Lake Lanier Fishing Report February 2012
Lanier: Level: 8.6 feet below full pool. Temp: 50-52 degrees on the lower end. Clarity: Clear.
Spotted Bass: Excellent. Ryan Coleman reports, “The lake is coming up with the recent rains. The Corps of Engineers has been out opening up ramps all over Lanier, and there is plenty of access. The spotted bass on Lanier have been on fire now for months. With the nice winter weather we have had and the high water temps, the fish have continued to bite. We are catching very big spotted bass both shallow and deep. Our typical deep bite on Lanier has been good fishing timber and creek channels in 35 to 50 feet of water with brown jigs, jigging spoons and finesse worms rigged on a SpotSticker jig head. I have been working these baits around timber edges in finger creeks and big pockets all winter. We also have a great shallow bite going on this winter around boat docks in 10 to 15 feet of water and also in the backs of pockets as shallow as you want to fish. I have been doing very well with a Pointer 100 or Megabass 110 jerkbait as well as cranking rock points and stump flats with a 10-foot diving crankbait such as a Strike King Series 5 or DT-10 Rapala. As the sun comes out, you can skip a SpotSticker or creepy crawler under the docks and catch some very big spotted bass on light tackle. If you feel brave, you can fish an Alabama Rig with either flukes or albino swimbaits in the backs of the creeks early and get some nice fish. I’ve been using the casting rig made by Chaser with very good success — no issues with tangling or broken wire. I’m fishing this rig on 65-lb. braided line and a 7-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy St Croix rod. Don’t go small on this rig.”
Largemouths: Guide and tournament pro Billy Boothe reports, “There are some fish deep, but most of my largemouth bites are still coming fairly shallow off of mid-depth flats and ditches. The ditch bite is going pretty good right now on crankbaits and jigs. I’m throwing a 1/2-oz. green-pumpkin/orange War Eagle jig with a green-pumpkin Berkley Havoc twin-tail grub down the middle of the ditches. If it’s cloudy or there is some wind, I’m casting a gold-and-black Rapala DT 6 and using a stop-and-go retrieve. There is also a hit-or-miss early bite going on back in the creeks that have bait. Run-and-gun the flats with a pearl 1/2-oz. Strike King Red Eye Shad to pick up some active fish early around bait. If we get a bad cold front, back out to the nearest point or ledge and throw Carolina rigs and football jigs on the drops. As we get closer to March, if the weather is stable, look for the spinnerbait bite to pick up. One of the best ways to catch big fish is slow-rolling a 1/2-oz. white-and-gold War Eagle Screaming Eagle spinnerbait down the middle of pockets and secondary points.”
Stripers: Good. Guide Shane Watson reports, “We are continuing to see good U-rig and downline fishing on the stripers. Capt. Mack’s 4-arm shad-body rigs, fished 80 to 90 feet behind the boat at 3.0 mph, are working well. Downlined bluebacks and trout fished 25 to 40 feet deep have also been working well most days. Mid-lake and north have been best on our boats. We fished south a couple of days this past week, and we found the birds diving back in the creeks. We caught a few stripers on lead-head flukes and bucktails when we pulled up to the diving seagulls with and without loons. We caught a 20-pounder on a jig right under a loon. Whether you fish north or south, active seagulls are a dead give away this time of the year.” Mike Maddalena reports, “The unseasonably warm temperatures have extended the downrod bite. The baitfish have remained halfway back in the creek channels over 50- to 80-foot bottom. Trout and herring fished just over the bait has been the ticket. February should bring some colder temperatures, and the bait will move shallow and farther back into the creeks. The stripers will follow, gorging on the small threadfins. Now is the time to downsize your baits to small minnows or very small trout fingerlings if you can find them. Throwing the net and using the threadfins the fish are feeding on is always your best option. Downsize your leader to 12-lb. test and your hook to a No. 4 or 6. Fish in the creeks with a high concentration of bait. Put out a spread of freelines and planner boards at varying lengths. If you see fish rolling on bait or birds diving at bait, and you can get to the fish before they disperse, throw a Mack Farr 3/8- or 1/2-oz. bucktail with a small fluke trailer. You can also use a spinning rod to toss a small minnow or threadfin on a weighted float into the center of the activity. A small spoon that imitates a dying threadfin will also work. Umbrella rigs will work but are best used late morning and afternoon to trigger a reaction bite from inactive fish. Target deeper water ledges, channels and points. February is a great month to fish, but it requires you to stay flexible and adjust your fishing techniques to the lake conditions and bait patterns.” Guide Clay Cunningham reports, “For this time of the year, the striper fishing has been the best it has been in years. The fish continue to be deep most days, and live trout on the downline continues to be the best tactic. Most of the time, we have been using a 1 1/2-oz. on a Carolina-type rig with a fairly short leader of 4-foot with 12-lb. Berkley 100 percent fluorocarbon. This pattern will most likely hold until spring really begins to show up in March. The big fish time of the year is rapidly approaching. The big females will begin to prepare for the spawn soon and will be looking for a big easy meal. Freelines using large gizzard shad will become a primary pattern once spring starts to show life. With winter not being as harsh this year, look for it to be here in February unless we get hit with a severe cold spell. Be sure to use heavier tackle with the larger gizzard shad. It is not uncommon for us to use a 12- to 14-inch gizzard shad this time of year. Spool up a Penn 310 or 320 with 15- to 20-lb. Trilene Big Game, and finish it off with a 20-lb. Berkley 100 percent fluorocarbon leader. More big fish will be caught in the next 10 weeks than just about any other time of the year. Plus the water is cool and perfect for catch-and-release of these big fish.”
Crappie: Very good. Shane reports, “Our crappie guide has been doing very well on a split trip catching stripers early and then going crappie fishing later in the day. They are catching crappie under deeper docks on jigs. This good crappie fishing will last through spring.” For a feature article on catching Lanier crappie this month, see page 22.
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