Lake Lanier Fishing Report January 25 2019 | Sponsored by Hayes Automotive
We had some relatives mind weather, albeit soggy, for the first couple of weeks of this year, with had being the key word. Winter is going take control to end the month, so keep the rain/cold gear handy. As of Thursday Evening the lake level was 1073.06, 2.06 over full. The surface temps vary from the upper end to lower end, but we’ll call the core temp 48 degrees. Expect that number to drop given the balmy forecast.
The Stripers have been fairly oblivious to all of the weather and water changes and that bite is pretty good. I think the biggest challenge still remains how deep and which techniques to use. The fish are on different patterns that place them all over the water column, but I think the overall best pattern is still fishing deep around bait concentrations. We also have fish spread out over the whole lake, and I think the numbers are greatest up in the rivers, however that water is more subject to change in terms of new water and more drastic temperature fluctuations, so the middle and lower parts of the lake may offer more consistency. When targeting the deeper fish look for the bait schools around drains entering the creeks, or over bends in the creek channel or flats adjacent to the channel.
If you see fish, it does not have to be a huge group of fish, drop the baits to the appropriate depth. Herring, small Gizzards, small Trout and medium Shiners are all good bait choices, so give them some choices until you see a preference. If the fish are really ganged up, or if they are tight to the bottom, drop a jigging spoon to them. The Berry’s Flex It Spoons, Captain Mack’s Super Spoons, or Jigging Shad are all good choices for this application. Keep at least one Mini Mack in the Spread, they have been extremely productive in recent weeks. Just treat it like a down line, see where the fish are and deploy accordingly, you may find that the Mini will keep pace, or out produce the live baits.
Shallow techniques are also producing some good catches and you’ll find these techniques are more effective in the upper parts of the lake or in the backs of the creeks. Shad, Herring and Shiners on planer boards and free lines have been consistent, and as is the case with the downlines vary the baits until you see a favorite. These patterns can also be effective when you see birds working in an area, and if that occurs over deep water be prepared to use a combination of deep and shallow techniques.
Umbrella rigs are still accounting for some very good catches and can be a lifesaver if the high wind compromises bait fishing methods. Pull the rigs around bait schools, working birds, river and channel bends. The Capt. Mack’s 3 oz 4arm 9 bait rigs have been the rigs of choice.
Bass fishing is good, but a little slower than earlier in the month, Falling temps and lake levels are pulling some of the fish back into the ditches and rains, or moving them to deeper rocks. The crank bait bite that has been very good is still there, but the numbers are not as strong and I think it is more of an early pattern. The worm/jig bite is good, and slowing down, then slowing down a little more will be an asset. Fishing worms on a drop shot or Weedless Wonder though the gulleys will produce some good catches, depth varies with fish anywhere from 20 to 40 feet. Roboworms in the Morning Dawn Red or Morning Dawn Hologram are staples. Some other baits to try are Damiki Rig with the Armor shad, the mini Fluke or a Roboworm Alive Shad.
Docks are also a viable pattern, deeper docks in the 20 to 40 foot range will hold fish and that applies to the big marina docks as well. Jigs and worms will also be the favorites here. Make a cast right across the front of the dock and then re-position the boat so you can make casts down each side and into the slip when practical. The fish will generally respond to offering quickly if they are there so keep moving and cover as many docks as possible. After you get a few bites try and fine tune a pattern to maximize this bite.
So it’s time to get after the Crappie, right? According to the calendar yes, and before this last cold spell the Crappie seems to agree. You can still catch ‘em but I’ll call the bite OK. I think fishing is best up either river arm but if can find them in the lower end creeks you may catch a bigger fish on average. Watch for temperature breaks and avoid the new muddy water as you work into the creek backs or up into the river arms. Deep docks are producing well but blow downs and brush piles are very likely to hold fish as well.
With lake levels bouncing around and weather swings, keep looking for new places as the fish are on the move. The Bobby Garland baits in the pearl Shad, Albino Shad and Monkey Milk patterns are effective, as are the Crappie County Chennile Jigs in the #2, #36, and # 13 patterns for the Hair jigs.
Good Fishing! Capt. Mack