Lake Lanier Fishing Report February 2013
Lanier: Level: 8.6 feet below full pool. Temp: 49-54 degrees. Clarity: Clear.
Spotted Bass: Excellent. Guide Ryan Coleman reports, “The water has come up about 5 feet from its lowest point. The fish have also been up and down, depth wise, but have been biting good both deep and shallow. For shallow fish, we have had our best success on crankbaits 10 to 15 feet deep worked around steep rock points on the main lake as well as in the back of drains and ditches. At times we are just fan-casting them around in the middle of pockets in 10 to 20 feet of water. This is a technique used for the Fish Head Spin as well. With my Fish Head, I have been using a white, 1/2-oz. head with a white Super Fluke Jr. I’m fan-casting the pockets as well as working the middle of the ditches from 5 feet out to 25 feet. For my deep fish, I have been using a 3/8-oz. SpotSticker hand-tied jig with a Yamamoto twin-tail 5-inch grub on the back. This jig/trailer combo has been very hot on Lanier since November. I have been working it on 12-lb. fluorocarbon around the timber for a very consistent bite all winter long. As the water came back up, the fish have bunched up around the edges of the timber better than they were when the water was 15 feet down. I have been using the brown living-rubber colors with a cinnamon-pepper trailer for the most part, but I am getting great reports from guys catching big stringers on the PB&J as well as the cinnamon-pepper colored jigs. As things get tougher, a 3/16-oz. jig head with either a Zoom Trick Worm or Finesse Worm has been very handy. These are always a staple on Lanier, and this winter has been no different. When the fish slow on the jig, the jig head/worm combo is a great back up. Working this around the timber as well as any steep rock points close by has been very good. As February rolls in, look for these patterns to continue to be good, and look for the emergence of the jerkbait as a great pattern. A Megabass Vision 110 or Spro McStick as well as the Lucky Craft Pointer 100 are great around shady boat docks in February as well as windy points and very sunny shallow pockets. Depending on the conditions, the fish will move around a bunch in February. Keep an eye on the weather the day you fish as well as the few days before. Trends in the weather are more important than anything right now.”
Largemouth: Fair. It’s never good for numbers this time of year, but if you stick with it you can catch a few big fish. Slow is the name of the game in February, so I stick with bottom-contact lures such as jigs and Carolina rigs or fishing a crankbait slow. Look for isolated stumps on secondary points and at the mouths of pockets. For the deeper fish, I like a Carolina-rigged green-pumpkin Mann’s Lizard or a craw-pattern Mann’s 15 Plus. As the month progresses or we get a warm spell, that’s when I will move to shallower water and fish a 3/8-oz. green-pumpkin Mann’s Stone Jig around docks and shallow cover. On days with some wind, be sure to hit the flats with a white-and-gold War Eagle spinnerbait to pick off any active fish that are up feeding.”
Stripers: Good. Guide Shane Watson reports, “February is almost here, and that means time to drag big trout, shad and bluebacks around for a trophy striper. Over the next three months, you will see most of your 35-plus-pound fish caught on Lanier for the year. That’s not to say we don’t catch big ones in May and in the summer months, but your best chance for a giant striper is here. For folks who don’t care about a trophy, our boats will still be catching average-sized stripers this time of the year while trolling U-rigs, on bluebacks and on a bucktail jig. These fish are usually 5 to 20 pounds for the most part. Look for the birds diving, and fish in these areas. For the bigger ones, you will need a little more patience and also need to cover a lot of water while dragging your freelines and planer boards. You will also need to use bigger bait. It’s hard to get a giant striper to come up and take a smaller live bait if he is down 20 to 30 feet deep. But, if you drag a big trout or shad over his head, he is more apt to travel that distance and eat it. North and south are both good for a trophy in the winter. The key is to cover a lot of water, and put in your time.” Mike Maddalena of Big Fish On Guide Service reports, “The warm temperatures have given way to a winter blast. The fish are moving more to the middle of the creeks and deeper into the water column, especially once the sun gets high in the sky. Try to get out early, and fish shallow flats and points, and move to deeper water as the day progresses. Increase your weight on your freelines and planner boards as you migrate to deeper water. Don’t forget to drop a couple of downrods over the side, and vary the depth based on the bottom and the bait. Use a mix of trout and herring—one may be the better producer on any given day. While you are pulling bait, keep one person on the front deck casting a Captain Mack’s bucktail jig, which can produce that reaction bite that you may not get with live bait. Umbrella rigs are working and can be used an a search tool late morning and early afternoon. There are fish in every creek. Consider fishing a creek you do not typically fish and one that does not get a of pressure.” Guide Clay Cunningham reports, “The fishing has been way better than normal for this time of year. The fish are up in the creeks as expected, but do not be surprised to look a little deeper than normal. A few big fish are up shallow, but the bulk of the stripers are 50 feet deep. Look for the deep pods of bait, and the stripers will be there. Drop the downlines with rainbow trout right on top of the schools of baitfish. Rig up the conventional downline Carolina- rig with a 2-oz. egg sinker, a swivel, a 5-foot leader of Trilene 100 percent Flourocarbon leader and a 3/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook.”
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