Lake Lanier Fishing Report January 2012

GON Staff | December 29, 2011

Lanier: Level: 12.4 feet below full pool. Temp: Mid 50s. Clarity: Clear.

Spotted Bass: Ryan Coleman reports, “As usual for Lake Lanier in December, the spotted bass are on fire. Fishing has been fantastic now for a few weeks and should remain good through the winter. We are catching good numbers of fish out deep in 30 to 50 feet of water on green-pumpkin Zoom Finesse worms rigged on 3/16- or 1/4-oz. SpotSticker jig heads around timber edges and drops in creek channels. These fish will winter in these areas and can be caught by working the worm around the timber and though the limbs. A slow presentation or even dead-sticking the bait in the structure is most effective. We have also been catching some very nice fish up shallow on main-lake rocky points and steep banks fished early in the day with a Rapala DT-10 crankbait in shad or bream colors as well as dead-sticking a Lucky Craft Pointer 100 jerkbait around these points. Fish these points early in the day or on sunny days when the water is warming. As January rolls on through and February enters the picture, the sun and warmth from it are extremely important to the spotted bass. Fish will start to suspend in sunny pockets that have no wind and lots of sun shining in them. Fish a suspended jerkbait in these pockets with a very slow presentation. Keep an eye out in late January for our shad kill. When the water gets around 45 degrees and stays there a couple of weeks, we usually get a shad kill on Lanier. This usually happens around the end of January to the beginning of February. If you see these shad dying on the surface or twitching along up shallow, this is a great place to find big numbers of spotted bass and catch them on a 1/4-oz. Hopkins Shorty jigging spoon. Just keep your eyes open for the birds and dying shad.”

Stripers: Good. Mike Maddalena reports, “Striper fishing is very good both in terms of size and numbers. The warmer water temperatures have extended the shallow-water fishing. The bait has moved into the creeks, and the stripers have followed. The pattern remains; find the creeks with the highest concentration of bait, and fish there. Trout, gizzard shad and herring are all working. The key difference is with herring you will also pick up a few spotted bass. Start your day with baits 40 feet behind your boards, freelines 80 to 100 feet back and a couple downrods 15 to 30 feet deep. Keep your downrods just over the bait. When the sun gets up, start to weigh some of your lines with one or two split-shots. Stay with the bait, which will move deeper as the day progresses. Vary your trolling speed. This will let your baits relax and swim instead of just following in a straight line. This pattern will work as long as the temperature is in the 50s. If the water temperature falls into the 40s, downsize your bait and focus on shallow flats in the afternoon. Umbrella rigs will work, but with the lake low, be prepared to spend some time getting them out of the trees. Flat Creek, Four Mile, Flowery Branch and the back of Bald Ridge are go-to January creeks on the south end. On the north end, try Wahoo Creek, Little River and Gainesville Creek. Again, focus on the creeks with the highest concentration of bait. Due to the low lake level, a significant number of ramps are closed.” Shane Watson reports, “The fish are still surfacing most mornings before the passing of a cold front, and you can catch stripers on freelined and planer-board trout and bluebacks. Lead-head flukes and bucktail jigs are also working on these rolling fish. We have also done well trolling Capt. Mack’s three-arm U-rigs through the diving birds and rolling fish. There has also been a decent spoon bite. There are groups of stripers scattered both north and south, also in the popular mid-lake creeks. We are catching fish around diving seagulls with and without loons. Downlined trout are producing best when the fish are down 30 to 80 feet deep. Overall, the striper fishing remains about the same. It’s been good most days, but with these passing wintertime cold fronts, the stripers might be up on the bank rolling one day and 80 feet deep on a downline the next.”

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