Lake Lanier Fishing Report January 2017

GON Staff | December 22, 2016

Lanier: Level: 10.8 feet low. Temp: Low 50s. Clarity: Stained in the backs of the creeks and clear on the main lake.

Spotted Bass: Excellent. Guide Ryan Coleman reports, “There are big spots up shallow and out deep for the taking. Up shallow, work big, rocky points early with a ghost-herring crankbait or a 3/4- to 1-oz. Mini Me spinnerbait. There are some big fish up around the rocky points early in the day and will eat the crankbait or blade. This bite is lasting about 1 1/2 to two hours, and you need to be on the move after you catch a fish or two. Keep hitting points all over the lower to mid-lake section. After daylight, start working tighter in the middle of the pockets and creeks in 40 to 45 feet of water. Your best bet is a 3/8-oz. SpotSticker casting jig in either brown/olive or green craw with a 5-inch Yamamoto twin tail in cinnamon pepper. This is a go-to bait for Lanier anytime but especially in the winter. You can also work these areas with a jig-head worm rig if the fish do not want the jig. Concentrate on edges of the timber, as well as thick patches in the middle of the pockets. Fish can be concentrated in these areas, so keep an eye on your Lowrance for schools of fish. Keep a drop shot or jig head rigged and ready to go, so you can drop on these guys once you see them. If they are in a group, they pretty much eat every time. This pattern should stay strong all the way through December and January. The lake is perfect right now for these patterns, and as long as the water stays warm and low, they should continue to work.”

Stripers: Guide Capt. Clay Cunningham reports, “In the month of January, look for the striped bass fishing on Lanier to be very dependent on the weather. If the weather stays somewhat warm, the fishing will be hot. If the ice or an extended cold front with a week of sub-freezing weather shows up, look for the striper fishing to slow down. The good news is that if you find the large pods of bait in the creeks, the fish will be there. Pay attention to the lunar charts and the weather. Several patterns will develop in January. You can slow your presentation down with live bait, jigging spoons, or pull umbrella rigs for reaction strikes in January. With the live bait, continue to use the downline like last month. Rig up a Penn Squall 20 linecounter reel with Trilene 15-lb. Big Game line, and pair it with a Shakespeare medium-light striper rod. On the end, tie a Captain Mack’s Swivel Sinker and a 5-foot leader of 15-lb. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon and a size 1 Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap Hook on the end. That hook is small, but it will get more bites. If the bite is tough, try using a smaller fluorocarbon leader. Many times we use a 10-lb. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon leader. Every day is different, and be prepared to make the changes. On the small Gamakatsu hook, you will need a live herring or a small rainbow trout. Drop the bait on the large schools of bait in the creeks. Good electronics are crucial. You have to be able to see the bait on the graph. On the Humminbird Onix Series, you can see the sinker right on the graph and the herring swimming around the sinker. Another option is the jigging spoon. The most popular spoons on Lanier are the Berry’s Flex-It and the Captain Mack’s Jig’N Shad. All the sizes and colors work at the appropriate time. The most popular being the 0.6-oz. silver foil Flex-It and the 1/2-oz. Captain Mack’s Jig’N Shad in white silver. Work the spoon in a yo-yo motion along the bottom around the schools of bait. Here again, you will see the spoon on the Humminbird Onix jigging on the bottom. If you see fish rolling on the surface, pull out a 1/4-oz. Spro Prime bucktail jig. In the cold water, stripers always fall for a small, white bucktail slowly swimming by them. This will most likely happen on the cold, cloudy days. You may also catch a monster spotted bass. If the fish become even more dormant, go to the Captain Mack’s umbrella rig. The 3-oz. rig is most popular with chartreuse trailers.” Big Fish On Guide Service reports, “Striper fishing is good. The two B’s (birds and bait) and your Lowrance StructureScan 3D will remain for the next several months the primary tools for locating the striped bass on Lake Lanier. Keep your eyes open for gulls diving on bait pushed up by stripers. If you find this situation, quietly move into the area, deploy a couple of freelines and downrods out, and cast a Captain Mack’s 1/2-oz. bucktail jig, small spoon or a herring. Resist the temptation of plowing into the school of stripers with the big motor. Be aware that gulls will also hang out with loons and feed as they push bait to the surface. We do not blindly fish where loons are feeding. We use our Lowrance HDS to check the area for stripers before we deploy baits. The second key is to look for creeks with the highest concentration of bait and deploy a combination of freelines, boards and downrods. There are fish in all of the creeks, and the best advice we can give you is to keep your eyes on the water looking for working gulls and check the creeks for the highest concentration of bait and fish where you find the bait. Baldridge, Shoal, Six Mile, Flat and Gainesville creeks are all good places to start.”

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