Lake Lanier’s water level has risen to a healthy 1,070.07 feet or .93 feet below full pool of 1,071.
Water surface temperatures have remained in the upper 40s. Lake Lanier is clear to stained on the main lake and is stained in the rivers and creeks. The Chattahoochee River is slightly stained below Buford Dam.
Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: So often in the cold months I hear people say ‘Man, I am ready for spring fishing!’ or ‘Let’s go when the weather gets right.’ As I get a little older, I must admit I don’t love winter fishing as much as I used to but I do still enjoy it. The lake is calm and serene. The boat traffic is light and contrary to what a lot of people think the fishing can be good.
That being said, bass fishing this week has been a little slower than most anglers would prefer. When the water temperatures stay below 50 for a while, they bass are less active and only feed during certain periods throughout the day unless they are presented with an opportunity for a very easy meal.
A lot of times the feeding cycle revolves are shad that are shocked by colder weather which can wound or kill them. When this happens the bass often lay on the bottom and just pick off shad that flutter down to provide an easy meal without them having to expend too much energy.
This allows the bass to put on weight for the hectic spawning process. You electronics will key you in on certain clues but unless you find active fish they can often be so tight to the bottom that can be difficult for you to actually see the fish on your graph. If you see schools of bait over a ditch or creek channel, then it can pay to drop a jigging spoon down to test the waters.
A jigging spoon can mimic a dying shad. If you catch one bass, there are usually several more in the same area. This time of year, target timberlines and deeper ditch and channels from 35-60 feet deep.
On Lanier, there are basically two jigging spoons that have worked best for me. A «-ounce Flex-It or Hopkins spoon in white or silver. Use heavy 17-20 pound monofilament and switch the factory hooks for some light wire No. 4 Gamakatsu Treble Hooks.
The heavy monofilament will help you in two ways.
It slows the fall of your spoon and also gives you the brute force, so when you get snagged you can straighten out the hooks and minimize loosing lures. Drop your spoon to the bottom, then reel it up about a single crank of the reel, then pop it up and let I fall on slack line.
Experiment with you retrieve until you find what the fish prefer.
Other lures work on deep fish in the same areas. A drop shot, Jig n’ Pig combo, or an underspin like a Fishead Spin or other brand rigged with a white or pearl Big Bites Cane Thumper. You can also make long casts with the afore mentioned lures.
Cast them out, let them hit bottom, then hop them back beneath the boat and use them to search out fish you may not see on your graph.
Striper fishing remains good and stripers love this cold water in winter. Stripers are actually a land-locked, saltwater fish like a Salmon that comes into fresh water to spawn. Because they are accustomed to the cold water in the North and Mid-Atlantic regions, the cold winter water is actually welcome to these hard fighting fish.
The DNR now keeps a lot of lakes stocked with these powerful fish, which offer a boon to our local economy.
The bite has been pretty consistent. You can pick your favorite method to catch stripers. The umbrella rig has really been scoring large numbers of fish. This is a method that at first glance would seem easy. Just buy a U-Rig, put it on heavy line than feed it out and drive the boat, right?
Actually, if it was really that easy, we would all catch fish but many factors come into play for successful umbrella rig fishing. You have several different weight rigs that usually have 3 or 4 arms. The type of buck tails and trailers you use are also a big factor to determine the depth and action.
Then the line and the speed of your troll are essential things to fine tune. Hire a guide or at least watch YouTube videos and ask your local tackle dealer for suggestions on how to set up your rigs for successful catching.
Crappie: Our Humminbird graphs have shown some huge concentrations of crappie around isolated timber and brush at around 20-30 feet in the creeks. Docks with brush around the same depth can also hold some big schools of crappie right now.
These crappie are very lure shy and it takes a slow presentation to get them to bite. Drop a Hal Fly, Micro Spoon or other crappie jig on line 4-6 pound fluorocarbon. Work your jigs over each branch. You can make yourself slow down if your first cast hits bottom then counting the branches as you go up and over each one.
Trout fishing remains good. All the regular methods are working. Wet Flies, inline spinners and small minnow imitating plugs and live bait, where permitted by law, have all worked well this past week. There is some news on the horizon that many anglers seem to be divided on. The Georgia DNR is proposing opening all Georgia Trout streams to year-round fishing.
The DNR is taking comments on their Facebook Page and on line at www.gofishgeorgia.com.
This would mean you would not have to check you regulations about where and when to fish. Some anglers think it will deplete the trout fishery, while others say it will not affect the trout and that it is a good thing. Chime in and let your officials know you thoughts.
Bank Fishing: Striper fishing has been good from the bank. Many anglers have turned striper fishing into an art with multiple rods and rod holders, great off-the-beaten-path locations and a wide variety of baits. It often pays to scout out a few areas before deciding on the best to fish. If the birds are in an area and are feeding, then that could be a great way to start.
It also pays off to have a high quality lake map that will show you where the deeper channel swings come close to 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.