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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass fishing slow but yielding quality fish
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s current level is 1,069.98 feet, or 1.02 feet below the normal level 1,071 feet. Water temperatures have averaged around 49 degrees.

The main lake water is clear. The creeks and rivers are slightly stained. There may be some muddy areas where rain inflow occurs, but the water clarity is decent everywhere.

The lower Chattahoochee River is clear to slightly stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been tough for most, but some anglers have keyed into the clues of winter fishing and they are catching! The bites have been few, but the ones that are biting have mostly been quality fish.

The morning bite has been good, so it pays to be on the water early. Some of the best areas have been close to where the stripers, gulls and loons are diving on bait. Lures like a SPRO McStick 110, Flexit Spoon, SPRO Bucktail or swimming a Big Bites Suicide Shad can work well when casting to schooling fish. You may have to work through some stripers, but most anglers are OK with that.

If you miss the schooling action, it still pays to get out early. Find the deeper fish around steep, rocky banks or ditch drop offs away from the shore. The deeper docks are also good areas to exploit.

The bass have been keying in on shad and crawfish. Early in the morning or on warm afternoons the SPRO RkCrawler crank bait worked around rocky banks has scored some bites. Dragging a jig or shaky head worm like a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm or a Big Bites

Baits Finesse worm around these steep banks is slow fishing, but it will reward you with some good bites.

Winter time bass fishing can yield several bites and a 5-fish limit of bass over 14-inches long or longer is a great way to judge your results!

Striper fishing has been good or fair depending on where and how you fish. The fish are shallower in the mornings but will move deep as the sun rises over the horizon.

We have found the stripers early towards the back of the creeks. The gulls and loons have been diving on baits and you can bet the stripers are all in the middle of the fray.

The best action has been early around clay and rocky humps that are half way in the back of the creeks and long pockets. The gulls diving on bait are easy to see but we often see fish swirling on the surface when no birds are present.

Pulling a Captains’ Mack Umbrella Rig has worked well early in the mornings and on over cast days. Plan to run your rigs at 20-feet deep.

Flat lines have been working best in the early hours. Switch over to down lines as the morning moves into the afternoon. There have been some fish in the 25 to 45-foot water column but there are also some deep fish in 55 to 75-foot so keep an open mind and watch your Lowrance Electronics for clues of where to fish.

The crappie fishing has been good if you can locate the early season fish. Quality Electronics will help anglers to narrow down the best areas.

Use live crappie minnows on down lines around areas from 15 to 25-feet that have brush. Slowly fish a small crappie jig deep around brush and wood cover.

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