Lake Lanier is slightly below full pool at around 1,070.4 feet (full pool is 1,071 feet).
Lake temperatures are in the low to mid 40’s and the main lake is clear and the backs of the creeks are stained from recent rains. The Chattahoochee River is clear to stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
The bass have been tough to figure out for most anglers, but we have been able to get at least a limit during a normal day, and the bass we are catching have been quality fish. This time of year you usually won’t catch a bunch, but your chance for a trophy is very good because the bass are feeding and the females will be full of eggs. Of course, you will want to practice catch and release.
Pay close attention to weather fronts this time of year as the bass will become more active during warmer days and also right before or as a front blows through. There are also active feeding times when bass will become more active. If you catch a good fish, then know that may indicate that you are in the middle of an active period so make your casts count during these times.
I know I may sound like a broken record, but these techniques are what we are using to catch our fish. Look for the steeper banks that the ditch, creek and river channels run close to and target any irregularities along these banks.
Our best fish are being caught on a combination of slowly fished soft plastics like a drop shot, jig head worm or a Jig n’ Pig during the slower periods.
Work these lures on the bottom from 20 feet on down to 40-or 50- feet to determine where the bass are positioned on the structure. On warmer days, you may even test shallower water as bass will move up and sun themselves on sunny banks or under black dock floats that warm the surrounding water.
During the more active periods, switch over to a SPRO McStick Jerk baits worked with a jerk and pause retrieve.
These fish have been slamming these stick baits even in water as cold as 42 degrees. Live bluebacks, trout and medium shiners on a down line will work very well to catch winter bass. Please make sure to use a circle hook so that these bass can be released to fight again another day.
Congratulations to local striper guide Shane Watson on his induction into the Fishing Hall Of Fame. Shane Watson and Hammond’s Fishing Center bring this week’s striper report to you. Also congratulations to Hammond’s on moving into their new store located next to the old store. It is awesome!
Watson says nothing much has changed on the striper fishing on Lake Lanier. Down lined blue backs and small trout fished 30 feet deep and shad body u-rigs fished 120-to-130-feet out are working best on my boat.
The fish are in most of the usual winter locations. Look in the deeper pockets just off the main lake and the entire lengths of the creeks up north. Some days they are rolling on top at daylight in the backs of creeks and the next morning they might be all the way out at the creek mouths down 30-feet deep.
The seagulls are up flying early and late most days. There are fish in the popular mid-lake wintertime creeks, but expect a lot of boats. I’ve got a couple of jig fishing trips coming up and I am going to head down south and sight fish for the boiling stripers that are down there.
This pattern was working well a few weeks ago before we headed north in search of better numbers of trolling and down line fish. Overall, the striper fishing has been up and down.
You might catch 20 to 30 stripers one morning and have to work for two or three the next.
That’s just the nature of wintertime striper fishing.
It can be some of the best fishing you will ever do, depending on the day. Over the next 120 days or so, you will see the biggest stripers of the year caught on Lake Lanier. We do catch big stripers throughout the year, but historically the next 120 days or so, are when most of the 30-pound plus fish are caught. Good Fishing and we appreciate your business.
Crappie fishing has been slow. Continue to target the deeper docks and Marinas at around 20- to 25-feet deep. Fish Micro Spoons or crappie jigs tipped with a small crappie minnow.
Trout are bitting. 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 can be very good for stripers but you will need to find the productive areas. If the gulls or loons are in the area you select then that is a good sign.
As Watson reports, fishing is up and down so if you don’t get a bite in a couple of hours, switch locations to increase your odds of success. Use a slip bobber with a live shad set 10- to 15-feet down or use a bottom rig with a live trout or use a gizzard shad as cut bait to entice the bigger stripers.
Eric Aldrich is a part-time outdoors writer, bass fisherman and is sponsored by Humminbird, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammonds Fishing and Boat Storage. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from his readers so please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web site at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!