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Aldrich: Winter angling can be great

POSTED: December 26, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The lake level is around 19-feet low at 1,052 feet (full pool is 1,071 feet). Lake temperatures remain around 50 degrees. The main lake and creeks are clear to slightly stained and the Chattahoochee River is stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Happy holidays to all of our readers. Here’s a last minute gift suggestion: If you are looking for something for a kid, try buying a Zebco 33 rod and reel combo. This outfit will cost between $20-30 and is easy for kids and adults both to use.

Getting your kids involved in the outdoors is a gift that lasts a lifetime.

Bass wishes for you and your families this holiday season. Bass can be a little tough this week, but the fish will reward anglers that are willing to adjust. The weather can be warm on some days and cold on others and bass will react to these changing conditions. If we receive a few sunny warmer days, then target stained water in the backs of the creeks. This off-colored water will warm up quicker than the clearer water does on main lake.

Locating areas that are only a couple of degrees warmer can often be the key to finding active, shallow winter fish. The baitfish will move shallower to warm up and the predator fish will be close behind. These warm spell bass will eat crank and spinner baits worked around areas where the shad schools appear. Cast out a Rapala Shad Rap or a SPRO Aruku Shad for these active fish. Largemouth bass will show up in these same locations along with spotted bass. You stand a very good chance to catch a trophy this time of year.

During colder weather periods the bass will stay deep and feast on dead or dying shad. Target steeper banks out on main lake or look in the creek channels from 20- to 50-feet deep. These fish will strike Jigs worked slowly down the drops or jigging spoons hopped vertically off the bottom. I know I sound like a broken record sometimes, but you really need quality electronics when targeting winter fish and my Humminbird 797c side finding unit cuts down considerably on the time it takes to find the best locations to fish.

 Bank anglers will do best during the warmer weather but that doesn’t mean that you won’t catch them when it’s cold. Wintertime angling can be great so get off the couch and go fishing

 Striper fishing is very good. The same techniques that worked last week are still productive. Fishing flat, planer board and down-lined trout and blueback, or trolling umbrella rigs are all productive methods. Striped bass are very comfortable in 40 to 50-degree water and that’s why they will move shallow in winter. You can often find schools of these large predator fish swimming around in 5 feet or less in the shallow pockets and creek off main lake. These fish are there for one reason, to eat. There are basically three types of baitfish that stripers target on Lake Lanier.

The small «- 3-inch threadfin shad, 4-12- inch blueback herring and the larger 6-16-inch gizzard shad.

Selecting the correct bait and size is very important. Check in with Hammond’s and they will be happy to let you know what is working best. Shane Watson’s Guide Service works closely with Hammond’s and is constantly updating them with hourly information on the best methods to try. Both Shane and Hammond’s want their clients to catch fish and will go out of their way lead you in the right selection for that particular day

There are not many reports on the crappie so assume that they are slow.

Some of the best fishing can occur when most anglers are staying home. Use your electronics to explore the mid to backs of the creeks at around 15- 25- feet. Most of the crappie will be relating to some type of deeper cover that contains wood.

Dock, brush piles and timber will all attract these tasty fish. Work small jigs and crappie minnow slowly on a down line for your best success. Trout fishing on the Chattahoochee River is a little slow. Continue to fish below the dam and around the bridges with live bait (where permitted).

On warmer days try fly-fishing with wet flies around the rapids.

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 aldricihfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!



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