Lake Lanier is above full at around 1,071.1 feet (full pool is 1,071). Lake temperatures are in the mid to upper 40’s and the main lake is clearer and the backs of the creeks are stained. The Chattahoochee River is clearing. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
I have been averaging between 5 to 10 keepers in an 8-hour day, but there are some really big spotted bass being caught so it can be a great time to go. Most of the bass seem to be schooled up so if you catch one then stay and work over that same area to increase your odds.
Many anglers are still reporting a decent shallow bite but I have been catching my fish from deeper water this past few weeks.
Both Jig N Pigs and plastic worms have been producing the majority of our bass. Target pockets in the creeks and rivers that have docks. Also look for the ditches and creek channels that are close to large flats. The channels are where most of your spotted and large mouth bass will congregate in cold water.
I prefer to use a K-Finesse Jig with a Paca Craw Trailer with a worm rattle for added attraction and I stair step these jigs down steep drops. I also use a drop shot rig and fish it directly over the bass I see on my Fish Finders. I feel like the jig catches bigger bass than the drop shot but there is a place and time for both.
A great lure all winter has been the SPRO McStick jerk bait. Choose your favorite suspending jerk bait and run and gun main lake and river points and pockets that have both shallow and deep water close by. Use a pause and jerk retrieve and most of the bites seem to happen on the pause. If the action is slow then you may want to let you stick bait pause for longer periods. Some pros pause over 10 seconds between lure twitches.
Other moving lures can work well when the bass are active so don’t rule out a Fish Head Spin or even the old reliable Rooster Tail. Cast these out and let them hit the bottom then use a slow steady retrieve.
This report comes from Shane Watson’s Guide Service and Hammond’s Fishing Center. The stripers continue to move further on back in the creeks and further up the lake. We have done well on free lined blue backs, white buck tails, and white lead head flukes. They have been biting blue backs better for me than trout.
Look for the birds diving and the fish rolling. Captain Mack’s u-rigs are also working well most days when the fish are deeper. Down lines are hit or miss, at best. You will mark a lot of fish when down lining right now, but they are slower to bite.
You will have much better success in the wintertime, if you will troll u-rigs through these big groups of deeper fish. I am not saying you won’t catch some deeper fish on down lines, but your numbers and action will be much better if you will troll.
We are seeing a good sight fishing bite on buck tails and lead head flukes casting to single rolling fish. This method is one of my favorites as it takes a good accurate cast and presentation to catch these surfacing fish. Most of these surfacing stripers will be 15 pounds and bigger.
These rolling fish have also bit free lined blue backs very well. This sight fishing bite will last all winter. Overall, the striper fishing is very good on Lake Lanier. The lake is full and the weather has been good for fishing most days.
The reports on crappie fish have been very sparse so continue to target deeper docks in the backs of the creeks that have brush piles around them. Look for water that has a little stain to it, as this seems to be more productive than the clear main lake.
Trout fishing is just okay, but the trout will bite in the winter. Use live night crawlers where permitted by law and rig them to stay on the bottom just below any rapids. Small in line spinners and small jerk baits have also been working fair.
The stripers are moving shallow during active feeding periods. If you find a productive area then fishing from the bank can be very productive. Continue to use live trout or large minnows below a large slip bobber or cast SPRO Buck tails or Zoom Flukes to active fish.
Eric Aldrich is a part time outdoor 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!