Lake Lanier Fishing Report December 2011
Lanier: Level: 12.8 feet below full pool. Due to the low lake level, some ramps are closed. Check <http://www.sam.usace.army.mil/lanier/BoatRampElevations.htm>. Temp: 60 to 61 degrees. Clarity: Clear down the lake and mostly clear in the mid-lake pockets.
Spotted Bass: Excellent. Ryan Coleman reports, “Fishing has been excellent the past week with lots of fish shallow and deep. I am catching fish in 5 feet of water and some in 50 feet of water. The best patterns right now are working a 3/8-oz. Fish Head Spin early in the backs of pockets through the big pods of bait. Then take a 3/16-oz. SpotSticker jig head with the wide-gap hook and rig it with a green-pumpkin Zoom Finesse worm, and work the shallow docks and steep rock banks in those same areas slowly. This is producing both numbers and size fish for me up shallow most of the day. There are tons of very small threadfins in the backs of the pockets right now, and there are plenty of fish in there feeding on them. You can also take a jerkbait and work the sides of the docks as the sun comes out for some bigger fish. During the afternoons, most of the bait is moving to the pockets, and fish are feeding on them. You can work a small spoon like a 1/4-oz. silver Hopkins Shorty around these fish and catch some very big numbers of fish. I have had afternoons over the past week where we caught 50 fish just in the afternoons. As the month rolls along, most of these patterns will work, but look for the spoon bite and deep-timber bite to really become the main patterns as December rolls along. I have always said December is the best month to fish Lanier for big spotted bass, and this year should be no exception.”
Largemouths: Good. Billy Boothe reports, “There are still some good largemouths up shallow, but look for the deep bite to pick up in the next few weeks. The best bite going right now is working a green-pumpkin/orange 3/8-oz. War Eagle heavy finesse jig matched with a green-pumpkin Berkley Havoc twin-tail grub around isolated brush and rock. The best depth has been around 6 to 10 feet with a few coming deeper. On sunny days you can skip a green-pumpkin/gold Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper under isolated shallow docks to catch some decent fish. The better docks have been on rock banks that have a ditch nearby. The crankbait bite has been hit or miss lately, but when it’s on, you can catch some good ones. I’m running main-creek pockets and fishing a chartreuse-shad Bandit 200 right down the middle of them using a stop-and-go retrieve. If you don’t see bait in the pocket, run-and-gun until you locate some. As the month progresses, look for the fish to move out to the ledges and deep flats. It can be slow fishing, but the fish you catch will be worth it. A War Eagle football jig is the best for the deep bite, but if it’s not producing, don’t be afraid to throw a light Carolina rig or a Fish Head Spin.”
Stripers: Good. Clay Cunningham reports, “The striper fishing has improved over the last month. Stripers are being caught on a variety of methods all over the lake. Water quality is great lakewide, and the fish are enjoying it. They are feeding heavily and preparing for winter. On the south end, the stripers have been schooling on the surface feeding on threadfin shad. The best baits have been small artificial baits like the Ice Fly behind a clear casting bubble filled with water. The casting bubble is important for weight to make a long cast. A quality rod and reel are important for this tactic. Spool up a Pflueger President 6735 reel matched with a 7-foot medium-action rod like the Abu Garcia Veritas rod with 10-lb. clear Big Game monofilament. Tie the monofilament to a small swivel with the bubble above the swivel. Tie a 2-foot section of fluorocarbon to the other end of the swivel, and attach the Ice Fly. Use a stop-and-go retrieve on the Ice Fly. Most of your bites will be with the bubble sitting dead still as the Ice Fly drops. Give it a a try. It is a blast. As the water temperature drops in December, look for the baitfish and the fish to go deeper and push farther back into the creek. As this happens, downlines just like in the summer months will once again become the primary pattern along with spoons like the Berry’s or Flex-it. Drop downlines with medium trout down on top of the deep schools of bait and be patient. The schools of stripers will periodically come through the area. Time of day will not make much difference. No need to go out at daylight and freeze. Many days the best fishing will be midday. Drop the Flex-it spoon down to these same fish and work the spoon in a yo-yo manner, and almost all of the bites will be on the fall.” Shane Watson Guide Service reports, “We are continuing to see great topwater fishing most mornings and late afternoons. Spro Dawgs, Bone Spooks, Redfins, Flukes and white Spro bucktails are all working when the stripers have been busting on top. We’ve also had some great downlining in the mouths of creeks and out over the main channel when the fish have been up in the water column and active. Some of these schools have been amazing in size. Nothing like seeing your screen blacked out with a school of fish 60 feet thick.” Mike Maddelena reports, “Not much has changed this week. There is still some main-lake surface action on the south end of the lake, but it is continuing to decline. The bait is moving into the creeks in greater numbers. The early morning bite has been improving on long sloping points and flats. Target the points and flats with a high concentration of bait from the mouths of creeks to halfway back. During the first hour or two of daylight, stick to a 20-foot bottom with planer boards 35 to 45 feet out both sides of the boat. Run your baits 20 to 30 feet behind your planer boards and freelines 60 to 80 feet behind the boat. Herring and trout are working equally well. The difference between using herring and trout is the spots are aggressively eating the herring. Don’t be surprised if you catch five spots to every striper with herring. You may want to pick up a few extra baits when you start out in the morning. When the sun gets up, the fish will move deeper. Move with the fish to a 30- to 50-foot bottom, and weight your freelines with a couple of split-shots. Also, hang a couple of down rods over the side while you are pulling baits. Another approach for later in the morning is to run-and-gun points with down rods. Focus on the deep-water side of points over a 30- to 50-foot bottom. Drop a couple of down rods and cover the area. While you are bait fishing, always keep a person on the front deck casting a Captain Mack’s bucktail jig with a fluke trailer. Do not spend too much time in any one place. There are fish lakewide in every creek; however, the south end has been the most productive. Big Creek, Shoal, Flowery Branch and Flat creeks are good places to start. On the north end, try Ada, Gainesville, Little River and Wahoo creeks.”
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