The temperature of Lake Lanier is in the mid 50’s and the lake is clear to slightly stained. The lake’s level is around 1,051.2 feet or close to 20-feet below the normal full pool of 1,071 feet. The Chattahoochee River is stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been off and on with the colder-than-normal temperatures.
There is a massive amount of bait in most off-the-creek mouths. Bass never stray very far from their food source, so if you find the bait you should find the fish.
I spend a lot of time idling around and looking at my Humminbird 797c side finding unit, watching for natural signs like gulls feeding or fish breaking the surface.
It is important to remember that, just like us this Thanksgiving week, the bass are also feasting.
As it’s been over the past month, several methods are producing this week. Some anglers are targeting deeper fish while others are doing well fishing shallow.
The spots get active during the day and they can be as shallow as five feet or as deep as 40 feet.
Use jigging spoons, jigs or Zoom finesse worms on a No. 2 Gamakatsu Drop Shot Hook and a Ú-ounce sinker for the deeper fish. Try a jerk bait or other moving lure for the shallower fish.
SPRO has a new jerk bait called the Mc Stick that works very well in cold weather and Hammond’s has plenty in stock. Cast this lure to the banks and work it back with a jerk-and-pause retrieve. For some reason spotted bass will come out of deeper water to eat a jerk bait, and the strikes can be explosive!
I have also been catching some magnum spots that are feeding below the striper schools.
Most people would rather catch stripers but not me.
I throw a « Rooster Tail, SPRO Buck Tail or a jigging spoon to where we see stripers swirling on the surface. Cast your lure past the schooling fish and let it sink to the bottom. This is where the spotted bass will be waiting on wounded baits fish to flutter down for an easy meal.
You can also catch bass and stripers from the banks. Try to find the deeper banks that change from clay or sand to rock.
Live bait or lures will both work well for your shore-bound anglers.
Lake Lanier continues to demonstrate that it is one of the best freshwater striper fisheries in the world.
The stripers have been biting great this Thanksgiving week so get out with your family and enjoy some awesome fishing.
Here’s a tip: You should be able to find the fish by watching for sea gulls that are diving on bait.
The gulls are God’s fish finders and they work for free! Gulls will chase bait driven up by stripers and loons. You can almost bet that there are feeding fish where you see gulls diving.
If fish are less active you will need to rely on your Humminbird Electronics.
Once you locate the stripers then cast SPRO Buck Tails or small spoons to where you see them schooling. Live trout on a flat line fished behind your boat will help increase your catches.
I also heard a report of one angler who is catching stripers by trolling a four arm umbrella rig behind his boat at 2.5 miles an hour.
If you are fishing from the bank try these areas which are usually good areas to explore in the colder months: Mary Alice Park, Holly Park, West Bank and River Forks. Bank anglers should also look for diving gulls.
The best bait to use is a live trout fished below a slip bobber. Other bait and lures are working well too.
Crappie fishing has a been little slower but they are biting for anglers who are patient.
Downline crappie jigs or minnows around docks or wood at around 20-feet deep.
Fishing under lights around the bridge pilings has been just fair.
The Chattahoochee River below the dam is very stained and trout fishing remains slow. You may catch a limit if you are patient using live bait or lures. There are other trout fishing opportunities available and Jeff from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources reminds us to keep in mind the delayed harvest trout fishing opportunities at Smith Creek in Unicoi State Park, Amicalola Creek at Highway 53 just west of Dawsonville, and the Chattahoochee River DH section in northwest Atlanta (75/285). Thanks for your input Jeff!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his new Web site at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!