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The Bite -Lake Allatoona fishing report/forecast - September 2023

Greetings, fellow anglers! There are still plenty of summer-like days to enjoy through the next month or so. Here in North Georgia, we are going to feel a little cool down coming into September, but we are still going to be concentrating on what has been working through August on lovely Lake Allatoona. This summer has shown a few consistencies on the reservoir. Water levels have maintained right at 840 feet full-pool. Water temps have stayed in the low to mid 80 degree mark. There are days when the fish bite when it is your day to fish, and then there are days when lockjaw appears to prevail. 

In this month's forecast we will concentrate on the "Linesides" - Striped Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass and White Bass. Just like the other species in the Etowah River and Reservoir, the recently established forage base addition of herring has slightly altered the established patterns and behaviors that were previously much easier to predict. This is both for the angler and likely even the fish themselves. The herring move differently. They do not tend to relate to the same structure patterns that the threadfin shad do. As the herring have become a quite established and proliferant food source, getting to know how and why they move around could be a key to finding your target species. Oh, to be a little herring for a week and live to tell you the tale of what my friends are thinking and doing.

As we're starting to see better schooling of fish again after some dog days of summer, select patterns are still going to be the most effective overall. We are starting to find some good schools piling up along the channel bends, especially where structure and channels meet. Marinas and long points are about the only set of obvious structures here on Allatoona. The clear cutting of the lands prior to flooding make this reservoir somewhat unique compared to our other reservoirs where underwater forests still exist. Overlooked structures that do not have an above-water face include road beds, ditches and humps. Locating and concentrating on all the above-mentioned structure sets will better keep you in the right zones. There is a lot of water out there. Some are just for passing through and some are ideal for schooling and feeding.

Down-lining is a tried-and-true proven fish buster. This is where one may have a 3/8-2-ounce weight attached to the main-line (egg sinkers and other trolling sinkers with swivels are the way to go here) with a 4-6 foot leader of 8-12# test fluorocarbon and a size 2- 2/0 octopus or mosquito hook tied on the end. Most ideal hook sizes are directly related to the size of your bait. When using a smaller 3" threadfin, a size 2 hook is ideal. If your bait that day is a 5-6" herring, gizzard shad or larger, a size 1-1/0 hook may be more appropriate. 

For the most part, target depths have been between 15 to 20 feet down when slow trolling at around .5 mph. These delicate baits just don't last very long at depths below this during this time of year. This is mainly attributed to lower dissolved oxygen at deeper depths. As the herring don't tend to get pushed up when being chased by game fish, and rather tend to dive down, there are times when your target depths for active fish may be 25 to 30 feet down and deeper at times. When fishing at depths such as this, it is highly recommended that you check your bait every few minutes it hasn't been. Not much is less effective than dragging a dead bait through a school of active fish. 

Keeping a "free-line" live bait or two out with 8-10 pound test and possibly adding a small BB to a size 7 split shot in the mix is almost a must on most days. You might see the school hanging out 20 feet down but the active fish are only coming up to feed at or subsurface. When trolling, toggling your speed a little bit up or down might tell you exactly what the fish want and where they want it at. These same freeline rigged rods will often produce when pitching a bait across a point as well. To this end, another notable application of working a free line bait is slow trolling or pitching/casting these up in the flats or onto long points both in the a.m. and early p.m. hours into dark.

Sometimes live bait is just not your jam. It is not always easy to procure fresh and frisky live bait. That's ok. There are several artificial techniques that can work well such as trolling and casting Alabama rigs (we love Captain Mack's Minis and Picasso bladed a-rigs) and larger umbrella rigs, as well as diving jerkbaits and crankbaits. Depending on your electric motor thrust and top mph, you might even be able to troll these in stealth mode without the outboard running. Fact is that there are times when scouting that these are the best baits and tools for the job. There are also certain times where (and for a multitude of reasons) that the artificial bite is the key to getting fish in the boat on any given day.Spooning with 3-6" spoons is its own technique and previously reported on in other issues. This has been a solid bite for the right times when our crew and techniques align.

We have been hammering the spotted bass. Through this summer, it has been predominantly on live bait while working on keeping up with the linesides. However, there have not been many trips out that we have not caught one or three or even smashed 10-20+ spotted bass on a small topwater such as a zara puppy, showerblow .77 or a few other specialty lures that we keep on hand and ready to throw. This bite has also morphed and we are doing best on the Spots when they are pushing threadfin toward the top during the heat of the day.

Now, let's go fishing! We do hope that some information gleaned here will help you get on to the bite. If you are considering a full-service fishing adventure with as much instruction as we can provide during our time together, we would sure love to have you aboard our boats. Please do not hesitate to call or message us at 404-919-4918 or email us: heronoutdooradventures@gmail.com, any time. From first-time to advanced anglers, from kids to corporate trips, we truly feel we have something to offer everybody. Most of all, we love making new friends. God bless you and tight lines, friends!

 

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