Lake Allatoona is fishing excellent and we are so thankful to have this wonderful and thriving fishery at our disposal. Current Lake Allatoona water level is dropping rapidly as the ACOE has verified it's current generation schedule is actively bringing us down to winter pool level (823 feet). The current level at the time of this writing is 835.42 feet - already approaching 5 foot below full pool of 840 feet. Current water temperatures are in the 83° range lake-wide . The temperature this week in the upper Etowah at Shoal Creek was measured at 77°, and drops into the lower 70's just a few miles upstream.
Most notably, this drop in levels is showing a movement of bait from the back of the creeks to the mouths of the major creek arms, including Allatoona, Tanyard, Clark, Clear and Illinois Creeks and Little River. For those netting their own fresh bait, this shows the better concentrations of baitfish being found in the mouths versus under the bridges and other common holding areas that were go-to's just a few weeks ago.
These past several weeks have us very excited as the fish are schooling up nicely and there is a fantastic topwater bite we hope to enjoy now through October.
We have seen sustained topwater boiling of hybrids, stripers and white bass in intervals up to a full hour these past few weeks, though intervals of a few seconds to a few minutes here and there could just as easily be enjoyed. It is noted that the Spotted Bass tend to come up and down quickly, but with greater frequency throughout the day.
Always stand prepared for some great topwater action. Have a rod (or two) ready to cast that has a topwater lure or smaller spoon attached. While they are in a feeding frenzy, most any artificial you can get in front of them could produce. A lot of these fish are chasing and devouring small young-of-year threadfin shad that are still in the 1"-2" range, though they do not seem to hesitate on striking a larger topwater lure being walked or even up to a 5" spoon being pulled across the top or worked subsurface through the school. It should be noted that any of the 'larger' topwaters worked slowly may be ignored by the smaller ‘schoolies’, even when in a frenzy, but trigger the larger fish.
With cooler weather approaching, the big girls will be coming down out that flowing, cooler and highly oxygentated river soon enough.
Downlining: For the most part, the target start depth for downlining has been at around 15 feet down with live threadfins on a #1 octopus or mosquito hook. We have been catching as deep as 25-30 feet down over waters of up to 100' depths. Frisky bait can be hard to top at most times. Also free-lining threadfin or small gizzard gizzard shad is a proven and effective technique nearly year-round. This is excercised easily in conjunction with fishing livebait on the downlines moving at approximately .4-.5 mph.
Another notable application here of a freeline shad working exceptionally well has been after sunset in the 'flats'. There has been a great bite extending well after after dark and when these fish have settled to the bottom in 5-12' of water, they are often actively feeding and a freeline shad can outproduce most anything else here. There have been a few evenings that we noted a small BB or 3/0 split shot on a lighter line presentation with a threadfin has been the ideal approach, both moving the boat at .1 mph and especially slow-reeling the threadfin shad back to the boat and triggering hard strikes.
While the U-rig bite is always an effective method of locating and triggering bites from fish across points and humps, we have not been utilizing this method much lately as so many other go-to techniques have been proving effective. When applied, we have had success pulling a Mini-Mack about 100' behind the boat with a 3/4-1 oz. egg sinker to achieve the targeted depth and have received reports from a few using a full size U-rig with good results. For us, this method is being applied when scouting only or when higher wind speeds decrease the effectiveness of the other proven and currently effective techniques.
The Crappie bite is surely slower than we'd like right now. While we have not personally given them a fair day-after-day targeting, we had been pulling very limited catches out of brush on the South end with just minnows and believe that the bulk of these fish are still channel surfing and hanging on the ledges as well as living the good marina life, particularly on the North end of the lake. They will not elude us for long, especially when we set our attention to targeting them. The dedicated Crappie fisherman on Lake Allatoona are starting to see catches of 30+ fish on a good day while targeting the brush piles and spider-rigging with jigs and/or minnows.
Please continue to help us keep our waterways clean and calm. Take out one thing besides your own when possible. If you are out fishing, you likely even have a net to catch some floating plastic bag or bottle. Thanks in advance! Please continue to be respectful of others whatever their preferred watersport / pastime or watercraft type.
Tightlines! - Cpt. Joseph Martinelli