Lake Lanier Fishing Report January 2016

GON Staff | December 22, 2015

Lanier: Level: 0.5 feet low. Temp.: Upper 50s. Clarity: Clear.

Spotted Bass: Good. Tournament angler and guide Ryan Coleman reports, “Fishing has been good with a number of patterns working. I do not think there is one particular pattern that is leaps and bounds better than another, but the deep bite is the one I have been working. I feel like the deep fish are more consistent, and as we cool, it will be the pattern that will improve. For the shallow fish, I have been using an Underspin with a Fluke Jr. trailer fished the backs of pockets and creeks the first two hours of the day and working big rocky areas the rest of the day. The best two baits on rock is a jig early, then a crankbait the rest of the day. Just slowly work a jig from 5 feet to 25 feet in the mornings, then a 10 Ghost Herring Crankbait slowly reeled off the drop the remainder of the day. The biggest, jagged points you can find, the better. For the deep bite, it’s just two baits like always: a 1/4-oz. SpotSticker Screwball or Football jig head tipped with a Zoom Swamp Crawler or Trick Worm in your favorite green worm, or a 3/8-oz. SpotSticker casting jig in brown/olive or Georgia craw colors. Work these two baits in ditches and timber lines in 30 to 50 feet of water. Do not be afraid to fish deep. On the warmest day last week, I was on a guide trip, and we ended up catching our best fish and numbers of fish in 57 feet of water. The fish were right on the bottom and locked down hard. The sun was out, and we were basically in short sleeves. Spotted bass like to go deep. Just get over the actual number of the depth, and work your bait out there. It works. And this will be the pattern heading through January and February.”

Stripers: Good. Big Fish On Guide Service reports, “The fish are scattered lake wide, and you can find fish anywhere on the lake from the dam to Clarks Bridge and from the main lake channel to the back of the creeks. Under normal circumstances the majority of the bait and the fish would be in the creeks. The stripers have been actively feeding in the early mornings and late afternoons. As soon as the sun rises, the bait and the fish move to deeper water. The best approach is to fish live bait with freelines and planer boards early and then switch to downrod fishing once the bait consolidates to a deeper pattern. Once the water temperature cools to the low 50 degrees, the fish consolidate in the creeks, and shallow water techniques have replaced the deep water downrod fishing. Target creeks by setting up a spread of baits using freelines and planer boards. Set your freelines at 50 to 100 feet behind the boat. Deploy planer boards on each side of the boat with 30 to 50 feet of line behind the boards. Use both weighted and unweighted lines to cover the water column. You can also deploy multiple planer boards to cover a wider presentation. Vary your trolling motor speed from 0.3 to 0.8 mph, and target points and flats. In addition, someone should be on the deck casting a 1/2-oz. bucktail jig. Blueback herring, trout, gizzard shad and threadfin shad will all work, with herring being the most popular. Keep your eyes on the water looking for surfacing fish and seagulls. Seagulls can be an excellent tool in locating feeding stripers. Targeting points with an umbrella rig is a good option, and the umbrella rig can also be an effective fish locating tool. The key as always is to fish the creeks with the highest concentration of baitfish. Flat Creek, Six Mile Creek, Shoal Creek and Flowery Branch are good places to start.” Guide Clay Cunningham reports, “Many times this time of year the best fishing is in the afternoon. The other key to the stripers this time of year is find the bait in the backs of the creeks. Most of the time in January, the fish will be in the last third of any creek. Once you find the bait in the backs of the creeks, several patterns can develop. First and foremost is pulling live bait on a freeline. Be sure to use a premium swivel like the Spro Power Swivel and fluorocarbon on the leader, like the Berkley 100 percent fluorocarbon. So far this winter, trout has been the best bait, and hopefully this will continue. Early in the morning and during any time of low light, pull the trout on a freeline somewhere around 100 feet behind the boat. This is the best way to catch a trophy most days. Try to stay away from other boats, and keep your baits fresh. The other pattern is the downline bite right on the deep schools of bait. Find the bait, and drop the smaller trout and herring right on top of the bait. Start with a 5-foot leader, but do not be afraid to shorten it. With the colder water temperature, the stripers may not want to chase the bait. If you do not want to use live bait, be sure to try a spoon. The most popular spoon on Lanier is the 6/10-oz. Flex-it spoon with a white foil and the 1-oz. Super Spoon. You should be able to see your spoon bounce on the bottom on your electronics. Great electronics like the Humminbird Onix are critical for seeing the spoon.”

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