Lake Lanier Crappie
By Dan Saknini
Water temperatures are in the low fifties, varying slightly from creek to creek. Areas with more stain typically have slightly higher water temps. I believe we are in the EARLY pre-spawn stage. However, cold spells will slow the process. The warm rains we are currently encountering will nudge the water temps up slightly. The fish are starting to roam, and some are moving to shallower docks anticipating the spawn. We are still several weeks away from the spawn, but signs are beginning to be seen, including females starting to fatten up with eggs.
Your trolling bite is now a good option to target the fish that are roaming, chasing bait. Tight lining while trolling is another way to catch crappie now, using a jig tipped with minnows ten feet below the surface. This will require rods ten to twelve in length, positioned parallel with the water, with up to four rods on each side of the trolling motor. Your line should be vertical while going at a very, very low speed. If your line is angled or horizontal, you are going too fast.
Long lining is also working. To long line, position the shortest rods (approximately four feet in length), one on each side in the back of the boat, followed with two six foot rods, two eight foot rods and two ten to twelve foot rods in the bow of the boat. Double rig each rod using multiple colored curly tails, Bobby Garland 2″ Hyper Grubs or Bobby Garland 2.25″ Minnow Mind’rs with a 1/16th ounce jig head on each. If you notice that one color is working consistently better, substitute a few more lines with the same body.
Lake Lanier Stripers
Contributed by Steve Scott
In January, there was a change in the monthly pattern to say the least. Air temperatures consistently remained warmer than usual ranging from 50 to 70 degrees and water temperatures stayed in the low fifties. The pattern was smaller baits (shiners), smaller hooks (#6) and smaller leaders (8-12lb) on downlines and weighted flat lines, although stripers were still taking big baits like gizzard shad 12” and larger on planer boards, right up against the bank in the backs of southern creeks below Browns Bridge.
While February water temperatures were recorded around 46 degrees by last year’s LOG, prime time for catching stripers has been either early morning to about 11am or in the afternoon around 2-6pm. Methods used have been weighted flat lines 100’ behind the boat and planer boards using a small split shot 12-18” from the hook with the same setup as we used in January, small baits and small hooks. Alternate methods used have been umbrella rigs and jigging spoons over underwater humps and points. I need to say a word about umbrella rigs. No slack in the line if a fish is on.
When Marty passed the rod to Brett the fish got off. A lesson they won’t soon forget. I also used downlines in the middle to the backs of southern creeks like Flat, Balus, Mud and Shoal Creeks on the east side of the lake and Two Mile, Four Mile and Six Mile Creeks on the west side of the lake.
Trophy season for stripers is upon us running from the 2nd week of February to mid-April. GO BIG OR GO HOME. What does this mean? If you are looking for a big striper in the 30-40 pound range you should consider putting out big baits like 12-15” trout or 12-17” shad. Don’t forget to use a Stinger. While fishing for these larger stripers will be a little slow going, the reward speaks for itself. Target areas are basically anywhere on the main lake, or you could choose to go north to either the Chestatee River from Highway 53 to the Dredge or to the Chattahoochee River from Clark’s Bridge to beyond Lula Bridge, with those same big baits using a spread of planer boards, diagonal bobbers and flat lines unweighted. Since the depth of the rivers can become very shallow, you should be concerned with lake structures like rocks and stumps.
TIP OF THE MONTH: Join a striper club to learn more. Visit the Lanier Striper Club in Cumming or the Oakwood Striper Club in Oakwood. My fishing logs and methods can be found at http://TeamLanier.worpress.com or call me at 404-273-3481.