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Lake Lanier fishing report: Winter patterns prevail for fishing
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Lake Lanier is still almost a foot above full pool, right around 1,071.8 feet.

Lake temperatures are in the low 50’s and the main lake is clearer and the backs of the creeks are stained. The Chattahoochee River is stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

The bass fishing has been up and down, but anglers who know how to fish deep are doing well.

Deep winter bass are very easy to catch once you locate them, but finding the sweet spots can be a mystery.

One thing that will help is to imagine that the ditch, creek and river channels are like highways for bass. If you locate a ditch and you follow that out to the creek and finally the main river channel, you can bet that bass will be located somewhere along the way.

Finding these bass may take some time but once you locate them you can load the boat because bass in winter will congregate in a very small area.

Quality electronics are a must for locating these deep fish.

In addition, a sensitive rod and fluorocarbon line will help you to detect these deep bites. I have found the perfect setup for fishing deep: I use a Denali Rod ( and 6-8-pound Berkley Fluorocarbon line and I can actually feel every nibble, even at 40-feet deep.

I also use a Tungsten drop shot sinker, which allows me to feel the bottom. I can tell whether I am working rock, clay or wood by the way the weight feels.

We have been using a drop shot rigged with either a Zoom Finesse Worm or a small lizard and I dip these in JJ’s Magic for added confidence.Most angler’s fish these drop shot rigs directly below the boat but you can also cast them out and stair step them down the channels.

If you see fish on your finder you can also drop directly below the boat. Spoons and jigs will also coax bass to bite when they are directly below your boat.

These deep bass will also hit moving baits like a SPRO McStick, Fish Head Spin or crank baits worked deep. You may have to slow them down but sometimes, even in winter, the bass will hit aggressively.

This week’s striper report is brought to you by Shane Watson and Hammond’s Fishing Center. The striper fishing remains very good on Lake Lanier, if you are on fish and the weather is cooperating.

Before the passing of a cold front, look for the stripers on the surface and in the middle to the backs of most creeks.
Cast lead head flukes, Ø-buck tails, or small jerk baits to these rolling fish. Free-lined bluebacks and trout are also working well on these active rolling fish.

After a front comes through, or if the fish are not on top, down-lined bluebacks, down-lined trout, and Captain Mack’s four-arm u-rigs are working best.

I’ve had boats out on guide trips in the creeks down south, the popular mid-lake winter creeks, and further north, above Gainesville. The fishing has been good in all these areas.

The further north you go, you will find fish in the creeks as mentioned above, and you will find fish in the pockets just off the main lake.Keep moving until you find some active fish, either on the surface or on your graph.

Also, look for active seagulls and loons, as the stripers will be in the area. Overall, the striper fishing has been very good most days. Good Fishing.

Keith Pace, owner of Micro Spoons reports that crappie fishing is tough but they are still being caught.

Target deeper docks by shooting your jig in and just letting it fall until it stops. They may be deep one day and at mid depth the next.

Also, brush piles in 17 feet of water, or more, are holding fish. Try dropping a microspoon down to them and twitch it working it slow.

Crappie are wanting to look at the bait for a while.

Trout fishing on the Chattahoochee River remains slow, but there are always some fish that can be caught.
Three methods seem to be working best.

Live bait-like worms fished on the bottom will produce, but make sure to check local regulations because live bait is restricted in some areas.

I have also been catching a few by throwing miniature stick baits like a Rapala Count Down or Yo Suri Pins Minnows. This time of year a stop-and-jerk retrieve works better that a steady retrieve.

The last method to try is fly-fishing with wet flies during the warmer afternoons.

Bass and Stripers can all be caught from the bank. It helps to find an area where there is a lot of activity in nature.
If the gulls and loons are present, then you have found the right spot.

Cast live or cut bait out into deeper water.

Try using two rods, or more, and rig one with a slip bobber set at 15 feet, and the other with a bottom rig and let the bass or stripers determine which method is working best.

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 Remember to take a kid fishing.

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