Lanier: Level: 5.4 feet low. Temp: Low 60s. Clarity: The water is clearing, but there are still parts of the lake turning over.
Spotted Bass: Guide and tournament pro Ryan Coleman reports, “The fish are starting to move out deep and get on the deep structure. We are starting to catch good size and numbers of fish in 35 to 55 feet of water out in the standing timber. This is our winter patter day in and day out. I am finding fish in 45 feet of water around timber edges in schools. The fish are eating pretty well when you can find them. I am working either a 3/8-oz. green-craw or brown-olive casting jig tipped with a 5-inch twin tail or a 3/16-oz. SpotSticker Screwball head with a worm around the timber edges and out in the timber most of the day. You can also work a 1/2-oz. jigging spoon in the same areas during the morning. I am finding that the spoon bite is better early. On windy days, work a 1-oz. shad-colored Mini-Me spinnerbait with painted blades on big chunk-rock points for some very nice-sized fish. There are not a lot of fish up there, but the ones that are cruising those points are pigs. The 1-oz. bait will get down to the best depth and allow you to make long casts in the wind.”
Stripers: Guide Clay Cunningham reports, “After a great topwater month in November, look for the winter patterns to fall into place. The bait is now beginning to move into the creeks, and the stripers are following them. Live bait will be hard to beat in December. The baitfish are now moving into the creeks in very large schools. Some of these schools are absolutely massive. On and off throughout the day the stripers will move through this bait and feast. You want to be waiting on the stripers with the traditional downline with blueback herring and rainbow trout. It’s hard to say which will be best this year. Every year is different. You will need the same setup for both of these baits, but you will need different size weights and hooks. Spool up a Penn Squall 20 reel with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game clear line paired with a Shakespeare striper rod. You can use this setup year-round for stripers. Tie a Carolina rig on the end with a Capt. Mack 2-oz. swivel sinker and a 5-foot leader of 12-lb. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon and a Gamakatsu 3/0 octopus hook. If the trout are smaller, go with the 1/0 or 2/0 Gamakatsu Light Wire Octopus hook. On the herring, use the smaller 1-oz. Capt. Mack swivel sinker. Also, on the herring use a size 1 Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap hook and 12-lb. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. If you want to catch these fish on artificials, the spoon is a great choice. Tie on a Capt. Mack Super Spoon, and drop the spoon to the bottom and work it in a yo-yo type motion. Most of the bites will be on the fall of the spoon. To find where these deep pods of bait are located, first look for birds. The birds always narrow your search. Now that you are in the right area, the proper electronics are crucial. On the Humminbird Onix, you can see these huge pods of bait and even see your bait swimming around on the hook. During the winter, do not be afraid to fish in the middle of the day. Many times in the winter, the best fishing is during the warmest part of the day—a win all the way around.”