Lake Lanier Fishing Report – February 2010

GON Staff | January 26, 2010

Lanier: Level: 0.9 feet above full pool. Temp: Low to mid 40s . Clarity: Backs of the creeks and up the river are stained.

Largemouths: Fair. Billy Boothe reports, “The bite is pretty tough right now, but it will improve as the water temp rises above 50. The best bet right now is to fish ledges and deep ditches. Throw a Mann’s 15 Plus in crystal threadfin or firetiger using a stop-and-go retrieve. If the reaction bite isn’t there, position directly over the drop offs and drop shot a watermelon-shad TABU Whip Tail worm. As the water temp rises or after a couple days of mild weather, follow the ditches into the pockets and use a green-pumpkin/orange 7/16-oz. TABU jig, and follow the ditch until you locate the bass. Be sure to check staging areas along the ditches such as docks and lay downs. The best bait is a watermelon-candy Mann’s Freefall worm fished weightless. Toward the end of the month look for a decent move shallow. Target shallow chunk on rock secondary points with a white Mann’s spinnerbait or a black-and-gold Yo-Zuri Rattlin Vibe.”

Spotted Bass: Tough. Ryan Coleman reports, “Typically, we have a dead period from mid January to mid February, and this year is no exception. We were having some great catches up shallow in the grass just before the weather went south in early January, but that has all but stopped now. The water temps plunged into the low 40s, and that was that, as they say. There is still an early morning bite three-quarters to halfway back in the creeks. You can catch some fish on Fish Head Spins and jigs, but that only seems to last about two hours. After that, work jerkbaits very slowly shallow around structure and docks when the sun is out. The sun is the key for these shallow-water fish right now. They will move up to soak up some of the sun once it’s been out an hour or so. There are some deep fish right now, but they are hard to catch. Jigging spoons and worms are your best bet for these deep guys. Just keep looking around the timber in 30 to 45 feet of water, and once you find a school, sit on them until they bite. They are not easy to find right now deep. Look for things to really improve around the mid part of the month. We should start to get some warmer days, and the spotted bass will come to life with the rising water temps. The temperature won’t have to move much, just get on a positive trend.”

Good. Shane Watson reports, “Nothing much has changed. Downlined bluebacks and small trout fished 30 feet deep and shad-body U-rigs fished 120 to 130 feet out are working best on my boat. I have been fishing mostly up the lake the last couple of weeks, and 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 two weeks ago before we headed north in search of better numbers of trolling and downline fish. I will let everyone know on my next report how the jig-fishing bite is going. 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 Lanier. We catch big stripers throughout the year, but historically the next 120 days or so are when most of the 30-lb. plus fish are caught.” Mike Maddalena reports, “The stripers have moved out of the northern creeks but will move right back with any warming trends. The backs of the creeks will warm up first, and the bait and the fish will move in almost overnight. The mid-lake creeks are in the mid to high 40s and are the place to be this week. The backs of Bald Ridge, Six Mile, Mud, Balus and Flat creeks are holding fish. Trout up to 7 inches, herring and small to medium shiners on downrods fished right on top of the bait schools at 25 to 35 feet — and umbrella rigs — are working. Herring and the smaller baits on flatlines and freelines and planer boards are also working in the early morning and late afternoon. There are also some good schools of fish moving on the main lake between the mouth of Flat Creek and Gainesville Marina. These fast-moving fish are visiting the deeper flats, humps and points to feed, and these are prime locations to check with the umbrella rigs. You want to look for a slick bottom in 30 to 40 feet of water while trolling. Casting Capt. Mack’s bucktail jigs to the bank or fish rolling on top is also working and will only improve as the temperature warms the water and the stripers get more aggressive. Early mornings and late afternoons you want to be fishing with the free/flatlines and planer boards, while the midday bite is best using either downrods or trolling. Having some weighted freelines out while fishing downrods midday will get you an extra bite or two. As we move into February, the backs of the creeks lake-wide will get better and better. Flatlines and planer boards will be your best bet. As the sun rises, be sure to weight both your flatlines and boards. Casting bucktails to the banks either with or without a fluke will also continue to get stronger and stronger. The big fish really start to go on the feed after the full moon in February. The period between the full moons in February and March is some of the best big-fish fishing there is.”

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