Today's lake level: 1071.10
Your complete online news, information, and recreation guide to Lake Lanier
Jan. 28, 2020
1:13 am


Fishing Report/Tips

Fishing News

January 2020

  • Lake level: ~ 3 feet below full pool
  • Clarity: Clear main lake, creeks 
  • Temperature: 50s

Bass Fishing

Bass fishing is also very good and as has been the case in recent weeks lots of patterns that are very effective. We have several types of structures that are holding fish, and is usually the case during this time of year the ditches and drains are attracting good groups of fish. Typically the fish will push up into the shallower part of the drain early, moving out as the day progresses. Start out with the moving baits, crank baits, jerk baits and Fish Head Spins, switching to worms and jigs as you move into deeper water.
Docks are still a very good pattern, worms on the Weedless Wonder will get the bite here. I think docks in the creeks are the best, but any dock may hold fish. If I had to pick a depth I would key on 15 to 25, but a few feet on either side of that range can be effective depending on the day and the weather. Jigs will also be a very good choice for the docks, any dark/crawfish pattern jig should be turned into dinner if the fish are there. As always with the docks, try and find the pattern within the pattern. To fish docks can be pretty vague, try and find a depth, what type of secondary structure is under the dock, how far back in the creek, etc.
Otherwise, this is a game of saturation, often producing singles or doubles, but if you keep on the move you can still run up some nice numbers. Fishing rocks are also a good pattern, but talk about vague, rocks are all over and in all depths so let’s try and narrow that down. Two patterns to try here, one is fairly shallow rock in the creeks or on secondary points. Worms on the shakey, Jigs, and crank baits are all good choices for this approach. Like the dock pattern move quickly, fish plenty of places and the numbers should follow. The other pattern is to fish main lake, or places on the major creek channels that are rock bluffs.
This can be slow and tedious, because the bluffs are very steep if you do not fish slowly, your bait will not stay on contact with the rock. Try casting parallel to the bluff keeping your boat tonight to the bank. Fish slowly to let the lure fall down the bluff, not away from it. Most importantly, look for the anomalies along the bluff that will concentrate the fish. Jigs and shakeys will be the go to baits, but if the fish pull up shallow moving baits like jerk baits and spinner baits can also be effective.

Striper Fishing

The striper bite is still good, with a big variety of techniques that will bend the rod. Overall, the trolling bite may be the best pattern, following by or tied with the downline bite. Add in bait fishing on the free lines/planers, casting Mini Mack’s, and dropping some spoons and you will have a plethora of choices to make. We’ll start with the trolling bite. Pulling the full size rigs has been very good, start at 120 feet behind the boat and adjust accordingly. Pull the rigs down the banks in 25 to 35 feet, over high spots, into the creeks and drains, or around any working gulls and/or loons.
Pulling Mini Mack’s over the same depths, is also effective, either flatlined or on the planers. On the Mini, you can slow troll on the electric or flatline them behind the big motor. If you opt for trolling on the outboard, you will need to deploy lots of line, or use lead core, to get the Mini into 15 to 22 feet. On the stealth trolling, just drop the Mini to the depth where you have the best activity and start pulling at .5 mph to 1 mph. To address a frequently asked question about the Mini, I have been using 15 lb mono with no leader.
Heavier line does not seem to deter the bite but it will create drag and cause the rig to fish shallower than with lighter mono. The down line bite has also been good, look for the fish around the bait schools, the bait is really piling up in the creeks and drains, or if you are far enough either river, on flats adjacent to the channels. Trolling a rig is a good way to find these fish, you can always deploy the bait once you mark ‘em. Depth on the downlines is a big variable, 30 is a good starting point but as always adjust the number as you watch your sonar.
Deploying a pitch bait/free line in the mix will also pay off, especially early in the day. Keep a spoon on the ready as well, if they will bunch up for you the spoon will get the bite! We also have a fair number of fish up on points, shallow humps and around flats in 8 to 20 feet, especially up the lake. Planers and flat lines will get some bites here and trout, gizzards and herring are all viable baits.
This pattern has not produced the numbers that the down lines have, that 30 foot water is holding good numbers of fish, and these shallow fish are scattered. It is a viable pattern and will improve as the water continues to cool. This shallow bite will work lake wide, but may be best up in the rivers.
- This report provided by Mack Farr, Captain Mack’s guide service,, 1-888-989-8052


Other fising news

Trout hatchery closes for update

For the first time in 70-plus years, the Lake Burton Trout Hatchery raceways are empty and dry, and the last of the trout has entered North Georgia streams or been transferred to other hatcheries. The hatchery is scheduled for renovation, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ WRD. “The Lake Burton Trout Hatchery was built in the 1930s, and is long overdue for a renovation in order to continue serving the angling public,” says WRD Fisheries Biologist Anthony Rabern. “This large-scale project will temporarily alter the availability of the area for the public, but ultimately will allow us to utilize new technologies to further enhance trout production.” In the past, this facility was operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and was open to the public seven days a week. However, due to the construction on the property, the hatchery hours will change for visitors. The area will be open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m, not open on weekends. 
- Posted 8/27/19

Angling for catfish equal summertime at its best
Have you really and truly lived a good southern life if you haven’t spent a whole day fishing and then fried up a “mess” of catfish for dinner? Catfishing provides great opportunities for new and experienced anglers, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. 
“Georgia provides plenty of opportunities for folks to toss out a line for catfish,” says Matt Thomas, WRD Fisheries Management Chief. “Catching catfish requires relatively simple gear and is a great way to introduce someone new to fishing, especially kids, so grab your gear and make plans to get out and go fish.”
Georgia’s public waterways are home to several species of catfish, including channel, white, blue, flathead and bullheads (consisting of several similar species – yellow, brown, snail, spotted and flat). While you may not catch them often, the larger species, like flathead catfish, can sometimes reach monster weights in excess of 100 pounds – and that’s no tall fish tale! 
As summertime gets closer to its peak, WRD highlights Lake Lanier and offers tips on techniques and equipment for anglers of all skill levels:
Lake Lanier – supports lots of small channel catfish (1-2 pounds) lake wide and fewer flathead catfish (10-40 pounds), which can be found up the Chattahoochee and Chestatee arms of the lake.
As a rule, the species and size of catfish dictate the fishing line and bait used:
If targeting channel and white catfish, fisheries biologists recommend eight to 14-pound test line and medium-sized hooks (size 2 to 1/0) under a bobber or fished on the bottom. Best baits for channel catfish are worms, liver, live minnows, shrimp, cut bait and stink bait. For anglers trying to land a large blue or flathead catfish, heavy tackle is a must – large spinning or casting tackle with at least 20 to 50-pound test braid or monofilament line, large hooks (3/0 to 8/0), and heavy weights (1-5 oz) to keep bait on the bottom.  Flatheads are ambush predators that prey heavily upon fish, so live or freshly killed fish used as bait will increase your chances.  
In general, anglers should target rocky shorelines, rip-rap areas, points and outside bends of rivers or the submerged river channel. Catfish will stay in deep areas or “holes” during the day before roaming the shallows at night for food. 
Though most species of catfish are active throughout the day, the best summer fishing is at dusk and during the night. Catfish can be caught year-round, with the best bite typically from early spring through the peak of summer. Be prepared to fish multiple areas and if you don’t get a bite within 30 minutes, try another are until you find some fish.
For more information, visit
Get a Georgia Bass Slam
Catch five different bass species and you’ll have a Georgia Bass Slam! This program recognizes anglers with the knowledge and skill to catch different species of bass in a variety of habitats across the state, while also stimulating interest in the conservation and management of black bass and their habitats, according to the Georgia DNR, WRD.
Georgia’s 10 recognized native black bass species are largemouth, smallmouth, shoal, Suwannee, spotted, redeye, Chattahoochee, Tallapoosa, Altamaha and Bartram’s. Anglers can find out more about these eligible bass species, including images and locations at
To qualify for the Georgia Bass Slam, fish must be caught within a calendar year, must be legally caught on waters where you have permission to fish, and anglers must provide some basic information on the catch (length, weight-if available, county and waterbody where caught) accompanied by several photos of each fish.  Anglers will submit information to for verification. Complete rules posted at the website.
What is Your Reward? Well, besides bragging rights among all the anglers and non-anglers you know, you will receive a certificate worthy of framing, two “Go Fish Education Center” passes, and some fantastic and fun stickers (for vehicle windows/bumpers) to advertise your achievement. Anglers also will be recognized on the WRD website, at the Go Fish Education Center and possibly through a variety of social media platforms. In addition, all successful submissions will go into a drawing for an annual grand prize! 
Don’t have time to dedicate to catch five species of bass, but maybe you have your eye on a lunker largemouth? We have a program for that, too! The Trophy Bass Angler Award program recognizes largemouth bass catches of 10 pounds or greater. These fish are rare, and the data from these catches helps to provide genetics and growth information that is valuable to fisheries managers. Those that successfully submit a qualified fish will receive a certificate, hat, t-shirt and an entry into a drawing for a reward package. For more information visit
Posted 7/26/19

Other news: Kids Fishing Events teach basics while having fun
They want your time. So, take some time today to make a lifetime memory for you and your child! Research shows that most people are introduced to fishing by a family member, and most consider a family member to be their best fishing friend. Don’t know how to fish? No problem. Visit one of the many upcoming scheduled Kids Fishing Events. The events typically take place at a location with a high successful catch rate, and many events have on-site volunteers to provide assistance for those new to fishing, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “Spending time taking a child fishing is something that you both will cherish for years to come,” says Matt Thomas, chief of fisheries management. “Kids Fishing Events offer a great place to start. They are geared toward helping you and your child get a feel for fishing before you try to ‘tackle’ it on your own.”

Kids Fishing Events are sponsored across the state and provide fishing assistance to both children (under age 16) and parents from knowledgeable instructors. The Wildlife Resources Division co-sponsors many events by providing channel catfish or trout to improve fishing, educational materials for participants and guidance for sponsors. How do you find more information or local events? Visit Here you will find tips on fishing with kids, recommended places to go fish with children, a “kid’s first fish certificate,” and a link to our events system where you can search for local events. For more information on fishing in Georgia, visit:
- Posted 5/28/19

Other news: Nighttime fishing at public fishing areas set for this month
For those evenings when you just want to wet a line no matter what the time, you can now night fish at nine Public Fishing Areas beginning May 1 through Sept. 30, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). “With last year’s success of allowing night fishing, we look forward to again offering this exciting chance to enhance angler access and opportunity,” says Matt Thomas, Chief of the WRD Fisheries Management Section. “Night fishing allows anglers to enjoy fishing while also escaping the hot days of summer, and is a great example of license dollars at work!” 
Georgia has 10 PFAs, nine of which will be open to night fishing, including Big Lazer, Dodge, Evans, Flat Creek, Hugh Gillis, Marben, McDuffie, Ocmulgee and Paradise. Anglers should be sure to check the visitor kiosk(s) of any location they visit to ensure which ponds might be open for night fishing. PFAs offer a wide variety of fishing opportunities, from lakes several hundred acres in size to ponds less than one acre. At most locations, anglers can fish from a boat, along the shoreline or from a pier. While PFAs are primarily managed for fishing, they also offer other family-friendly, day-time activities. Many PFAs have picnic tables, nature and wildlife observation trails, fish cleaning stations and restroom facilities. Some offer primitive campsites for those wishing to stay overnight on the area, and many facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.
For more information on Georgia PFAs, visit
 - Posted 4/29/19

News & notes 
  • For a free sonar setup email Please be sure and include the sonar model you have. 
  • Various books are available on bass fishing at West Point Lake, Lake Russell, and Lake Hartwell. The books cover fishing on these lakes for each week of the year. Books are $39 each. For more info:
  • Waypoint guides are available for lakes Allatoona, Lanier, Oconee, Weiss, and Hartwell. Simply load into your GPS. They are $99 each. More info:

Ken Sturdivant produces the statewide Southern Fishing Report and is operator of Southern Fishing Schools.

Call Ken Sturdivant about the “On the Water Schools” for Sonar or the Rods, Reels and Lures for Bass or a full day striper school.
More info: 770 889-2654,

Other news: Georgia DNR releases more than 1 million trout
Last year, more than one million trout were stocked in Georgia. This year, that number should increase. In fact, the 2019 trout stocking effort is already under way, thanks to trout hatchery staff with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  “This is the second year of our initiative to stock larger trout in Georgia, thanks to the extra funds provided by anglers’ fishing license fees. Georgia trout anglers were pleased with heavy stringers in 2018 and should expect the same for 2019,” explained John Lee Thomson, Georgia Trout Stocking Coordinator. “With a mild winter and abundant rainfall, WRD and our partner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will again achieve the new 10-inch average size for 2019.” 

Though some trout stockings have already occurred to reduce hatchery fish crowding, regular stocking schedules will begin the last week of March. Some popular waterbodies that received early trout stockings include Lake Winfield Scott in Union County, Little Amicalola Creek at Amicalola State Park, Holly Creek in Murray County, and Johns Creek in Floyd County.Want to see more information on stocking? You can check out the  2019 master trout stocking schedule, and even sign up for a weekly trout stocking email at A reminder: The daily limit is eight trout on general regulation trout waters. Anglers are reminded to respect private property rights along streams flowing through private lands, and to obtain permission before fishing on private property. 
 - Posted 3/30/19

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