Lake Lanier Fishing Report January 2014

GON Staff | December 30, 2013

Lanier: Level: 0.4 feet above full pool. Temp: Mid to low 50s. Clarity: Clear.

Spotted Bass: Guide and tournament pro Ryan Coleman reports, “The lake is a good bit higher and warmer than normal. As January rolls in, look for the surface temps to fall, but I just don’t think the lake level is going to drop much this winter. Fishing has been pretty good out there. The fish are in different patterns than normal, but they are eating. I am finding fish up very shallow, and a few starting to gang up out deep. The shallow fish are good early in the day, and the deeper fish are better later in the morning throughout the rest of the day. My shallow fish have been eating crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. I have been throwing a 10-foot-diving crank-bait up on rocky points off the main lake early in the day. Just throw the crankbait up there super shallow. I’m talking in 6 inches of water. Then slowly start your retrieve. Some of the fish are almost dry they are so shallow. As you are working around the rocky points, try to keep your boat out away as far as you can. The water is so clear up shallow, they spook very easy. For jerkbaits, I have been using a Megabass Vision 110 jerkbait with a medium-speed retrieve. With the water still being so warm, it really is not necessary to dead stick the jerkbait yet. Just use a medium retrieve. Stick with basic shad colors with the Vision 110. During the mid mornings and afternoons, my worm, jig and spoon bite has been excellent. There are a lot of fish up in the 18- to 30-foot range, and they will eat a Zoom Swamp Crawler rigged on a 3/16-oz. SpotSticker football head. This rig is deadly on the mid-range fish. Drop it right down to them when you see them on your Lowrance, or cast to the points and bounce it back. The deeper fish are eating either a white Flex-It spoon or a 3/8-oz. casting jig. I have been working both of these baits on the fish that I am marking in 40 to 55 feet of water. This bite is coming on and getting better every day. For the jigs, I have been sticking with the green craw or brown/orange colors. Look for the deep bite to get better as January rolls in. We should get some colder weather, and that should push more of the spotted bass out deep.”

Largemouth: Fair. Tournament angler and guide Billy Booth reports, “January can be a great time of year to catch a big largemouth. It can be a month of extremes for both temperature and bait selection. If we’re having stable weather, target points that have a sharp drop and fall in to a main channel. Use larger baits such as an American-shad colored Mann’s 20 Plus or a 1/2-oz. brown Mann’s Stone Jig. The better points will have a bottom composition change or a rock vein. If it’s brutally cold or you’re fishing in post-frontal conditions, your best bet is to downsize to a small black and gold No. 5 Shad Rap fished on steep 45-degree banks or a 1/2-oz. chrome Mann’s Little George fished down deep ditches and in the last deep water back in the creeks. With the flooded cover there are still some scattered shallow fish to be caught, but you will really have to work for them. Jigs on brushed-up docks and Red Eye Shads fished on shallow flats will pick up fish on warm sunny days that are pulled up to feed.”

Stripers: Good. Guide Mike Maddalena reports, “The bite has been early with the birds giving you the fish location. Find the birds, and fish there. A 3/8- to 1/2-oz. bucktail jig with a small fluke trailer has been working well for early morning fish. If you can see the fish, cast to them with your bucktail jig. You can also rig a Super Fluke on a hook and cast it to feeding fish. If there are birds searching an area, put out a spread of bait, and search the area with the birds. Vary the distance from your boards and freelines from 25 to 125 feet behind the board/boat. Hang a couple of downrods over the side just above the bait. Put someone on the front deck casting a bucktail jig the entire time. The early bite will last until 9 a.m., and then the birds will sit down. Now is the time to focus on the creeks with the largest concentration of bait. Weight your lines with two to three split-shots, and adjust your downrod depth to the bait. I have not had a chance to pull any umbrella rigs this week, but there is no reason they will not work as long as the bait is shallow. Flat Creek, Balus Creek, Lathum Creek, Johnson Creek and the river channel from Browns Bridge to Thompson Bridge are good places to start. The migration of fish and bait into the creeks will continue as we move into January.” Guide Shane Watson reports, “The stripers are on a typical wintertime pattern on Lake Lanier with mornings and afternoons being about the same. Look for the seagulls and loons diving. Cast a lead-head fluke to rolling stripers. Freelined trout and bluebacks are also working well when the fish are up shallow. Watch your electronics as we’ve done well on downlined trout and spoons when the fish have been deeper and bunched up on the screen. Capt. Mack’s 4-arm shad body u-rigs fished 100 feet out at 3.0 mph are also working well. If you can see them on the graph, they will bite the u-rig almost every time in the winter. The north end and south end have been about equal the past couple of weeks, but we’ve also caught fish in the usual wintertime mid-lake creeks. We are also catching and releasing some really nice spotted bass that are mixed in with the stripers.”

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