Lake Lanier Fishing Report – March 2009

GON Staff | February 24, 2009

Lanier: Level: 14.1 feet below full pool. Temp: 48 degrees. Clarity: Clear.

Spotted Bass: Improving. Ryan Coleman reports, “Fishing has been tough in February. The fish have been deep and slow to react in the low water temps. We had water temps in the mid to low 40s here this late January and early February which shut the fish down. The fish are starting to eat now that the water temps have reached the upper 40s. Jerkbaits and jigs are by far your best bet right now. I have been using a Pointer 100, Megabass Vision and big Rogue for a week now and doing pretty well. The fish will move up shallow on sunny days and stage around secondary points and docks. Look for a huge wave of fish to move up in the next two or three weeks. As the water starts to hit the high 50s, the spinnerbait bite should pick up and be strong. Fish will be holding in wind-blown pockets and on points leading into the spawning areas. Cover a lot of water. For now, look for fish around docks with 20 feet of water in front of them. Any structure close to them will have a fish on it that will eat a brown or green-pumpkin jig. Tip your jig with a twin-tail trailer, and be slow with it. They are there, just be confident.”

Largemouths: Fair. Billy Boothe reports, “The largemouth bite is still fairly slow with the cold air and water temps. The best baits right now are a 1/4-oz. crawfish Rat-L-Trap and a 5/16-oz. green pumpkin/orange TABU jig. Fish them slow on channel-swing banks around rock and wood cover. As the water temps get close to 56, the largemouth bite will bust open. Run pockets with a mixture of sand and rock with a pearl Mann’s 1 Minus and a 3/8-oz. white spinnerbait. When you come to any docks or cover midway back in the pockets, make multiple casts with a watermelon-seed Mann’s Hardnose Lizard and a green-pumpkin Senko. This is your best bet for big fish. The big females will stage around the docks before the spawn, so start at the walkway and work all the way out.”

Good. Guide Shane Watson reports, “Our boats are doing well on freelined and planer-board bluebacks and threadfins, casting leadhead flukes, and on Capt. Mack’s umbrella rigs. Downlines have been slow. Big fish time has begun, as we had a 35-pounder the other day on a freelined blueback in the rear of a south-end creek. As the surface temps continue to rise heading into March, it will be time to drag big shad, big trout and bigger bluebacks. Right now there are fish in the middle to the rear of most south-end and mid-lake creeks. Up north the creeks are shorter, and the fish can move in and out quickly. Check the creeks up north, but keep in mind that many days up there, the better numbers will be on the main lake the farther north that you go. The seagulls continue to be a dead give away.”Capt. Clay Cunningham reports, “In March, the stripers are preparing for the spring spawn, and the fish will be fat. It is a great time to catch a big fish. With a little bit of sunshine, look for the stained water up in the creeks. This water will warm faster, and the bait will be there along with the stripers. Some of the typical areas are Two Mile Creek, Four Mile Creek, up the Chestatee and up the Chattahoochee. All of these areas tend to hold a little more stain in the water. Freelines and planer boards will be the primary pattern for the live bait, and bucktails will be the primary pattern for artificials. Gizzard shad, trout and herring will all work on the freelines and planer boards. Concerning bucktails, a 3/8-oz. Farr Super Jig with chartreuse mylar is an excellent choice. Tip the jig with a white Zoom Super Fluke or a 4-inch chartreuse grub depending on the water clarity. Beat the bank with the bucktail all day long. Time of day does not make any difference if you are in the stain.” Guide Mike Maddalena reports, “The fish are still keying on the smaller baits like tiny trout, minnows and threadfin shad, though the U-rig bite is continuing to get stronger. For live bait downrods at 18 to 22 feet have been best, with flatlines and planer boards 70 to 100 feett back being a close second. Be sure to add a No. 4 split shot to a couple of your lines. Scale down your tackle to a 12-lb. leader with No. 4 hooks for above mentioned small baits. The fish are also starting to hit the smaller herring. With the U-rigs, we are catching the most fish using four in chartreuse-shad bodies as the trailers. Target the 12 to 18 foot depths with your rigs. Casting a single Capt. Mack’s bucktail is also starting to produce. As the water continues to warm, the flat lines and buck tail will continue to improve. You can still target larger fishing by pulling large baits up on the sun warmed (East side) flats and points very late on the sunny days. As always this time of the year, make sure the large schools of threadfin are in the area. Your best bet is to fish the outer edge of the baits schools and catch the stripers on their way in to feed. The back 1/3 of lower lake creeks and the main river channel up north (Thompson Bridge and above) are the best areas to start your search. As we move into March the big fish will start moving up shallow and hitting the big baits. The fish will be packing on the pounds to get ready for the spawn in late April and early May. March is one of the top months for getting a trophy on Lanier. The fish will continue their migration to the backs of creeks and up both rivers.”

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