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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stripers biting well where you locate bait fish
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water rose again last week and is above full pool at 1,071.10 feet or .1 feet above our normal full pool of 1,071. 

Main-lake surface temperatures have been in the upper 40’s. 

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to stained with stained to muddy water in the backs of the creeks and in the rivers. 

The creeks, pockets and rivers are slightly stained. 

The Chattahoochee River is clear, but will become muddy quickly after we receive any of the common winter rain. 

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: The water is clear to stained. 

The bass are biting pretty well. 

A variety of lures are working well including jigs, drop shots, jerk baits, crank baits and small swim baits rigged on an underspin.

My lures of choice this past week have been a Georgia Blade Jig for numbers and a SPRO McStick 110 for some bigger fish. 

Work your jigs down any rocky steep banks and follow up with the McStick. 

Cast the jigs to the shallow parts of these banks and work them slowly down the drops. 

Cast and work your jerk baits parallel to bluff walls and docks. 

Work them with a jerk, jerk, pause retrieve. 

Bass relate to steep banks with rocks in the winter. 

Bass will suspend along the deeper dropoffs because they can move shallow to deep quickly, while expending very little effort. 

If you can locate steep, rocky banks with water-color transition from where stained to muddy water meets clearer water, then that is a recipe for catching bass.  

The jig has been another great lure to work in the ditches and along deeper dropoffs like the areas mentioned above. 

Georgia Blade has come out with a new craw jig designed by local guide Jimbo On Lanier which works great because it matches the crawfish the bass are eating. 

I also like throwing bigger jig heads like a 1/4-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head rigged with a Lanier Baits Finesse Worm. 

I dip all of my jig trailers in a mixture of chartreuse and red JJ’s Magic to match the orange tips of the crawfish on Lake Lanier in winter.

Work the dropoffs from 20-45 feet deep around ditch channels, creeks, and bluff walls. 

Just drag your jig and don’t impart any extra action. 

Crawdads just crawl slowly along the bottom, unless they are threatened. 

If you get a bite but miss, just drop your rod back down. 

The same fish may come back and give you a second chance.

Stripers fishing has rated from good to very good. 

They are biting a variety of trolled umbrella rigs and live bait on both flat and down lines. 

Remember that, for the most part, stripers are pelagic. 

This means don’t necessarily hang around a home area, but instead they relate to bait fish so they will follow the bait. 

That means anglers need to also find the bait to catch stripers.

Your Fish Finders and the gulls and loons are keys to having successful fishing. 

If you see gulls diving on bait, then you can usually bet the stripers are close by. 

Cast a SPRO Buck Tail to where the fish are diving and just engage your reel and allow the lure to just fall back toward the boat. 

Wait to feel a ‘tic’ then set the hook.

For the most part, live bait rigged on flat and down lines continue to be the most consistent method for catching stripers this time of year. 

Pay close attention to when you see ‘balls’ of bait. 

This can often be an indicator that fish are corralling up the bait into tight balls. 

Fish back over the areas where you marked bait balls.

Once you locate feeding fish, drop flat or down lines depending on the depth that you mark fish. 

Herring, medium shiners, trout and even gizzard shad have all been working well. 

Smaller baits seem to be working better, but always set out a big baitfish to trigger those bigger fish into biting. 

Trolling Captain Mack’s umbrella rigs or one of his smaller Mini-Rigs has been working well. 

Troll these umbrella rigs on 20-pound Sunline Natural Fluorocarbon and set your rigs back 100-130 feet back. 

Run your boat right around 2 mph.

Crappie fishing remains good. 

The fish are biting, even with all the muddy water from the recent rains. 

With the extremely muddy water, crappie can be very finicky. 

You can bet there are some dedicated ‘perch Jerkers’ who are catching them in the deeper brush and by shooting small jigs under docks. 

Target docks with brush. 

Up lake, the crappie have been pretty shallow in less than 20 feet of water. 

Down lake in the clearer water the crappie have been from 20-40 feet deep. 

Use either very bright colors or very dark colors if you are fishing muddy water.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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