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Aldrich: Bass looking for winter location

POSTED: December 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The corps have decided to slow the outflow rate in an attempt to hold more water when the spring rains occur. The lake is down around 20 feet at 1,051 feet (full pool is 1,071 feet). Lake temperatures are any where from the lower 50s to upper 40s. The main lake and creeks are clear and the Chattahoochee River is still stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass

Fishing has been slower this week but someone always figures them out. The bass seem to have moved out deeper with the colder weather, and they are starting to set up in their winter locations. Several methods work best on these deeper fish but the best choice is a vertical presentation. Use your Humminbird Electronics and cruise over the deeper creek channels or steep rock banks where the timberlines start. Look for clouds of bait or arcs and lines that indicate fish close to the bottom. Lower a ½- or 5/8-ounce white and silver Hopkins or Flex-It jigging spoon and hop it up and down just off the bottom. Switch out the hooks to a light wire No. 4 Gamakatsu Treble. These lighter hooks are sharper than the stock ones and they will straighten out and allow you to retrieve your spoon if it hangs up on the bottom. You can also use a drop-shot rig and, like with the jigging spoon, fish directly over where you show fish on your finder. My drop-shot rig consists of 6 or 8-pound Berkley Transition fluorocarbon, a size two Gamakatsu drop-shot hook with a small ¼- ounce Tru-Tungsten drop-shot weight tied about a foot below the hook. These methods can be very productive for catching bass in the dead of winter when most other anglers struggle.

If you are not locating deeper fish, then look for bluffs or steeper banks that have rocks and stair- step a SPRO K-Finesse Wide Bite Jig down from the bank on down to 40 feet. Pay close attention to the depth where you get bites. This will allow you to target the most productive depths. Other lures are working fair for bass Jerk Baits (I am partial to the SPRO McStick), crank baits and others will work well when the bass are active during the day. Medium shiners or small trout will entice some trophy spots and largemouth when all else fails.

Stripers

Fishing is still great, and wintertime is when these large, hard-fighting fish move into the shallows. The best advise this week is to watch the birds. Seagulls are an easy giveaway to where the bait and stripers are located. The gulls will also dive around where loons are feeding. This is OK because the loons eat the same bait that stripers do and they are usually mixed in together. Try to find gulls that are feeding in the shallows as they tend to be eating threadfin shad and they will stay put in the area longer. Use flat lines (a line with just a hook and bait with no sinker so the bait can move about freely) or a planer board to get your baits up close to the bank as many of these fish are in less than 20 feet of water. Small trout, bluebacks and medium shiners are all working well. Check in with Hammond’s Bait and Tackle for up to date reports and the best live bait in town.

Crappie

Fishing is a little slower this week with the cooler weather. They are hanging out around the timberlines and on the marina docks at 20 feet or deeper. Live bait on a down line or small jigs worked slowly on 4-pound test will coax these fish into bitting.

Trout on the Chattahoochee

Fishing is OK. The stained water should be clearing soon. Try twitching a sinking Rapalas around the rapids or fish live worms in the deeper pools. Anglers fishing with live bait below the damn have been catching fish.

Eric Aldrich is a part time outdoor writer, bass fisherman and is sponsored by Humminbird, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammonds Fishing and Boat Storage. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from his readers so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing.



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