Lake Lanier Fishing Report January 2013

GON Staff | January 3, 2013

Lanier: Level: 14.7 feet below full pool. Temp: Low 50s. Clarity: Clear.

Spotted Bass:
Guide and tournament angler Ryan Coleman reports, “The fishing is excellent right now for spots. The fish are very active with the high water temps and are up shallow and out deep. I have been concentrating in submerged timber in creek channels from 35-50 feet deep right now with a 3/8-oz. brown SpotSticker hand-tied jig. I am tipping that jig with a green-pumpkin or cinnamon Yamamoto 5-inch twin tail, working the jig up and down the trees. When that bite slows, I can work a 3/16-oz. football SpotSticker jig head rigged with a Zoom green-pumpkin Finesse worm or a Little Critter Craw in those same areas. One day the jig works, the next the plastics. Stay versatile. On sunny days the fish are pulling up on steep, rocky, main-lake points and can be caught on a 10- to 15-foot-diving crankbait, like a Rapala DT-10 or a Strike King Series 5. We have also had very good success working the stand-up football jighead/crawfish combo on the points in very shallow water. Your best bet early and on cloudy days is to fish a 1/2-oz. Sworming Hornet Fish Head Spin in clean pockets in 5-25 feet of water. Fish are up shallow early searching for bait, and that lure works perfect for roaming fish. Rig it with either a Zoom Super Fluke Jr. or paddle-tail fluke. As January rolls in and the water temps fall, look for the spoon bite to really pick up as will the jig bite out deep.”

Stripers: Guide Mike Maddalena reports, “Striper fishing is good. With the colder weather, look for the fish to move onto the flats and on long, tapering points from halfway back to all the way in the back of the creeks. Put out a combination of freelines and planner boards of herring and trout, and vary your depths and distance behind the boat and on the boards. Also vary your trolling speed from 0.2 mph to 1.2 mph. If you can find some big gizzard shad, pull them on sunny flats to pick up stripers cruising the flats looking for a big meal. Don’t spend a lot of time in any one area. The other pattern is an umbrella rig pulled in creeks with a large concentration of bait. Vary your presentation based on the depth of the bait. Pulling 50 to 80 feet behind the boat at 3 mph is a good place to start. The hottest areas continue to be south end of the lake, including Flowery Branch, Four Mile Creek, Shoal Creek and Flat Creek.” Guide Capt. Clay Cunningham reports, “Two patterns have been working for weeks, and it looks like these two patterns will continue to be strong for at least the next several weeks. The bulk of the fish are deeper than normal. It has not been uncommon for us to catch the stripers 75 feet deep. We are catching all of these stripers on a downline very much like we do in the middle of summer. The only difference is we are using live rainbow trout with a 3/0 octopus hook instead of a herring with a 1/0 octopus hook. Concerning the tackle, we are still using a 7-foot medium-action Shakespeare striper rod with a Penn 310LC Linecounter Reel. We are using mostly 15-lb. Trilene Big Game main line, a 1 1/2-oz. egg sinker above a swivel and 5-foot leader of 100 percent Trilene fluorocarbon leader. We are still using some of the herring for the smaller stripers, but most of the respectable fish are coming on the trout. You can pick up the rainbow trout at any of the local bait shops around the lake. The key to catching the fish on the downline right now is the baitfish. Find the baitfish deep, and park on it. Put out your baits, and let the fish come to you. They will not be far from the baitfish. The second pattern that is catching less but bigger fish is to pull large trout and large gizzard shad on freelines and planer boards up in the creeks. All of the creeks are good targets, and the depth of water has varied. As of right now, you will not catch big numbers doing this, but if you are looking for a fish more than 30 pounds, this is the pattern for you. Over the past several weeks, there have been way more fish than normal caught heavier than 30 pounds on Lanier. This is more of a patience game, so take your time, and fish for that one big bite. Overall, the fishing has been great. The problem is not many people are getting out on the lake and enjoying it with the lake being lower than normal. There are still more boat ramps open than during the last drought a few years ago.” Guide Shane Watson reports, “Since my last report, we’ve been doing well on the stripers using freelined trout and casting bucktails and lead-head flukes to surfacing fish. U-rigs are also working well. The stripers are showing up in all the typical wintertime locations. Fish in the middle to the rear of creeks for the best results. Mid-lake and south have been best for us. Up the lake, you will find stripers in long coves just off the main lake and in the popular winter creeks. The birds are a dead give away right now. Don’t be concerned with lake levels affecting the fishing. Over the last 30 years, some of our best striper fishing has been in the winter when the lake has been low.”

Shane Watson reports, “The crappie are biting right now on minnows and jigs around brush.”

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