Lake temperatures have dropped into the lower 50’s. The lake level is holding steady at around 1,068.8 feet, which is less than 3 foot below the full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake Lanier is clear to stained on the main lake and stained to muddy in the creeks. The rivers and the Chattahoochee River are stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: The cold weather has kept most anglers off the lake, and that has made for some peaceful, yet cold, time on the lake. We braved the cold and got out and the fish have not really moved that much. There are still some deep and shallow bass to be caught, even with the cold weather.
The ditches of the main lake flats are still holding fish. Target flats that are 5 to 15 feet deep and find the creek beds that run through these areas and you should find the fish.
Jerkbaits worked with a pause and jerk retrieve have been the best choice, but Fish Head Spins and soft plastics will coax some of these shallower fish to bite.
With the colder than normal temperatures, expect the shallow bite to wane a little while the deep bite should pick up.
Keep looking for the depressions and ditches, but move out deeper into the 30 to 40 foot range. A jigging spoon is a great way to catch early winter bass. Quality electronics are a must, as you need to see bait and fish toward the bottom.
Position your boat directly over the deep fish and drop your spoon down to where you mark fish on the screen.
You should be able to see your spoon on the screen for the best results. I like a standard 1/2-ounce Hopkins Spoon and I work these with 20-pound Sunline Monofilament.
This technique is one of the few remaining methods where I still use monofilament. The monofilament will sink slower than fluorocarbon or braid and I feel that makes the spoon flutter and fall slower, which looks more like a dying shad.
You can also use other methods like a JigN’Pig or a drop shot rig for the same deep bass. If you have a hard time staying on top of these active fish, try casting your JigN’Pig towards the banks and stair step them down the drops. I use Sunline fluorocarbon with the Jigs and Drop Shot as you can feel the bites much better.
The stripers are seemingly unaffected by the recent cold weather.
As with the bass, you can find stripers shallow and deep this week. Target areas where you see large schools of shad or bluebacks on the screen. There have been some fish on the main lake, in the creeks and up in the rivers, so keep your options open and pay close attention to your electronics and also the birds.
The gulls and loons are out eating on the same baitfish that the stripers are. So often I see boats that see gulls diving where loons are feeding and they turn away looking for gulls diving where only fish are schooling.
This can be a mistake as I often catch stripers mixed in with the loons.
Loons are very smart and they seldom attack an artificial lure but the stripers that are below or mixed in with them are not quite as smart.
Cast SPRO Buck Tails, jigging spoons and even a Scrounger with Wayne’s Baits trailer to fool these hard fighting line sides.
Trolling Umbrella Rigs are a good way to target winter fish. Check in with your local tackle stores to get the best info on how to work these multiple lure rigs. There has not been any report of night fishing this week but you can bet there are a couple of brave soles out there catching them after dark.
Crappie fishing has actually been pretty good this past week. Keith Pace braved the cold this week and he says they caught some nice slabs both shallow and deep.
Trolling has slowed down a little, but try tipping a crappie jig or Microspoon with a crappie minnow and fish these slowly around the brush piles and docks that are close to small feeder creek ditches towards the backs of the creeks.
Trout fishing is slow, but I have seen some anglers catching a few below the dam. Use a live red wiggler on a light line with a small Aberdeen hook and a 1/4-ounce split shot crimped about 2-3 feet above the hook.
Bank fishing for stripers is probably the most popular winter method. Use medium to heavy weight tackle and target banks that fall of quickly into deeper water.
I also like to target steep rocky banks toward the backs of the creeks. Target areas where you see gulls diving on bait.
Even if the gulls are present but laying down they will still be close to the bait and the stripers will be too. Use live trout and fish these below a slip bobber or use cut bait to coax a big bite.
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 email@example.com or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!