Lake Lanier Fishing Report February 2015

GON Staff | January 29, 2015

Lanier: Level: 0.9 feet low. Temp: Upper 40s on the lower end. Clarity: Clear.

Spotted Bass: Guide and tournament pro Ryan Coleman reports, “Slow and typical. The recent rains have brought the lake back up almost 3 feet, and the cooler temperatures have dropped the surface temps down in the 40s where it should be this time of year. The rising water levels have scattered the fish all over on the lower end. I am catching bass in 5 feet of water and in 55 feet of water. There are still plenty of deep fish out there, you just have to look hard for them and move around a bunch. They are not everywhere. I am finding them in 40 to 45 feet of water in the timber, mostly in the large creeks on the lower end. There are a few of them in main-lake pockets in the fingers, but it’s not as strong. I have been working the deeper fish with jigs and worms mostly but have also been getting some nice fish on a underspin rigged with a small paddle-tail fluke. For jigs, I am sticking with either a green craw or brown/olive 3/8-oz. SpotSticker jig tipped with a 5-inch Yamamoto twin-tail trailer and a 1/4-oz. jig head rigged with a Zoom Swamp Crawler. For the shallow fish, I am either working sunny docks in the backs of pockets or shallow rocky points with either a jig or a Megabass 110 plus jerkbait. Use a very slow retrieve with your jerkbait this time of year, and pause at least 4 or 5 seconds between twitches. As February rolls in, look for the bass to start to move shallow on a more consistent basis and associate to the docks and shallow cover during the middle parts of the day when the sun warms the shallows. Early, there should be a great bite in the backs of the creeks with a underspin-type bait rigged with a fluke trailer.”

Stripers: Big Fish On Lake Lanier Guide Service reports, “Striper fishing has been good and should continue through the month as the lake water temperature stabilizes in the mid 40s. The lake is currently 1 foot below full pool and should remain within a few feet below full pool for the month. Lanier is healthy with a large population of baitfish. All of this should equal a good bite throughout February. The key tools for wintertime fishing are the Double Bs (birds and bait). Check out the creeks for bait, and keep your eyes on the water in search of actively feeding seagulls and loons. Keep in mind that the shallow-water flats on the sunny sides of the creeks will heat up during the day and attract baitfish. Pulling baits on these sunny flats can be very productive. The go-to technique during the winter months is pulling live bait on freelines and planner boards. Herring, gizzard shad and small trout are all good baits, but do not hesitate to downsize to medium shiners if you see signs the fish are feeding on small threadfin shad. Set your trolling motor speed between .3 to 1.0 mile per hour. Vary the distance of your baits behind the boat and the boards, and vary the weight on your freelines to cover a variety of water depths. We use split shots to weight some of our freelines. When you find the best distance, weight and speed, replicate those settings to the majority of your lines. Also, try to keep someone on the front deck casting a Captain Mack’s 1/2-oz. bucktail jig with a fluke.” Guide Clay Cunningham reports, “February is big-fish time here on Lanier. Look for some big stripers to show up in the coming weeks as the females begin to prepare for the spring spawn. Right now the umbrella rig bite has been incredible. We have been catching tons of smaller stripers on a regular basis. With each passing week, look for the live-bait bite to get better and better as spring approaches. The days will begin to get longer, the water temperature will rise, the metabolism of the fish will increase and fishing success will increase. Do not be afraid to use the largest bait you can find this time of year. The big females will want a big meal. It is not uncommon for us to use trout in excess of a pound and gizzard shad more than 12 inches long. Also be sure to increase your line size. Most of the time in the spring we use 15-lb. line or greater. Spool a line counter reel up like a Penn Squall 20LC on a 7- foot Shakespeare striper rod with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game, and you will be ready for battle. Top this setup with a 5/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook and a large trout, and you will be in the hunt. Fish close to shore. Some of the action will be heart pounding.”

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