Lake Lanier Fishing Report February 28 2019 | Sponsored by Hayes Automotive
Water temps are up, the lake is up, way up. In fact we reached our 2nd highest lake level ever recorded on February 24, at 1076.10, 5.1 above full pool. The highest lake level ever recorded was 1077.15 on April 14, 1964. Enjoy this weekend, more weather instability is in the extended forecast, as a strong cold front brings windy conditions and low temps dipping into the 20’s early next week. The lake is currently around 54 degrees, with warmer temps as you venture back into the creeks.
The Stripers remain cooperative and the lake continues to ﬁsh well. There are some new patterns that supplement the down line bite that has been so strong. The deep ﬁsh are still there, but a mix of deep and shallow baits will pay off. The free line bite is gaining strength, and may be the better option. Look at the sonar to determine the best depth to place the down lines. In addition to the down lines keep a couple of free lines or planer boards in the spread. Even if the ﬁsh are deep, some of these ﬁsh are feeding up. There are some ﬁsh roaming around near the surface.
These surface oriented ﬁsh are really hard to see on Down imaging. Using 360 sonar Side Imaging can tell you if ﬁsh are in the area. Watch the birds as they will put you in the right place. Obviously you want to see the classic bird tornado with ﬁsh busting the top. However, you are more likely to see a few birds cruising high – picking of the occasional winter kill. Those sparse groups of birds are telling you there are some ﬁsh cruising the area. That’s when you need to deploy the spread. The effective baits are also across the board, but I think the medium shiners may be the best overall choice.
Shad and Trout are also good choices, and a mix may be a good approach until you tweak the bite. On the shiners, remember to match the hook size to the bait. A #4 or #6 hook works well on the Shiners, and I know it is tough to imagine a big ﬁsh on that little hook but they are really very effective. The smaller hook allows the bait to move more naturally, without pulling him down and hindering the bait’s ability to swim. Adding a lighter leader, 8 to 10 lb. test is also a big plus in allowing the small baits to move more freely making for a more natural presentation.
Bass ﬁshing is also good, and like the Stripers they are all over the place vertically and horizontally. This last inﬂux of new water has created the opportunity to ﬁnd plenty of stained water which you can use to your advantage. Spinnerbaits, jerk baits and crank baits are all effective on shallow structures right now. Targeting rocks, blown down trees, and shallow drains are all effective. Rapala DT’s and Spro Rock Crawlers on the rocks remains strong and baits in a crawﬁsh pattern have been producing well.
The docks are also holding good numbers of ﬁsh, but like everything else the depth range is across the board. We will break this down into two components. The ﬁrst would be shallow docks in the back of the creeks and coves. By shallow we will say less than 15. This bite has been enhanced by rising water levels and stained water. Moving baits can be very effective on these shallower docks, but if the ﬁsh seem reluctant to respond to jerk baits or swim baits, jigs and worms will get the bite.
The second dock pattern revolves around deeper docks on the main parts of the creeks and main lake, think 20 to 30 feet here. Worms on the shakey or a jig will be hard to beat on this pattern, especially as long as the water temps stay in the low 50’s. Overall, I think a Senko or a Roboworm on a Weedless Wonder will be tops for numbers and consistency. Some colors to try on the Roboworm have been the Bold Bluegill, Aarons Magic, and Watermelon Magic. If the Sun should decide to make a rare appearance, a light color like the Aarons Pro Shad or SXE patterns are good choices.
Want to catch some Crappie? They are biting if you can ﬁnd them? The big rain dump and subsequent rise in lake levels move the ﬁsh around and put many of the ﬁsh in shallow water. Water conditions have largely stabilized and the areas with stained water are arming up nicely, so take advantage of that situation and seek out the best water conditions and temps. 15 foot docks in the backs and middle of the creeks, and blow downs in the same depth range have been producing some good catches.
Shooting or casting the Bobby garland baits or your favorite sarin jig will get the bite pretty quickly once you ﬁnd them. There are also some shallow ﬁsh up in the backs of the creeks and coves, although they are often scattered throughout the abundant ﬂooded cover, and there are some nice ﬁsh being taken on this pattern. Casting a hair jig or a live minnow under a ﬂoat will get the bite in the shallows!
Good Fishing! Capt. Mack