Lake Lanier Fishing Report January 31 2020
We end the ﬁrst month of the year with a nearly full lake, with Thursdays lake level at 1070.96, only .04 feet below full pool, up slightly from this time last week. The lake temperature is 50 to 52, with the warmer readings in the upper parts of the lake. Those higher than normal temps will probably hold steady, or rise, as the extended forecast calls for very mild weather through the middle of February. As of now, the weatherman says the Groundhog will probably not see his shadow next week?
The Striper bite is good, although maybe not what you may expect for the beginning of February. The best overall pattern is ﬁshing over deep concentrations of bait, dropping the bait to the bottom and reeling up a couple of feet. The depth varies, on the lower end the ﬁsh and the bait may be as deep as 90, in the upper ends of either river, 30 to 50 may be a more likely number.
Either way, the dropping the bait to the bottom strategy has payed off well, just adjust to the conditions as you move up lake. Herring are producing well, and a Gizzard Shad on the down line has also been strong, and may bump up the odds of hooking some of the larger ﬁsh. Trout are also good baits if you can ﬁnd them, however the Trout have been in short supply from the commercial suppliers in recent weeks.
If you try this pattern on the lower end it is primarily a Striper bite with a Spot or a Catﬁsh mixed in, up lake in the aforementioned depths you will be more likely to get a few more bonus bites from Channels, Spots, and White Bass. Look for the bait concentrations along the lower end creek channels, and if you venture up into either of the rivers expect the bait to be over the creek channels or along the river channel. If you set up on the bait and you are not seeing ﬁsh within 15 to 20 minutes, relocate. The ﬁsh are moving around these bait schools, so if you see a group of ﬁsh sit on that area, that school of ﬁsh, or another group, will likely pass under the boat within a few minutes.
Trolling is still a viable technique but is limited because of the depth of the ﬁsh. In the upper parts of the lake where there are more ﬁsh in the 25 to 40 foot range, the rigs(either the full size umbrellas or the Minis) have been more effective. Trolling the rigs while you are looking for ﬁsh and bait is a very effective search tool that will keep you in the hunt until you locate the bait and ﬁsh concentrations. Fish that are less than 35 have been quick to take the Mini Mack stealth trolled under the planers.
The bass bite is good, and with the ﬁsh scattered out in a big depth range choosing a pattern can be difﬁcult. There are productive methods on both shallow and deep ﬁsh, so here are a couple of things that may help. As a very generalized guideline, if the weather produces sunny, bright days the shallow patterns seem to be stronger. Without the sun, the deeper structures may be the better option. For consistency, the dock bite is really good, and although the depth range varies here as well, there are some nice ﬁsh on shallow docks, almost like a March Pattern.
Worms on the Weedless Wonder are consistent producers, the Ned rigs have also been good, as is your favorite jig. The dock pattern will often yield a ﬁsh per dock, so keep moving and cover as much water as possible to maximize this bite. Don’t rule out shallow docks, or docks in the creek backs, there are some surprisingly shallow ﬁsh. Another consistent pattern is ﬁshing small drains leading into the creeks. Cast a Booger Head with a Senko or a Hula Grub right through the center of the drain, anywhere from 5 to 30 feet.
The ﬁsh in the drains will usually take the bait on one of the ﬁrst couple of cast, so as a pattern this is very efﬁcient. That same Booger Head Hula Grub/Senko Combo is also effective on deeper ditches and 40 foot creek channels. The bigger sizes will hold bottom very well with even the largest plastics. The reel and kill technique has been really good with this bait. Timber edges and the channels leading into the timber line have been also very productive.
There are several applicable baits that will work well on this pattern. A Roboworm on a weedless wonder, or on the drop shot will is a solid producer, and on a day to day basis will be hard to beat. Jigs are also strong, and the spoon bite has been reenergized somewhat. On the Roboworms, some colors to try are any of the Morning Dawn colors, Green Shiner, Red Craw, and Orange Crusher.
Rocks are also producing well, and of course that can be a hard pattern to pin down because we have rocks in all depths all over the lake. Try either the rock bluffs that I have mentioned in past reports, rock points, or some of the angled rock outcroppings that are on many of the points in the lake. On the deeper rocks and bluffs, the Booger Head with a Hula Grub, worms on the Weedless Wonder, and jigs will produce well. On the rock structures that are 10 to15 in less, apply the same baits and add a crank bait to the mix. Select a Crankbait that will be depth appropriate to the structure. Some productive crank baits as of late The Rock Crawler 55, Rapala DT 10, and the Strike King 5 XD!
Good Fishing! Capt. Mack