MONTH BY MONTH

January

  • Water Temperature: 44-48°
  • Method:
    • Flat lines, planer boards and downlines.
    • Umbrella rigs and jigging spoons on underwater humps.
    • Use planer board with big baits like 10″ plus trout or 12″ plus shad right up to the banks. Put big baits 4-6 ‘ behind the board to prevent unnecessary snags as the bait will try to swim into logs and blow downs.
  • Location:
    • Fish in or near the backs of creeks
    • FC2 around humps
  • Other: 
    • See fish boiling on the surface throw thread fin size top water lure.
    • Use smaller baits with #6 hooks and 8-12lb leaders and flies behind float balls, on Downlines and Flat lines.
    • Look for loons and diving birds. Be ready to deploy your spread as this time could be quite short over the bait fish.

February

  • Time of Day: 10:40am till 12:30pm
  • Water Temperature: 46°
  • Method:
    • Weighted flat Lines 100-135ft behind the boat
    • 80-100ft behind the planer boards weighted with a small split shot
    • Umbrella rigs and jigging spoons on underwater humps
    • Downlines
  •  Location:
    • Up north 45-50ft deep. 
    • Back of Flat Creek or other southern creeks.

March

  • Water Temperature: 50°
  • Method:
    • Gainesville marina – diagonal cork over 80’ bottom
    • Put a striper fly on a directional bobber
  • Location:
    • Pull umbrella rigs over humps
    • Downline directional bobbers over the trees in Flat Creek
    • Flat Line trolling on main lake points & humps
  • Other:
    • When using smaller baits use a loop knot on hooks
    • On short leaders use 2 beads instead of 1.

April

  • Time of Day: Early morning
  • Water temperature: 49°
  • Method:
    • Planer boards 1/4oz weighted 50’ behind the board
  • Location:
    • Shallow water
  • Time of Day: Mid-morning to 1:30pm
  • Water temperature: 64°
  • Method:
    • Weighted planer boards and unweighted flat lines
    • Weighted free lines between 70-100′
    • Flat line trolling on main lake points & humps (see Flat line chart in Charts)
  • Location:
    • River channel, river bends near channel and over trees
    • Lake marker 22 to FC 1
    • River Forks area off of main point in about 50′ of water
  • Time of Day: Midday 1:30pm
  • Method:
    • Umbrella rigs; weighted flat lines
    • Weighted planers in river channel
  • Location:
    • Back of Shoal Creek, Saddle Dike, Orr Creek, Mud Creek, Balus Creek, Flat 1-4
  • Other:
    • Top water lures
    • Down lines
    • Little Hall reef pole and other flats nearby; Chestatee 9-10 and LM 37
    • Chattahoochie River points above Hwy 53 bridge
    • Flat & Mud Creeks; FC#1 to LM 29
    • LM#1 & Rip Rap at the dam

May

  • Water Temperature: 75-77°
  • Method:
    • Pitching herring – use clear bubble with spin cast rod. Hit rough edges & points (4 casts per point). Lob 9 o’clock to 3 then let out line – wait one minute. Do again
    • Also try super flukes
    • Throw blueback behind top water lure cranked by partner
    • Planer boards: 30-50’ with and without split shot. Put shad right up on bank 25-50
    • Umbrella rigs on points if sunny
    • Top water on points if cloudy
    • Flat line trolling on main lake points & humps (see Flat Line chart in Charts)
  • Location:
    • C1 & C3
    • River Forks Island
  • Other:
    • Herring spawn May 20 to June 2
    • Look for rocks on banks
    • Look for sandy banks
    • When Side Imaging / Structure Scan on points look for specks
    • Open water in river channel – bluebacks 100’ on freeline
    • LM 29 to LM 31 with bluebacks & shad
    • Reef poles & points with top water – zaras & red fins
    • LM 36 to LM 38 by 2 islands around the back
    • LM 55 and Gainesville Creek on right by power lines
    • Flat Creek blue dock
    • Balus Creek blue dock
    • Mt View to channel
    • Elvis dock
    • Red Fins, any Spook, Super Spook – drag only, shiny Spook – sunny days before lunch.

June

  • Water Temperature: 85-88°
  • Method:
    • Downlining seriously stagger depth & put one on bottom regardless, fish one turn off bottom with gizzard shad and cut bait; back rods use 2′ leader; leaders – 10lb
    • Casting bubble w 3′ leader
    • Ben Parker spoon replace treble hook with single hook, power reel; fan cast Ben Parker spoon 1 o’clock, 2,3 and so on
    • Troll Ben Parker spoon with Lead Core
    • Weighted free lines 135′
    • Weighted planer boards 35-50′
    • Downline Planer Boards
    • Down line float balls
    • Downline herring 2oz at .5 mph
    • Spoon with a bend like little cleo
    • Umbrella rigs 75′ over 30′ points 
    • Clay banks heat up and draw bait
    • Big shad main channel 100′ back weighted and 50′ behind planer boards
    • Pitching herring at points.
  • Location:
    • River channel & mouth of creeks
    • Cocktail Cove
    • Mud Creek
    • Orr Creek
    • 100′ from main channel into Bald Ridge, Young Deer, Flowery Branch Creeks
    • Main lake points
    • Aida Creek in the bend
    • Chestatee bay
  • Other:
    • Heron neck stretched
    • Loons diving in same areas
    • King Fishers diving from boats and docks
    • Diving birds use binocs – terns and gulls
    • Creek falls
    • Go for bank runner when blowing up
    • Spinning rod with 8 lb line
    • When fish come up then go back down, power reel one of them
    • Use War Eagle spoon on 80′ bottom
    • Umbrella rigs in channel and at river bends main channel

July

  • Water Temperature: 86°
  • Method:
    • Lead core trolling with: Cisco Kid, Grandma, Red Fin Diver, Jake, Blueback on Bucktail Jig, Spoons, Bunker Spoon
    • Downline 100-120’ deep
    • Ben Parker spoon – drop to bottom bring up 10’ stop then 10’ more stop et al. Over trees and in trees.
    • Spinner Bait on Umbrella rigs
    • Dipsy Diver with braid
  • Location:
    • Open water
    • Browns Bridge to River Forks area      
    • Chestatee River – CR1 & CR2.   
    • Chestatee Bay from 2SH to LM 29       
    • Two Mile Creek TM1 – TM5
    • Six Mile Creek SM1-SM6                       
    • Mouths of Shoal, Baldridge, Young Deer creeks
    • “B” Buoy to LM18                   
    • Saddle Dike – Shoal Creek
  • Other:
    • Conditions that will trigger stripers to come out of trees:
      • Cloudy then sun comes out
      • Sunny then cloud covers sun
      • Windy then stops
      • Calm then gets windy
      • Right at those precise moments stripers see a light change above will trigger them to come out of trees to investigate
  • Also stripers have been seen on flat bottom in 15-40′ depth. Have downlines ready and use Ben Parker spoon power reeled or fan casted will bring school up to boat.
  • Power reeling spoon with:
    • Live bait
    • Flexi spoon
    • Bucktail with herring trim tail to decrease resistance
    • Drop shot herring with 2oz weight.

August

  • Time of Day:
    • Early – creek, lake coves & bays. Target 75 to 90 ft
    • Mid morning – deeper water in creek channel
  • Water Temperature: 81.5°
  • Method:
    • Small weight on blueback lines
    • Lead Core trolling
    • Downlines – LM24 to dam
    • Power Reeling
  • Location:
    • Browns Bridge to River Forks area    
    • Chestatee River CR1 and CR2
    • Chestatee Bay from 2SH to  LM29     
    • Two Mile creek TM1 – TM5
    • Six Mile creek SM1-SM6  
    • Mouths of Shoal, Baldridge, Young Deer creeks
    • “B” Buoy to LM18                   
    • Saddle Dike – Shoal Creek
  • Other:
    • Trolling bite better in the afternoon
    • Target: 45’ deep in morning; 70’ deep midday

September

  • Water Temperature: 86°
  • Method:
    • Lead core
    • Downlines
    • Lead core in the morning 8-9 colors with white on white
  • Location:
    • Early 1/3 back of creek mouth
    • Afternoon downline river channel and fairly deep

September to October

  • Time of Day: Early 48′ to Later 70′ deep
  • Water Temperature: Mid 70°
  • Method:
    • Downlines 48′ in patches of trees with any slight indentation in the creek channel or small bay off the creek channel; mouth of creeks up to about the 5th marker in each creek; if short bite occurs when downlining place a BB shot 10″ from herring. Also use an 8′- 10lb florocarbon leader on 15lb to 17lb main line
    • Lead core in the morning 8-9 colors with white on white over the 30′ main lake points at the mouths of creeks
    • Power Reeling very effective causing the reaction bite on 30′ to 50′ humps. This method is good for coming across several stripers in 15′ to 40′. Stripers will remain close following the reaction bite allowing downlines to be dropped at different depths with herring. An 18″ leader with at least 20lb mono or braid should be used with a 2oz bucktail jig tipped with a 8″ to 10″ chartreuse paddle tail or a Ben Parker spoon. If no luck on the 1st attempt it’s time to move. Be sure to have downrods already in the rod holers in case of a hit
    • Weighted directional floats to be used when downlining. This will allow more rods to be used. Use a variety of depths with the drops
  • Location:
    • The stripers are starting to move back up north. 30′ points beginning at Browns Bridge and heading north. Main lake points at the mouth of creeks in the Chestatee or the Chattahoochee Rivers
    • River Forks to Sardis Creek
  • Other:
    • Turnover lasts all the way to Christmas

October

  • Time of Day: Bite will be late morning to mid afternoon
  • Water Temperature: 72-75°
  • Method:
    • Downline 30-45’
    • Umbrella rig deep in river channel and creek channel
    • Lead core 8 colors over 30’ main lake points at creek mouths
    • Power reeling
  • Location:
    • Ben Parker spoon Saddle Dike, lake points south of LM9
    • Hit 30’ points at the mouths of creeks in the Chestatee & Chattahoochee rivers
  • Other:
    • Lead Core is slow bite
    • Move back up north
    • Use Red Fins if you see fish busting over 30-50’ humps
    • Top water plugs should also be used on surfacing fish.

November

  • Water Temperature: 64°
  • Method:
    • Downlines
    • Umbrella rigs on humps and brush piles in main river channel
    • Freeline Mud Creek to LM38 in 30’ or less
  • Location:
    • Target Browns Bridge to Hwy 60 from 10am to 3pm
    • Umbrella rigs over humps and brush piles in creek and lake points

December

  • Water Temperature: 54-57°
  • Method:
    • Downlines – dead center in creek channels
    • Umbrella rigs south of Browns Bridge
    • Planer boards and flat lines north  of Browns Bride dead center in creek channels
    • Downlines in large bays from River Forks to Gainesville Marina. Set bait on bottom and crank 2 to 3 turns.
  • Location:
    • Fish over bait balls in 4 mile, Orr, Mud and Flat creeks
    • North – planer boards and flat lines in shallow water with big baits
    • Sardis & Gainesville Creeks with Downlines
    • Umbrella Rigs 25’ on points and rocky shorelines from Gainesville marina to River Forks 

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This blog was created by Steve Scott and is dedicated to educating the casual striper angler. See my Striper reports in the Angler magazine and the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division blog.

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