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Lake Lanier fishing report: Bass fishing takes lots of discipline
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Lake Lanier temperatures are in the low 40s and we even found high 30s with thin ice on the surface this week. The lake level continues to hold steady at a level of 1,069.2 feet, which is 1.8 feet below the full pool of 1,071. Lake Lanier is clear to stained on main lake and stained in the creeks and the rivers.

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

Bass fishing has been tough, but if you use the right methods and stick with them, then you can catch a huge stringer very quickly. The bass are schooled up out deep from 40 to as much as 60 feet deep.

These deep-water bass are often ganged up in tight schools way off the banks, and quality electronics are a must for finding and staying on them. The good news is that once you find these deep bass, you may be able to catch a good limit very quickly.

Most anglers are dropping jigging spoons directly below the boat to target fish that appear on the screen.

When you find the tell-tale arcs or lines on your electronics screen that indicate fish, then hold you position and stay directly above the school. Very often these fish are grouped up in a very small area and you will have to make sure to find the proper position to keep your lure in the strike zone.

Once you drop your spoon, it should show up on the screen. Make sure the lure falls directly below the boat.

Even the least expensive electronics should show your lure as it drops down to the bottom. Make sure to keep your boat directly above the fish and your lure.

Very often you can see a fish rise to eat your spoon on the initial fall.

Drop a 1/2-ounce Flexi Spoon directly below the boat and when this lure hits bottom, reel up about a foot of line then hop the spoon in short, swift movements and let it fall on a semi-tight line.

Most of your strikes will occur on the fall and if you keep slack out of your line, you can often feel a “tick” similar to a worm bite. When that happens, set the hook. Most of the time, you will just go to hop the lure and your rod will load up with a fish.

Other methods will catch these deep fish.

I have been targeting the standing timber that tops off around 50 feet. Some of the areas have a 70- to more than 100-foot bottom, but the bass are hanging in that 40-to 50-foot zone in the tops of the trees.

It can be hard to determine when fish are in the tops of the timber, but my Humminbird SI (side imaging) unit helps me to determine whether the fish are present.

If so, I will back off of the area and throw a 1/4-to 1/2-once SPRO Bucktail jig out, let it hit bottom and then I will swim it up and over the top of the timber.

Let the buck tail fall below the treetops and the work it up and over the tops and then let it fall a little and repeat.

Almost every strike I get comes just as the buck tail breaks free of the treetops and starts to fall.

This is not easy fishing, but it will produce a good bag if you stay with it. You will also catch stripers and even big catfish with this method.

I have not targeted shallow-water bass, but I have heard some reports of some good largemouth that are being caught around docks and on the channel drop offs in less than 20 feet.

A Big Bites Kriet Tail Creature worked on a Texas or Carolina Rig will produce some fat bass.

The striper fishing has been great some days and a little slower on others. We have witnessed some nice schools of stripers boiling on the surface in the back of some of the upper- lake creeks and even down lake in the early mornings.

These shallow fish are a little spooky, but a couple of methods can work very well.

Pulling live trout on planer boards will allow you to get your bait out away from the boat and up close to the shore without spooking the fish.

Trout have been producing a little better than the bluebacks. Some anglers are throwing a cast net to capture the native threadfin shad that the stripers are eating.

These small baitfish are hard to keep alive and even harder to fish on a hook large enough to hold these hard-fighting line sides. I like trout because they stay alive very well in the colder weather.

The shallow-water striper are there one day and gone the next. This may require you to move around until you find the best schools.

Trolling an umbrella rig while you watch your electronics is a great way to cover water, and the umbrella rigs are extremely productive right now.

I watched a guide a few years ago and he was catching 10 stripers on an umbrella rig to every one we caught on live bait.

The umbrella rig rigged with SPRO Buck Tails with Dura Shad trailers is an awesome fish producer.

These rigs outfitted with the proper lures mimic a school of baitfish.

Once you witness an umbrella rig in action, you should be convinced because they look exactly like a school of baitfish.

Fishing for crappie in the winter can be difficult to fish due to the changing weather and cold temps, but if you dress right you can continue to catch crappie even in the cold.

Troll off the main river channels on flats in 12-25 feet of water. They may be there one day and not the next; it’s just a matter of catching up with them when they chase bait fish up on to the flats. Troll double 1/16-ounce jigs or double 1/8-ounce jigs, or try a Micro Spoons until you find out at what depth the fish are located.

Trout fishing is decent, but the bites will tend to be light. Cast live earthworms or night crawlers (where live bait is permitted by law) on a light line and a small, light wire Gamakatsu hook with a split shot placed 1-2 feet above your bait.

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 readers, so please e-mail him at or visit my website at Remember to take a kid fishing!

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