It’s February and the main lake is clear while you will see a slight stain as you get to the backs of the creeks. As the water cools, the bait is getting further back in the creeks and we see the winter schools of stripers getting larger and larger. The creeks on the north end of the lake like Ada, Gainesville, and Little River have more fish than the southern creeks like Bald Ridge, Four Mile, and Flowery Branch. Having said that, don’t count those southern creeks out because there is nowhere near the same amount of pressure on them. If you are fishing first thing in the morning, look for huge schools of bait in 70-90 feet of water half way to quarter of the way back in the creek channel. Most of this bait will be 35-45 feet deep and you will see fish on your Humminbird SOLIX either mixed in with the fish or even slightly higher. We start our day off pulling a mix of herring, trout, and shad on flat lines and Capt Mack’s Perfect Planer Boards over these scattered fish at .8-1.0 mph. While you are doing that, don’t forget to run a Capt Mack’s Mini Mack out the back of the boat, or behind a board, about 25-30 feet in your spread. This 1mph speed seems to be the best to get those blades spinning and putting off a great shimmer and vibration. Once you start seeing the fish group up, go ahead and pull the boards in and put out your down lines with the same baits. Most of the suspended fish will be slow to take a bait up in the water column, but there will be fish below that will eat that trout when you get him down within the last 10 feet of water you are in. In February, Carolina Special Fat Hawg and Jr Hawg Spoons are effective artificials to use when you get around big groups of fish. They can both be fished vertically like their big brother Boss Hawg, but they can also be cast out away from the boat and slow rolled back after letting them sink down 20-30 feet. If you prefer to wait until it warms up sightly in the afternoon, look for the fish to be shallower as the bait moves towards the back of the creeks as the water warms slightly. We will spend some afternoons in February pulling big baits (10-15 inch shad) on Perfect Planer Boards up on the bank in 5-10 feet of water looking for just one big fish. You will not catch a lot of fish, but you have a shot at a big one this month. Remember that no matter what side of the fence you are on Jesus loves us all and has a plan for us all.