By Preston Harden
Water temperature: mid-80s. Water level: 1 and 1/2 feet below full pool
Fishing is in its summer pattern, and September will be mostly like August. By late September, the water should start cooling and the fish will start moving shallower.
Stripers and hybrids are mostly in the mid to lower lake. The biggest concentrations of fish are close to the dam area because it has the best water quality of the whole lake. They will stay in this area until the water starts cooling in late September, then they will begin roaming and feeding shallower. Blue-back herring on a Carolina rig works great. Lower the bait to the fish and hold on. Big spoons and big jig heads with swim baits work too. Using artificial lures takes more work to entice a reaction strike. I always have a top water plug rigged this time of year. You never know when they will come up chasing herring at the surface.
Largemouth and spotted bass also go deeper in the summer, and some people say the bass migrate towards the lower lake. I do see more in the lower lake during the heat of summer—they gang up on brush piles, 20 to 30 feet deep. Spotted bass school like stripers and if you can find a school of spots, there may be many of them in a group. They seem to get into larger groups as the summer wears on.
September sees the crowds go away. With school, football, hunting, and other interests, the lake gets quiet. The fish are still eating with no one around.
Preston Harden / Bucktail Guide Service, 706-255-5622 / bucktailguideservice.com.