Lake levels are holding well and are currently at 1,060.52 or 10.48 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071.
The main lake and creeks mouths are clear. The creeks and rivers are slightly to very stained.
Lake surface temperatures are averaging 50 degrees at the time of this writing, but will most likely rise with the warmer-than-seasonal weather forecasted. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear.
Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: Fishing has been good. Some anglers are catching bass much shallower than normal for this time of year.
While some bass are shallower, there are still plenty closer to the seasonal norm for winter.
The warm weather forecast for the next week will ensure that bass fans can choose from a variety of techniques and locations. Get out and go fishing.
Bass are cold-blooded creatures. In the winter, they have a slower metabolism.
These fish like to be able to move from shallow to deep water without moving long distances.
Bluff walls, ditches or river and creek channels allow bass to move up and down through the water column quickly.
Ditches continue to be excellent areas to target this week.
You can catch some big spotted and largemouth bass right now. Cast a SPRO Little John DD or Fat Papa. Retrieve your lure so that it stays in contact with the bottom.
Most of your strikes will occur when the lure deflects off of rocks or stumps.
Use natural colors where the water is clear.
Switch over to brighter hues where the water has some color to it.
In stained or muddy water, you can switch to something with more vibration like a Chatter Bait or Colorado blade spinner bait. Whatever lure you chose, make sure to utilize a slow-steady retrieve.
A jig will catch bass both shallow and deep. Docks that have ditch or creek channels running close to them that are bass magnets. A 5/8-ounce jig with a twin-curly tail trailer is a great choice.
In winter, you may have better luck dragging your jig instead of hopping it off the bottom.
A quality rod like my Kissel Krafts Custom seven-foot signature series with Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon line will greatly help you to feel the soft bites that often occur in winter. As soon as you feel a bite, set the hook because, as my dad always told me ‘fish don’t have hands.’
The drop shot rig has been catching the highest numbers of bass on any given day right now. You will need quality electronics like my Humminbird graphs to see fish below your boat. Drop a Big Bites Shaking Squirrel with a light Gamakatsu hook down to any fish that you see on your screen.
A lot of fish have been hitting the drop shot on the fall. Most will eat the worm as you shake it on the bottom.
Even if you are fishing other techniques, keep a drop shot rig ready at all times to pick up some bonus fish during the day.
With this warm weather so defiant, keep an open mind. Other techniques like an underspin, jigging spoon, jig head worm, Alabama rig or even a Carolina or Texas rigged worm may work well right now.
Striper fishing has been up and down, but you can have some awesome catching during the right conditions.
Fishing this week seems to be best on overcast days and early in the mornings whereas sunny days seem to have been a little tougher at times. The stripers have been both shallow and deep.
Make sure to keep your options open.
Keep an eye out for the birds. In areas birds are actively feeding on shad, the fish below the surface will be doing the same. Gulls, loons, king fishers and other aquatic birds are great indicators of where baitfish and the predatory fish that target them are located.
Also, keep a watchful eye on your Humminbird Electronics.
Your electronics are crucial for not only determining the best areas to start fishing, but also are essential tools for determining what depth to set your lines.
The shallower stripers are concentrating on the smaller, more abundant threadfin shad.
These bait fish are usually no longer than 2 to 3 inches. Smaller bait and lures will coax more bites from the fish targeting them.
Pull medium shiners and smaller blueback herring on flat and downlines. When you add planner boards to your spread you can more than double the area of water your cover, which will greatly increase your odds. Fishing with smaller baits will get you more bites, but don’t be afraid to add a larger trout or gizzard shad to your spread to entice a bigger bite.
Artificial lures will work well too.
Trolling umbrella rigs is a productive method this week. You can also cast the umbrella rigs smaller cousin, an Alabama rig, to any fish you see schooling on the surface. I have had very good luck this past week casting a Mack’s Jig’N Shad spoon to fish that have been surfacing within casting distance.
Crappie fishing has been slower for most, but good for anglers that are adept with fishing deep.
The average angler may find fishing 20-to 30-feet deep with a tiny jig and light line to be a challenge but expert perch jerkers can load the boat right now.
Use a 1/16-ounce crappie jig on light four-pound test fluorocarbon and target brush piles and docks from 20-to 30-feet deep that are holding fat crappie.
Tip your jig with a live crappie minnow to increase your odds and allow crappie to hold on to your jigs so as to feel the light bites.
Shooting deeper docks has also been working well, too.
Trout fishing remains decent in the mountains, and on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam. The river below the dam has almost completely cleared making for better fishing.
Fly anglers continue to catch fish on wet and dry flies.
Wet flies normally have worked best, but expect the dry flies to come into play on the warmer afternoons.
Live earth worms, where permitted, will work well year-round. Use this simple bottom rig.
Thread a small Aberdeen hook with a worm and set a 1/4-ounce split shot about a foot or two above the hook. Small minnow imitators cast up stream and worked with a jerk-and-pause retrieve is a great method for catching trout in the winter.
Bank Fishing: Bank anglers have been doing well catching stripers and bass this week.
Medium shiners or smaller trout will work very well. Keep your bait lively in an aerated bucket.
Use a small Gamakatsu No. 1 Octopus Hook under a slip bobber. A slip bobber allows an angler to easily cast thier lines out while still allowing to set your leader at any depth you prefer.
Always make sure you have quality equipment to ensure the fish you hook make it to the bank. Quality line from 10-14 pound test should be used for hard-fighting stripers and bass.
A strong rod holder is also essential and you can make inexpensive ones from PVC pipe.
Some anglers use high-end strike indicators. You can also attach a bell to the end of your rod for an inexpensive option.
Target areas where you see gulls and loons. It also helps to set up where the wind is at your back.
Many parks including May Alice, West Bank, Vans Tavern, River Forks, Holly Park and Wahoo Creek allow anglers productive areas to fish from the bank. There are many more areas so check the internet for other options.
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 me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing.