Thursday, February 29, 2024

January SML Fishing Report by Captain Chad Green


By: Captain Chad Green

January fishing fishing will be getting better as all species and bait are starting to make their winter migration. Some baitfish are moving shallower in certain areas while other areas they are still very deep for this time of year. The upper reaches of the lake will have cooler water temps and shallower baitfish. The fishing could be challenging with the extreme water clarity we have for this winter so far. Any time you enable a fish’s eyesight they can become hard to catch. Smaller bait profiles and light line will be very critical during winter.
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Largemouth Bass/Smallmouth Bass
The bass will be in many different depth ranges this month. 2-30ft depending on what they are feeding on. Crawfish can be a lot of their diet in the winter months. You also have some groups of fish that are traveling every day in search of baitfish in open water. Jerkbaits can provide some great winter fishing this month along with Alabama rigs, Crankbaits, swimbaits, drop shots, jigs etc. Pick whichever one you choose that fits you best or use this time of year to learn a new technique. Target rocky areas, drop offs, docks, and brush piles. Bass are structure oriented so they will relate to something even just one school of baitfish. Windy days offer great fishing as long as its not East or Northeast wind. Warm sunny days with no wind can be tougher days to be out in the winter.

Striped Bass
The upper reaches of the lake will be the best until water temps reach lower 40’s. Then they will migrate back down to the lower to mid section of the lake. Striper fishing has been very good this month as their is an abundance of fish in mouths of the larger creeks 30-50ft first thing in the morning. As they day gets longer they move to timber until early evening. There have been some bigger fish traveling shallower in the 20 ft range in smaller schools as they always do in winter. Blind casting can be the best way to target those fish as they move at a fast pace looking for baitfish. Night fishing can be great this time of year for larger fish. Target the same areas by casting to the banks and a slow retrieve should produce some good fish. Swimbaits, Jerkbaits, Stickbaits can all be productive. Light line during the day on deeper fish can be critical. Small Damiki rigs will produce the smaller fish while larger Damiki type rigs will produce the larger fish.

Most of the Crappie have been in the 15-25 foot range. The crappie fishing has been tough most of the fall. There are plenty of crappie to be found but may be hard to catch. Small Jigs and Minnows will be baits of choice.

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