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Lake Lanier fishing report: Bass on the bottom feast on easy prey
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Lake temperatures remain in the low to mid 40s. The lake level remains at a very healthy 1070.3, which is less than a foot below the full pool of 1071.

Lake Lanier is clear to stained on the 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 remains slow, but better fishing is right around the corner. As mentioned last week, seek the warmest water you can find.

The bass have still been very deep and there is a shad die-off similar to last year. This means there are plenty of easy pickings for the fish to eat.

When the shad die, they eventually will flutter down to the bottom and these deep bass can hang out and just open their mouths for an effortless meal.

This scenario sets up perfectly for using a jigging spoon. The bass are hanging at around 50 feet deep on the inside of the timberlines and also in the creek and ditch channels at the same depths.

Find areas where you have caught bass in the summer and back out from the bank until you hit the 45-60 foot zone. Watch your electronics closely for lines for arcs showing up just off the bottom that indicate fish on the bottom.

Drop a .6-ounce Flex-It Spoon directly below your boat and hop it about a foot or two off the bottom.

This will trigger bass into striking this heavy piece of metal because they see it as a dying shad. Hopping a bucktail, FishHead Spin and other heavier lures can also work, but the spoon has been our best producer this winter.

Next week promises some warmer weather.

After a few days of sunshine, start to pay close attention to your water temperatures.

If the water at the front of a creek is 44 degrees and the water in the back of that same creek or in the pockets is 45 or 46 degrees, then that slight difference can trigger bass into starting their seasonal movements toward shallower water.

Longer, sunny days will help even when water temperatures stay cold because the bass are as ready as we humans are for warmer days. Stained water will warm more quickly than clear water, and windy banks tend to be warmer than still ones.

Jigs can be an awesome bait to use in late winter around the warming areas. Like other creatures, crawfish start to get more active as warmer weather approaches.

A jig with a craw trailer mimics these tasty, high-protein bass lobsters. Work a jig around steeper rocky banks that are close to the creeks and ditches leading into the shallower flats. Just drag your jigs down the drops and use fluorocarbon line to detect the light bites.

When fish get into water under 20 feet, deep-diving crank baits worked slowly along the bottom can also mimic crawfish too.

Live shad and medium shiners fished on a down line with a circle hook will work well for catching and releasing bass.

Circle hooks prevent gamefish from being hooked in the throat or stomach.

Striper fishing remains good, but you may have to move around to find the most productive areas.

The shad kill has not really hurt striper fishing too much and you will still want to pay attention to your electronics and also the gulls.

Look for groups of gulls and loons feeding, as opposed to one or two gulls flying around, to give away the best areas.
Both flat lines and down lines have been working depending on where you are finding the fish.

Most of the stripers in the creeks have been up a little shallower and these line sides will eat a flat-lined shiner or trout.
Cast a McStick or bucktail from the front of the boat while you pull live baits behind.

If you see a lot of birds around but there are not a lot of concentrations of fish appearing on the graph, then try trolling an umbrella rig around 20-25 feet deep behind your boat.

Keep your speed at around 2.5 mph, and move around until you see fish and bait on your graph. If you hook up with a fish, then it pays to troll back over that same area again.

I have witnessed guides boating fish over and over from the same 1,000-yard stretch and catching stripers one after the other.

There have been a few stripers out toward the creek mouths at 20 to 30 feet deep.

These fish will eat down-lined trout and bluebacks or they may also strike a jigging spoon or a bucktail with a Super Shad trailer.

The crappie fishing should pick up very soon as crappie are one of the first fish to start their migration movements. As of this week, the fish have still been deep in that 25- to 35-foot zone.

Down-lined crappie minnows or crappie jigs fished deep and slow can account for a good mess of crappie right now. The key word is slow.

Because of the mid 40-degree water temperatures the bites will be very light. Look for this action to pick up with any warming weather.

Trout: Jeff Durniak with the Department of Natural Resources corrected an error on my part last week that non-seasonal trout streams open the last weekend in March (not April 1), so this year opening day will be March 26.

We have so many great trout waters in Georgia starting way up into the North Georgia Wildlife Management areas on down as far south as the Chattahoochee River inside the perimeter in Atlanta.

The DNR is doing a great job stocking trout and other gamefish, so get out and enjoy your favorite trout waters this weekend.

Bank fishing: The stripers have been biting ok for the bank anglers. Try using smaller live baits like medium shiners or small trout.

Fish these on a bottom rig and cast your baits around any deeper drops near the banks. If the wind is blowing at your back also try a slip bobber with a live shad and the bait stop set at 15 feet deep.

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. I would love to hear from our readers so please e-mail me at or visit my website at Remember to take a kid fishing!

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