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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Target creeks to spot the best crappie
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Lake Lanier’s water level has moved down very little and is 1,072.66 or is 1.66 feet above the normal full pool at 1071.

The main lake is clear to slightly stained down lake and clear to stained up lake. The creeks and rivers are clear to slightly stained in the mouths and stained to very stained in the backs. The lake temperatures will vary up or down from the low 50s to the high 40s.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear and the water flows are heavy. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing remains good for anglers who are adept at fishing an early winter pattern. Start your days shallow around the pockets, secondary points and ditches that are holding bait.

You may find fish very shallow in these areas, but we have been starting out cranking a deep diving crank bait like a SPRO Little John DD or working a rip bait like a SPRO McRip around rocky areas from 10 to 20 foot deep. Reel these lures slowly and impart an occasional stop-and-go.

Other lures like a Fish Head Spin or jerk bait will also work well early in the day. If it is overcast or raining, this pattern can go well into the day, but if it is sunny then expect this action to shut down when the sun gets over the horizon.

After the sun gets up, move out deeper into the ditches, secondary points or around bluff walls with steep drops. We have been switching over to soft plastics or jigs to work the deeper depths from 35 to as deep as 60 feet.

A drop shot, finesse worm on a shaky head or a jig have all been working well in these deeper locations. Stair-step your lures down the drops and set the hook if you feel something different. Some of the bites may be very light and hooksets are free so set the hook.

Make sure to keep a finesse worm on a jig head ready to drop to any fish that appear on your electronics. My Humminbird 1158 DI has accounted for several catches that I would have missed had I not dropped down to the fish that I have seen on the screen.

There have been some largemouth biting up lake around shallow brush, stumps and laydowns in the rivers. Use a jig or a medium running crank bait like an RkCrawler in crawdad colors. Work these lure slow and you just may hook into a 5 pound plus largemouth.

Striper fishing has been good and there are a lot of fish biting both up lake and down lake in the back of the major creeks. The area above 53 Bridge around Holly Park, Wahoo and Little River are good areas to target this week.

The umbrella rig has been hot these past few weeks. I can attest that I have seen that trolling umbrella rigs can out produce live bait 5 to 1 or even more.

Trolling these multi-armed rigs is not as easy as just buying the rig and trolling it behind the boat.

You will need to keep your umbrella rigs running at the proper depth and at the proper speed. You can buy a pre-rigged umbrella rig at many of the local tackle stores or you buy just the bare umbrella rig and add your own lures. I like to use SPRO jigs rigged with Hyper Tails.

You will want your rig to run about 2 to 3 miles per hour at the same depth or slightly above where your mark fish on your graph.

As mentioned before in recent reports, hiring a guide to show you this technique or watching YouTube or other internet sources will help you greatly to reduce the learning curve.

Live bait has been working well too.

Drag blue back herring, trout, gizzard shad or even store bought shiners on flat lines, planner boards or down lines continues to catch a lot of fish.

The same rules apply as have in past weeks. Look for the stripers to be up shallow early and on over cast days. As the sun gets high, they will usually move deeper.

As you move out deeper, use your electronics to locate the best areas. Even if you use down lines keep at least one large bait on a flat or free line behind the boat to entice a big bite.

Crappie fishing is good for the angler that can locate the best areas. Start fishing in the creeks where the water has a little color to it. Trolling small Hal Flies, Marabou jigs or other crappie jigs is a great way to catch your limit of crappie.

Locate the areas where there are large schools of threadfin shad. Set out several rods on each side of the boat. Use your longest rods on the front of the boat and stagger then down until your shortest rods are towards the back of the boat.

Troll at around 1.5 miles per hour. Experiment with colors and if one color works best then change over to that color.
Shooting docks can be one of the most productive methods.

This is a fairly easy technique to learn.

Use a quality spinning tackle set up with a light action rod and spinning reel. Hold the crappie jig with your right hand with your index and thumb (or left had if you are left handed). Load up your rod and use your rods line guides like a rifle sights and shoot your jig by releasing your jig and letting the bent rod tip “shoot” the jig up under the dock.

Trout fishing below Buford Dam continues to be slow because the Corps is pulling so much water. Fishing in the mountains and the norther dam tail races continues to be slow.

Use wet flies and small plugs or in line spinners on light tackler to fool these slow moving fish. The trick is to cast and retrieve your offerings very slow.

Bank fishing: Fishing farm or subdivision ponds is a great way to catch some trophy fish in winter. Most people will be indoors on cold days, so you may have the whole pond all to yourself. Live bait or artificial lures will work well in these untapped waters.

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. I would love to hear from our readers so please email me at or visit my website at or Remember to take a kid fishing.

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