Lanier: Level: 5.2 feet below full. Temp: 53 degrees. Clarity: Clear with a little stain in the creeks from recent rains.
Spotted Bass: Very good. Guide and tournament angler Ryan Coleman reports, “Fishing has been good with shallow and deep bites going on. The shallow fish are around brush in 20 feet of water and seem to be just cruising around eating small threadfin shad. The deep fish are out on offshore ditches and timber like always in December. For the shallow fish, nothing has been as effective the past two weeks as just a simple straight worm rigged on a 3/16- or 1/4-oz. SpotSticker Screwball head. I have been working jigs, spoons, blade baits and underspins, but in the end, a straight worm rigged on a jig head has been my best bet. I am casting and dropping on these fish as I mark them on my Lowrance. Most of the fish are just cruising on a slick bottom in 20 to 25 feet of water. They seem kind of lost but will bite when you drop on them. For the deep fish, I have been utilizing that same worm rig along with a 3/8-oz. casting jig in green craw for my best results. I am getting a morning bite up in the pockets with a underspin/fluke combo, but during the day, I am working timber edges and drops in 40 to 50 feet of water for my fish. I am not seeing as many of the fish out deep on my electronics. I am just casting to structure, and they are coming out to play.”
Stripers: Guide Clay Cunningham reports, “The winter bite is in full swing here on Lanier. The stripers are following the bait into the creeks. The north end and the south end are both great. Birds and loons will continue to be a big help. If the birds are in an area, the bait is nearby almost every time. The good news has been the type of bait. This year it has been herring and medium trout. Some fish are being caught on medium shiners, but not like last year. To be prepared, take a complete variety of live baits. Have rods tied up with No. 6 Gamakatsu Octopus Hooks, 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Hooks and 3/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Hooks. Match the hook to the size bait. Herring is catching the most fish, but trout are catching the bigger fish. Freelines with balloons and planer boards are working best for the trout. The standard Shakespeare Striper rod paired with a Penn Squall line-counter reel is the necessary setup. Use 15-lb. Trilene Big Game line. The herring can go on the downline or freeline. The water quality is great right now, so be prepared for all techniques. If you see fish up shallow, be sure to have a spinning rod rigged with a Penn Battle 3000 with no more than 10-lb. Trilene Big Game. Most of the time, a small 1/4-oz. Capt. Mack bucktail or a 1/4-oz. Spro Prime Bucktail will do the trick. White is the dominant color here on Lanier with the clear water. As a whole, fishing should be great this month, and there will be no crowds. What more can you ask for? Time to go catching.”