“The Southern Tackle Box”
The Changing of the Season
Several years back I moved to the Atlanta area, coming from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area. When we moved it was the middle of summer and we got to experience those “Hotlanta” days of summer first hand. The humidity was a bit lower than the gulf coast but for a while we thought we had went from the fire to the frying pan. Then came fall. The first thing I started to notice around the lake was the changing colors of the lakes surrounding trees. It seemed so surreal to see the lake glassed over in the early morning or evening and the reflection of the colors across the lake. When I think of fall I think of baseball play-offs, the Nascar chase, football and big stripers in cooler water. As October approaches we start seeing signs of a lake turnover in the form of bubbles streaking from the bottom up and the stratification that has occurred over the summer is erased by the sinking cooler water from shorter days and cooler surface water temps. This year is going to be unique on Lake Lanier because of the cooler water temperatures throughout the summer and the lack of a defined thermocline.
As I write this column the water temperatures have lowered into the upper 70’s and I’m starting to feel hints of fall in the air and I’m starting to see the same on the water. We have been seeing groups of threadfins on the surface being chased by stripers and bass from the backs of the creeks to the mouth. There are also schools of stripers around the main lake chasing bluebacks to the surface in large numbers and if you’re lucky enough to be within casting distance of these school, the rewards can be great. Topwater baits are a sure bet with these surface feeding fish and you can even sneak a bucktail into the mix with some success. Octobers cooler river water temps can beckon the bigger stripers up river to avoid the unstable waters of the turnover. You can bet I’ll be making a trip up river in October to search for big hungry stripers. If you can get some rainbow trout or a few medium to large gizzard shad and find some 60-65 degree water you may find a good sized striper or two. The trick is to find the good water in October. If you are using trout for bait in October, the fish are going to be a bit reluctant to inhale the bait and short strikes will be common. Stingers are a good option for bigger baits in October. October is time to break out the planer boards and hit the upper end of the lake along the river channel or main lake creek points with live bait and keep a topwater or bucktail handy for the surfacing fish. There are numerous schools of stripers moving around the lake right now, like a big feeding machine and seeing them on the surface will not be uncommon in October so get out and enjoy the fall colors and the awesome fall fishing!