Lanier: Level: 2 feet above full pool. Temp: Upper 40s. Clarity: Clearest water is down the lake.
Bass: Very good for spotted bass. Guide and tournament pro Ryan Coleman reports, “The water cooled a few more degrees this weekend with the cool weather, and temps are getting closer to where they should be in mid January. Most of the ramps are back open, and things are getting back to normal. The fishing has been outstanding this winter. It has been different, but outstanding. There are bass in just about every place you want right now—up shallow, mid depths and out deep. You can really pick your poison. The fish up shallow have been around rock and wood in less than 5 feet of water. Jigs, worms and even spinnerbaits have been great up shallow on wood, and a 10-foot diving crankbait has been good on the rock. There are also a lot of fish on the boat docks right now, and your best bet there is a Yamamoto 5-inch Hula Grub in cinnamon or green pumpkin rigged on a 1/4-oz. SpotSticker Crawler head. This is a fantastic bait this time of year when fishing boat docks very slow. Like a lot of baits on Lanier, fish this small jig on a spinning rod and light line for its best performance. The deep fish are out in the trees in 40 to 50 feet of water and can be caught on a 3/8-oz. Georgia Craw or Green Pumpkin Craw casting jig, or on a finesse worm rigged on a 3/16-oz. jig head. This is pretty standard for us in the winter, and this year is no different. I have also been catching a few out there slow-rolling a underspin, but that bite has been better early in the day. As February rolls in, look for the jerkbait bite to really pick up. These bass will start to suspend in the sunny pockets as the water warms. This is our best bet for February big spots on Lake Lanier. Slow twitches and long pauses are the ticket.”
Stripers: Very good. Big Fish On Guide Service reports, “The weather in February is the coldest of the year, and when you combine high winds, the fishing conditions can be tough. If you can get on the water early and are able to handle the cold temperatures, pulling bait on freelines and planer boards before the sun get up on flats in the back of the creeks can produce a big fish. As the sun gets up, move over deeper water, weight your freelines, and drop a couple of downrods over the side. Vary the depth of your baits depending on the bottom. Herring remains the top bait producer, but do not overlook small shiners or better yet, net some threadfins. As the afternoon approaches, you can switch to umbrella rigs and pull humps and points from the mouth of the creeks to halfway back in the creeks. When you pull umbrella rigs, always start fishing using both chartreuse and pearl/white trailers on Captain Mack’s bucktail jigs. Based on your results, you can determine the preferred color and switch your umbrella rigs to the most productive color. We use 4-inch shad bodies, but worm trailers also work well. Feel free to use different colors and trailers, but day in and day out, white/pearl and chartreuse tend to work best. Keep your eyes on the water for seagulls, and investigate areas where you find them using your Lowrance Structure Scan. There are fish in every creek with high concentrations of bait. However, Flat, Balus and Four Mile creeks are hard to beat this time of year.”