Lake Lanier is slightly below full pool at around 1,070.5 feet (full pool is 1,071 feet).
Lake temperatures have been ranging between the low to mid 40s.
The main lake is stained and the creeks and rivers are stained to muddy from recent rains. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is slightly stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has still been slow this past week but look for that to change very soon as spring approaches.
The question this week will not be what lures to use, but instead where and how to fish.
This winter the water temperatures have been colder than in recent years and this has affected fishing. Just because fishing has been slow doesn’t mean that the bass are not around or not actively eating.
There has been a huge shad die-off and the large majority of bass are suspended or lying on the bottom just gorging themselves on dead or dieing shad.
The fish we are catching are very healthy but we have really had to slow down and almost hit these fish in the heads to trigger them to bite. Look for fishing to speed up as the water warms with the sunny and slightly warmer weather next week.
For now, we are targeting transition zones that have several similarities. Look for areas that have significant color changes or even mud lines. You can find these areas where the muddy river water meets the clearer main lake water and also where the clearing stream or river water is pushing out the last weeks muddy rain run off.
Also look for structure within these transition zones that has deep water with shallower flats close by. Stained pockets and creeks that receive the most sunlight will warm quicker than surrounding areas that are clear or that receive less sun.
The bass and bait will gravitate to warmer water this time of year.
If the water is in the low 40s try fishing soft plastic lures slowly around brush, rocks and clay from 25 feet on down to 45 feet or deeper.
I have been catching most of my bass recently with a small 4inch Zoom Finesse Worm on six-pound Fluorocarbon.
The bites have been very light so I am relying on my Denali Custom rods to feel these fish. During active fishing periods or in the later afternoons when the water has warmed a little, we have been using a combination of Fish Head Spins, K-Finesse Jigs. McStick Jerk Baits and the new SPRO 6-inch BBZ1 to catch the more aggressive fish.
When all else fails try live bait. Freshly caught shad, medium shiners and even live night crawlers on a jig head will all work and live bait is easier and more productive to fish with in winter.
Striper fishing is either great or just alright depending on whom you talk with.
Check in with Hammond’s Fishing Center’s new store for up-to-date reports that can be essential during the winter and spring season change. Fishing changes, and these folks receive information from Shane Watson’s Guide Service and other anglers that are on the water daily.
Bluebacks and small trout fished from 20- to 40-feet deep on down lines have been working well.
Flat-lined Gizzard Shad and trout have been better in the mornings and later in the day. Seagulls will give away the best locations.
Crappie fishing has been picking up and these slabs are fat and healthy.
Look for the warmer stained water in the creeks and target docks with brush and lay downs on steeper banks. Use crappie Minnows on a down line or use a jig or Micro Spoon and tip them with a live minnow. Work your jigs down in the brush and tree branches. You will lose some jigs, but that’s what it takes to catch them sometimes.
Trout fishing on the Chattahoochee River is good in that the trout are biting.
Continue to check generation schedules closely if you fish below the dam. Live night crawlers or red wigglers fished on a bottom rig will work fair below the dam. Cast Rapalas or a small inline spinner in the rapids and also in the deeper pools below the rapids.
Bank fishing for stripers bass and crappie will be getting better soon. Continue to use a slip bobber with live minnows, trout or bluebacks depending on which species you target.
Set your bobber stops at 10- to 15-feet down or use a down line if you are fishing from the docks for deeper fish.
Eric Aldrich is a part-time outdoors writer, bass fisherman and a member of Humminbird’s, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammond’s Fishing Center Pro Staff. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. If you would like to email him please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to take a kid fishing.