Lake Lanier’s current level is 1,060.32 or 10.68 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. The main lake and creek’s mouths are clear. The creeks and rivers are slightly to very stained.
Lake surface temperatures are up from last week and are averaging in the mid 50’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: The much warmer than usual temperatures have made for some interesting fishing this past week. We have encountered schooling bass that are chasing lures that most anglers are more accustomed to using in the spring time.
These active basses are chasing small thread-fin shad on the surface and lures that imitate the smaller minnows have been producing during active feeding periods. Try casting a silver and black Aruku Shad, Clear/Chartreuse SPRO McSticks or a Mack Farr Jerk’N Shad spoon to any active fish you see on the surface.
During slower periods, more traditional winter lures like a jig or soft plastic worm rigged on a drop shot rig will produce better results. Target the steeper banks and ditches. Even with the warmer temperatures, the bass still seem to be relating to more traditional seasonal locations.
Early in the day, the fish may be up in less than 20 feet of water feeding on shad. As the sun gets up move out to the edges of the ditches and out deeper on steep banks and work a jig or shaky head down the drops.
Shallow docks near the ditches and the backs of the creeks have also been holding bass. Skip small jigs or straight tail worms on a one eighth ounce Gamakatsu Alien head. Always dip your soft plastics in JJ’s Magic to increase your odds.
Small crank baits like an Aruku Shad or RkCrawler are catching some fat Largemouth bass around clay banks and docks up lake.
Striper fishing is good and there are a lot of fish up shallow this week in the creeks both up and down lake. As with the bass, we have been seeing a lot of stripers schooling on the surface. Keep a small spoon or jerk bait ready at all times as these lures can entice schooling fish into striking.
Flat lines, planner boards and down lines all have a place in your striper fishing arsenal this week. Watch out for loons and gulls as they will give away where feeding stripers are located.
Watch your electronics so that you will know which methods to employ. If you are marking fish less than 20 feet deep, then flat lines or planner boards will probably be a better bet. If you see stripers deeper than 20 feet deep on your screen, then a down line will probably work better.
It pays to keep a mixture of medium shiners, small trout and herring in your bait tanks.
There have been some reports of anglers catching stripers after dark on McSticks and Bomber Long A’s. This action usually just starts to get going in February but with the warmer weather we may see this action get going earlier this season.
Crappie fishing is picking up. Shooting jigs up around docks is a reliable pattern for this time of year. Look for crappie to move shallower with the warmer-than-normal temperatures.
Your electronics are key tools for finding and catching crappie in the spring. Target docks in the pockets and towards the backs of the creeks and up in the rivers that have brush planted around them.
Look for slightly stained water from 15-to-25 feet deep. You can also catch crappie with small minnows on light line with a split shot placed about a foot above the hook.
Trout fishing is good both up in the mountains and down on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam. Rooster Tails, Rapalas and live earth worms (where live bait is permitted by law) have all been good methods to try. Try to get by with as light a line as possible and avoid using swivels or snaps. In clear water that trout prefer they can see this additional hardware.
Wet flies have been producing well all day long but look for dry flies to work well during warmer afternoons. Pay attention to any hatches you encounter during this warm spell.
Bank Fishing: If you find yourself below Buford Dam, then it is well worth it to visit the Buford Dam Trout Hatchery.
Kids and adults will find a hatchery tour to be very interesting even if you are not an angler. The Department of Natural Resources uses money collected from our trout stamps to fund stocking efforts all over North Georgia.
Pay special attention to the brood tank where they keep the larger trout for reproductive purposes. There as there are some huge trout in there! There are also plenty of trails located both inside and around the hatchery that make for an enjoyable family outing.
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 him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info.