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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stripers schooled in big groups easy to catch in cold weather
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level fell slightly from last week. 

The current level is 1,070.22 or .78 foot below the normal level 1,071. 

Water temperatures remain in the upper 40’s to the low 50’s.  

The main lake water is clear to slightly stained, the creeks and rivers are slightly to very stained. 

The Chattahoochee River is slightly stained, but the water is clearing up. 

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

Bass fishing has rated from fair to good and there are several techniques that have been productive. 

Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass population have been feeding heavily on shad, herring and crawfish. The fish are fat and healthy.

Start your day around shallow ditches, but don’t position your boat too shallow. 

The bass have been hanging around dropoffs from 15-30 feet. 

Our best lures for catching these early bass have been either a bottom-bumping lure like a Big Bites College Craw on a stand-up jig head or a 1/8-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head Jig Head, rigged with a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm. 

Another lure that has worked well has been to cast out a dropshot rig and work it down the drop offs like you would fish a Carolina Rig. 

Most anglers only consider using a dropshot to catch fish directly below the boat, but they make a great search bait too.

The shallow bite has also been working this past week. 

There seem to be some good fish staging around rock and clay banks that receive full sun. 

This action has been best on sunny days in the afternoon. 

The best banks will have a combination of cover and deep-water access. 

If there are docks, rocks, laydowns or brush, that just increases the odds that bass will also be there.

The best lures shallow have been either a Jig, a medium-running crank bait like a SPRO RkCrawler or a McRip 85. 

Drag the jigs down the dropoffs or fish the crank bait or rip bait slowly, allowing them to keep in contact with the bottom, as long as possible. 

Striper fishing is good. 

The fish are biting and they are grouped up in big schools, feeding on shad and herring. 

The stripers are fat and healthy. 

Unlike other species of fresh water fish that slowdown in winter, stripers love cold water. 

The fish are used to feeding on schools of shad and bluebacks in 20-40 feet of water. 

As the sun rises in the sky, follow the seagulls and loons into the main channels of the creeks to score some good bites.

Live bait is probably the best bet when you are around actively-feeding fish. 

Use live bait on planner borders, down lines and even flat lines when the fish are shallower in the water column. 

Herring and trout have been the best options this week when you locate the active schools of fish.

An umbrella rig is extremely effective for catching stripers in winter. 

Deploy a Captain Mack’s mini umbrella rig when trolling. 

You can also fish standard-sized umbrella rigs with SPRO Buck tails. 

While trolling with umbrella rigs, find the fish feeding on shad. 

The crappie fishing remains a little slow. Look for that to change when we get periods of warm weather. 

Look midway back into the creeks where there is stained water. 

Use your Lowrance Structure Scan to locate the docks loaded with fish.

Fishing live crappie minnows on down lines in the brush has still been a productive method for catching slabs. 

Also try shooting small crappie jigs around docks that have brush and other man-made cover.

Bank fishing: The stripers are biting around the shores of Lake Lanier. 

Grab several rods and rod holders and hit the banks that have deep-water access. Deploy slip bobbers with live minnows and set your bobber stops to 10-12 feet deep early in the mornings. 

Move your bobber stops as needed as stripers will be deeper during the days.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. 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 Remember to take a kid fishing.

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