Welcome 2021! It will hard to follow last year from a fishing perspective as 2020 set the bar pretty high in terms of Lanier Fishing! The lake fished well for all species and for the most part mild weather patterns afforded good fishing conditions. The Fish populations look strong so hopefully 2021 will be another excellent year on the lake! After a mild New Years weekend, the extended forecast calls for pretty good weather, relative to the calendar, with no freezing temps in the 7 day forecast as of the present. The lake level was 1070.68 as of Friday afternoon, .32 feet below full pool. Water temps varied some depending on the location, but 51 is probably a good average number.
Striper fishing is still very good, although the fish may be a little more finicky than they were in the past couple weeks. The patterns that have been productive in December still remain strong. Live baits around the deep bait, with some umbrella patterns mixed in, remain solid techniques. There have been a few surfacing fish, mostly early and late, but at this point that pattern remains secondary but on the radar enough that you need to be prepared for it. Herring, Trout, Shiners and Shad have been good baits, so keep a few of all in the well and mix and match to find the best choice on a given day. FYI, Herring availability has been inconsistent due to water conditions that are making it difficult for the catchers to get bait, but the above mentioned options have produced well and if I had to pick a best I think the Trout are the best choice right now.
Down lines are the primary method, but depending on the situation flat lines and planers are also producing some fish. Finding the deep bait is still the primary technique, fish bait schools over a 40 to 70 foot bottom, in drains, secondary creeks, or flats. If you are fishing down lake the major creek channels in the above mentioned depth range have all been holding bait and fish. Spoons are still accounting for some decent catches, so keep one tied on to drop to the fish once you mark them, and move the spoon around in the water column to target fish that are spiking up off the bottom.
The umbrellas bite is pretty good, but is very situational. Find fish that in less than 40 feet, preferably 20 to 30, and they have been quick to take a rig. As a general rule this pattern is best up in either river, where the creek or river channels are less than 60 feet Target areas with big bait schools or contour troll the banks over 25 to 40 feet.
Bass fishing has also been good, and the patterns have remained stable. With that being said, there are several patterns to choose from. The deep bite continues to produce well, spoons, worms and jigs in the ditches are still accounting for some good catches, and this deep bite is probably best for numbers and consistency. No big changes here, target ditches and drains in 15 to 50, at least with the onshore ditches, with some fish moving shallow in these areas especially early. Offshore ditches in 35 to 50 continue to produce well and finding the ditches with bait is a big plus. Finesse worms on the Shakey, Drop shot, or the Texas Rig will all get the bite, and a vertical presentation is very good when fishing the worm. In depths of 30 feet plus, vertical fishing makes for better hook sets, increasing your strikes to hook up ratio. Dragging a jig and dropping spoons will also be effective, although I think the worm is the best overall producer. Morning Dawn Red Flake and Aarons Magic have been good color patterns, Prizm Kraw and Chartreuse Magic are good patterns with plenty of sunlight.
We also have some shallow patterns that are producing, and may account for some really nice fish. These shallow patterns may not yield the numbers that the deep ditches will, but there are some big fish on rocks and docks. There is also decent jerk bait bite, primarily early, in the pockets and rocky areas, wind and bait will greatly enhance this pattern. The docks continue to produce well, with the best depth being the big variable. Keep in mind that the weather plays a big role in determining how deep and how tight to the docks the fish will hold, so evaluate that accordingly each day. Cranking rocks also continues to be a stable pattern, both offshore rocks, rocky points or even rock banks. Sunny conditions may help this pattern, which can make this a good afternoon/late day technique. 10 to 15 foot diving crankabits are consistent producers here, with the Rock Crawler 55’s being excellent choices. Any of these patterns will work on all areas of the lake. Keep in mind that the New year’s Day Rain dump may stain some areas up making the crankbaits more effective.
Spoon fishing remains strong, and a variety of spoons are effective. Berry’s Flex-it Spoons, Jigging Shads, And Hopkins spoons are just a few good choices, and use the different types and designs of the various spoons to tweak the bite. Also, consider adding the blade baits and Game Changers into the mix for fishing the ditches and bait concentrations as well. The blade baits are effective fished vertically, but are especially effective for using the “reel and kill’ method.