Lake temperatures are in the mid to lower 50s. The lake levels have risen almost a foot this past week and Lake Lanier is at 1059.6 which is 11.4 feet below full pool of 1071. Lake Lanier is clear on main lake and stained in the creeks. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clearing up. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: The bass continue to bite on a variety of baits and the good fishing should continue well into the new year. Normally, by the end of December the majority of Lake Lanier’s bass have moved deep into the creek channels and around submerged timber, but this year has been different. We continue to find the bass shallow in almost a late fall pattern.
The shad are schooled up in the creeks and, if you find them, the bass should not be far away. Look for areas where muddier rain is washed in water meets clearer lake water.
These mud lines create a perfect scenario because the shad will congregate around these water color edges where they provide excellent forage for larger predator fish.
Target areas where the ditch and creek channels swing next to steep rocky banks.
Cast a silver and black Aruka Shad or Rattle Trap parallel to these steeper banks. Try to make contact with any bottom cover. When a lure deflects off a rock or tree branch, it can often trigger strikes from inactive bass.
Other lures like jerk baits, Fish Head Spins or swim baits that mimic shad should work well.
The docks located between deep water and shallow flats have been holding some nice spotted bass. Dissect these docks with a jig or finesse worm on a Spot Remover Jig Head and pay attention to where you get your bites. You can often put together a pattern that will work in other areas of the lake.
Earlier this month, we caught most of our bass from under the gang planks. This week, however, we have caught them better from the front of the docks.
There are some bass out in the 25 to 40-foot range that will eat a spoon or drop shot. Pay close attention to your electronics and target the timber and underwater ditches in the coves and creeks off the main lake.
If bait fish schools are present and you can see bumps or lines on the bottom, then dropping a spoon or drop shop is worth a try.
Some of these deeper bass are close to the bottom so they can be hard to detect. If you have some productive areas from the past, they should start to produce as winter goes on.
Stripers: Striper fishing remains good, and there are several methods that are producing fish both up and down lake.
The gulls are flying and giving away the best areas. Down the lake in the backs of the creeks the stripers are both around the banks and out away over the deeper flats.
If you see stripers swirling close to the banks, then put out trout or blue backs on flat lines with or without planner boards.
The planner boards will allow your boat top cover a much wider area and also help to get your baits up against the shore.
If the stripers are away from the banks, then both flat and down lines will work. Pay attention to the depth you mark bait on your graph, and set out your lines just above the same depth.
Trolling umbrella rigs are working well in the upper and lower lake creeks. Rig one with SPRO Buck Tails tipped with Hyper Tails and run your engine at 2-3 miles per hour.
Use your electronics to show the best depths and adjust your rigs until you connect with a fish. Speed and depth control of your rigs are the keys to successful trolling.
Crappie: Crappie fishing reports are slow, but you can bet they are biting somewhere on the lake. Target brush piles located around docks from 5 to 15 feet deep. Use a down lined crappie minnow in the brush. Skilled anglers can catch crappie by shooting jigs around docks in winter.
Trout: Trout fishing below Buford Dam should be a little more productive as the water quality improves. Cast a small Rapala Countdown lure upstream and work it like a jerk bait with a jerk and pause retrieve.
This is a great way to catch hold over trout in the winter. These small minnow imitators mimic dying shad that have been washed into the turbines.
The year-round creeks in the mountains should have great water quality with recent rains, so expect better than usual winter fishing.
Bank Fishing: Many anglers have been out on the banks of Lake Lanier over the holiday break to try some striper fishing.
Buy a dozen large shiners and take a few medium heavy rods and reels spooled with 14 to 20-pound test lines. Make sure to use secure rod holders or buy some PVC pipe that will fit your rod handles.
Use a slip bobber rig and cast you shiners out as far from the bank as possible. It helps if the wind is at your back because it will keep your baits away from the bank.
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. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.