Lake Lanier Fishing Report February 15 2019 | Sponsored by Hayes Automotive
Sorry we missed last weeks report. We are back now and ready to fish! I am optimistic that we may have an early Spring. If you’ll look around at some of the plants and trees, many species are slightly ahead of schedule. The long range forecasts stays relatively mind, albeit pretty soggy. Those conditions often create a good bite! So, get the rain suits ready and go fishing! The lake level is falling, but still .34 feet over full pool at 1071.34. The surface temp is around 51 degrees, which would be slightly above the norm for this date. It will be interesting to see where lake levels go with all of the rain in the extended forecast.
The Stripers continue to be on a good bite, but we have seen some changes in the last week or so. More shallow fish and more fish in the creek backs. On the other end of the spectrum, there are still fish in deep open water. I have mentioned in recent weeks to be prepared to fish a variety of techniques and depths. The down line bite is still very good and we are seeing more fish show up over the river channel. This is extremely evident in the middle and upper parts of the lake. If I had to pick a depth I would say 35 is a pretty consistent number. Fish have also been caught much deeper, down to 85 feet . We also have fish taking some free lined baits over these open water scenarios, especially early or in low light.
When you deploy the spread use a combination of down lines, free lines/planers until you see a trend. Some days you’ll notice a decisive preference for a depth or at least the down line versus the free line. Keep a Mini Mack in the spread, and like the live bait they can be effective at any depth. As a general rule, if you are fishing the Mini less than 20 feet deep, pull it behind the planer. Deeper than 20 feet and you can fish it as a down line or behind the planer. In deep water I do not think the Mini on the planer board gets any more bites than straight down. The planer just makes your footprint larger and saturates more area. Herring, Shiners, and small trout are all effective baits on the down line.
I have fielded many questions about the Herring, or better stated the lack of Herring. The commercial catchers are really working hard right now but the Herring are hard to come by. Many of the fish they are catching are very small. In many cases they are staying very deep and out of the reach of the nets. As is typically the case in cooler water, the Shiners are producing well, so do not let the lack of Herring keep you on the trailer. If you will think back to last Winter, and Winter/late Spring of 17, there were extended periods were the shiners were definitely the most effective baits. Trout, Gizzards and Mini Mack‘s are also very effective and are readily available.
With all of the buzz about the Mini Mack, the regular full size rigs are not getting much attention, but they are also producing well. Pulling the big rigs remains a good way to locate fish, and if you mark fish on the sonar in the 25 to 40 foot range they have been quick to take the rig. I am not sure which rig is the most productive, or if it matters, as long as you keep it in the proper depth range you should get the hookup!
Bass fishing is also very good, but like the Stripers they are using a variety of depths. I think overall the deeper offshore structure bite is the most consistent, but there are plenty of fish on docks and shallow fish in the pockets and on the rocks. On the deep bite, worms on the drop shot or Damiki rig are solid producers, as is your favorite jig. The bite has been anywhere from 20 to 45, with the fish holding on a variety of Structures. Long points running out to a creek channel, humps, rock points and bluffs, and ditches are all worth a look.
On the Shallow side, the dock bite is very good for numbers, with some bigger fish mixed in. Worms on a Weedless Wonder are a staple, and the jigs are effective as well. This bite is also across the board depth wise, and can be very influenced by the weather, but if I had to pick a depth I would target docks in 25 feet. Any dock may hold fish but deeper docks on the main lake or in the middle parts of the major creek ares are a good place to start your search.
Crappie fishing has been good with docks being the primary target. The Bobby Garland baits are the favorites, particularly the Monkey Milk Pattern, but Pearl, Emerald Shad, and Key Lime are also good choices. The Chenille jigs in the #2,13, and 16 patterns are doing well, the #11pattern in low light or stained water. The bite is very good overall, and an early start may be worth missing a little sleep!
Good Fishing! Capt. Mack