January fishing report

Dave Owens holds a huge striped bass caught while fishing recently with Capt. Dale Wilson.

Happy New Year and good fishing. Fishing will be good the next several weeks. The water temperature has fallen. Most species of fish will stay active if the water temperature remains stable. Look for striper fishing to continue to improve as the water temperature will be in the 40s. The baitfish are shallow in the back of creeks and deep in the main channel.

Largemouth bass

Fishing will be fair this month. Best lures will be drop shot rigs, crank baits, shaky heads, spoons, spinner baits, Carolina rigs and Ned rigs. Most largemouth bass will be caught on points, rock piles, brush piles and deep docks. Best depths will be from 2 to 40 feet. Structures close to deep water and ledges are key factors to finding bass this month. Practice catch and release.

Smallmouth bass

Fishing for smallmouth is usually great this month for big fish. Best areas will be rocks, ledges, humps and main channel points. Best lures will be floating fly rigs, Ned rigs, hair jigs, drop shot rigs, crank baits, jerk baits and Carolina rigs. Best areas will be in the mid- to the lower sections of the lake. Smallmouth bass will feed on crawfish and shad this month. Cloudy days are good times to try. Light line will increase chances to catch smallmouth bass. Night fishing will be fair.

Striped bass

Fishing will be good. Stripers will be caught in the mid- to lower sections of the lake and in the larger creeks. Best lures will be swim baits, jigging spoons and Zoom flukes fished on ½- to ¾-ounce lead heads. The best depths will be from near the surface to 50 feet. Vertical jigging is a good method to catch stripers this month. Try to find areas with the largest concentrations of baitfish. Fishing at night will be fair. Some stripers will surface in the early morning and late afternoon. Live bait fished on planer boards and down lines are also good methods.

Crappie

Fishing will be fair. Crappie will be found at 10 to 20 feet. Best areas will be in the main creeks around docks, fallen trees, stumps and brush piles in the mid- to upper parts of the lake. Small live minnows and 1½- to 2-inch tubes or shad-shaped plastic lures fished on 1/16-to ⅛-ounce lead heads will work best to catch crappie this month.

Tips of the month

Slow the retrieve during the cold months. Cloudy days and at night are usually the best times to fish. Wear a life jacket and never fish alone at night or cold winter days. Keep running lights on after dark. Remember to practice catch and release and take a kid fishing.

Capt. Dale Wilson can be contacted at 297-5650 or 874-4950, or by visiting www.captaindalewilson.us.