The lake level is at 1070.75 (.25 below full pull), but will be over full pool by press time with all the recent rains with temps ranging from 48-51 degrees. The main lake is mostly clear up to the Hwy 369 Bridge and then stained up to Hwy 53 up the Chestatee and to Gainesville Creek up the Hootch. From these points up the river arms are very stained as are all the major creeks at least 2/3rds back and then they become muddy. These recent and continuing rains have put a lot of large debris (trees and dock pieces) into the lake so be very careful as you motor from area to area while you are out fishing. February is a great month to catch a big fish if that is what you are looking for specifically. As the water temps get into the mid-forties the big fish will target large bait in shallow water in the afternoons as the water warms a few degrees. South facing clay banks with some rock them are the areas to target as these are the parts of the lake that will absorb a little more sun and warm the water just a few degrees. Large gizzard shad will come to these areas looking for that little bit of warmth and the big fish know it. The best baits to be pulling behind your Captain Mack’s 10” Perfect Planer Board will be 9-14” gizzard shad or 8-12” trout about 10-15 feet behind the board, and you should be pulling these baits in 5-10 feet of water right up against the bank. The gizzards will require a 3/0 Gamakatsu Circle hook with a #1 treble stinger hook 6-9 inches back. My favorite way to tie this rig is to snell the circle hook to your 17-20 lb fluorocarbon leader, but make sure you leave at least 12 inches of tag line behind the hook and then tie your treble at the length for your bait that you will be using. The circle goes in the shad’s mouth and then out between the nostrils and then you will hook the stinger behind the dorsal or in the side of the bait between the dorsal and anal fins. I don’t recommend using a stinger when using large trout as bait for the sole reason of safety. These squirmy buggers will have that stinger stuck in you palm, wrist, finger, and any other body part before you could ever stick them and get them in the water. Most of the bites that you will get on these big baits will be vicious and extremely fun to watch, so keep an eye behind that board, especially if you see that bait getting nervous and coming to the surface. If you are looking for numbers of fish then stick to the northern end of the lake and look for deep schools of bait in 40-60 feet of water in the backs of the creeks. These fish will be best targeted with a down lined small herring, small trout, or even medium shiner placed down at about 35-50 feet (trees allowing) and then slow trolled at about .5 mph at or below the bait that you are marking. If you don’t have time to get bait then you can put a spread of Captain Mack’s Mini Macks loaded with 3/8 oz Striper Tackle Pro Spin Shad heads out as down lines and on the planer boards. These slightly larger heads will give you even more flash and keep your rigs running more true to the actual depth to the amount of line you are letting out which will be 25-35 feet down so that you can avoid any trees. Stealth troll these rigs at .9 to 1.1 mph on the trolling motor in the areas that you are marking large schools of bait on your Humminbird Solix or Helix. In muddier water conditions run the blue head with a chartreuse 3-4 inch trailer and in clearer conditions run the white with white trailer combination.
Being a good person is hard and staying a good person is even harder. “No one is righteous- not even one.” Romans 3:10. Unfortunately even though it is hard it is still not the way to eternal life. There is only one way. “For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10. Trust and believe that Jesus Christ is your savior and you will see eternal life.
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