week, we had a great day on the 5-inch Sebile Magic Swimmer swimbait. The fish were up shallow feeding on the abundant threadfin shad and were eating that bait alive. Also, a small lipless crankbait is a great bait on windy points all through the fall on Lake Lanier. Look for the topwater bite to really turn on by the end of October. Spooks and big chuggers will be the ticket. Fish will really get tight to the baitfish balls, so use your electronics as much as your do your eyes,” Ryan said.
Largemouths: Good and getting better up the lake. “There is a great topwater bite that’s just getting started right now in the creeks,” Billy Boothe said. “With the closing of Little Hall, the only available ramps are on the south end of the lake. If you don’t want to make a long run north with the low water, just stay south. The largemouth bite can be great in the backs of the southern creeks. Just remember all the spring spawning tournaments that are won on Lanier on the south end. Those fish are there year-round. Target secondary points and the mouths of pockets early with a 1/2-oz. buzzbait with a blue-glimmer skirt. Once the sun gets up, the shad will start to ball up around the floating docks, and that’s when the fun starts. Swim a 7/16-oz. albino flash TABU jig just under the floats with a pumping motion and hang on. Another great way to fish the floats is to wake a Mann’s Ghost Minnow Waker Elite as close to the floats as you can get it. Whatever you choose, don’t waste time with bottom-bumping lures. The fish will be in the upper third of the water column suspended under the floats, so be sure not to fish under them.” As October progresses, look shallow. “Your best bet is to cover water with reaction baits like a grey-ghost Mann’s 1 Minus or a 3/8-oz. white spinnerbait,” Billy said. “Just put the trolling motor down, and cover as much water as you can. When you come by any cover, slow down and make multiple casts with a watermelon-candy weightless Mann’s Freefall Worm, dead-sticking it around the cover. If that fails, flip a 9/16-oz. green pumpkin-orange Tabu jig and pop it through the branches.”
Stripers: Good, and it should remain that way until the lake turns over around the end of October. “The fish are still over deep water and the main river channel,” said guide Mike Maddalena. “According to the Sept. 18 DNR Temp./D.O. profile, the thermocline is around 33 feet at the dam, with low DO starting at 40 feet deep. Don’t expect your herring to last long when fished below 40 feet. Start looking at the 6 Mile Creek area on the west side and Flowery Branch on the east side. You will mark fish at around 30 to 40 feet and again down deep at 70 to 80 feet. The shallower fish are responding much better to trolling, either lead core or heavy U-rigs. The shallower fish tend to be the smaller fish.” Mike said the bigger fish are in the deeper water, and they’ll aggressively eat a herring since there’s no bait down there because of the low DO. “When fishing for those deep fish, you need to change your herring out every 15 minutes.” He also said to watch for a limited amount of surface activity and to try a Spook, Red Fin, Sammy or small Capt. Mack’s jig with a fluke trailer. “Most of the surfacing activity is occurring the first two hours and the last two hours of daylight, though on cloudy days, anytime is possible,” Mike said. “The afternoon bite during generation has been best. These patterns will continue until the lake starts to turn over. Once that starts, fishing will be tough for a few weeks and, then it will be flatline and planer-board time. The whole lake does not turn over at the same time, so keep in touch with friends and online reports to help determine which areas of the lake have good water and which do not. The fish will scatter quickly from the lower end once turn over starts.”