Water Temperature: 84 degrees
Lake Level: The lake level continues to be a great concern. The lake level is approximately 1056 and slowly falling. At this time, the boat ramps at Vanns Tavern, Charleston, War Hill, Balus Creek, East Bank, Tidwell, and a few others are open. As mentioned last month, I really expect the fishing this summer to be some of the best ever due to the lack of the normal boat traffic and it is shaping up that way so far. Even though the lake is low, the lake is safer than many people believe. It does pay to be cautious, but the lake is safer than most lakes across the nation at full pool.
Stripers: The most consistent fishing of the year for stripers is now here. The stripers are in very large schools all over the south end of the lake. Some of these schools will have several hundred stripers in them. Some popular areas include Vanns Tavern, Flat Creek, and Orr Creek. Be sure to stay in the main channel of these creeks. Most of the fish will be 30 to 50 feet deep over 80 to 100 feet of water. The best tactic to catch these fish is to downline herring straight under the boat. The downline is basically a Carolina rig used in bass fishing. You need a 1/0 or 2/0 Mustad octopus hook tied to a seven or eight foot 15lb. P-line fluorocarbon leader. Tie the leader to a 1 1/2oz. swivel sinker and you are ready to go. During the summer months, herring are the preferred bait to the stripers. It is very crucial to take good care of the herring during the summer months. A good quality bait tank is very important. If you do not have a quality bait tank be sure to take plenty of ice that does not have chlorine in it. If you do not have a bait tank trolling is also a good tactic. For trolling you will need a reel with lead core line. Lead core is a fabric type line with a lead center to help it get down to the appropriate depth. The lead line is color-coded and with every color you let out it will get your bait bucktail jig or lure down approximately four feet.
Bass: Currently, the topwater bite has continued to hold on with medium sized chrome and blue chug bugs and walk-the-dog baits like the Lucky Craft Pearl White Sammy 128. Typically, this bite will taper off as the water temperature increases. As the water temperature increases, the bass will move deeper and deeper out on the points and move to the brush. Once the bass move to the brush, the graph and GPS coordinates will become crucial to catching good numbers of fish. Once the bass move to the brush, live bait fishing with spottail minnows will become an excellent tactic especially if you have kids. Rig up a dropshot rig with a small light wire live bait hook on eight-pound flouroclear line. For details on the dropshot rig visit your local tackle shop. They will save you a ton of time and you will catch many more fish. Use a 7 or 8 ft radius 3/16” mesh net to catch the spottail minnows. The minnows will be on every sandy beach and boat ramp on the lake. Lure the minnows in with cracker crumbs or grits and throw the net. Be sure to practice throwing the net ahead of time in the yard. It is much easier to learn to throw the net at home on dry land. If you want to use artificials, use the drop shot rig with a 4-inch Zoom watermelon seed meathead worm or similar 4-inch green plastic worm. Small shad colored worms are an excellent choice as well.