Rain, rain, go away, come again another day. We used to say that when it rained on weekends, messing up our plans. A few years ago we were happy with rain any day since it was so dry. But this winter has been almost ridiculous with all the rain.
Although I live at one of the highest points in my area, as a Pike County water tank a few hundred feet behind my house proves, my back yard still looks like a rice paddy. There is what we called a swale growing up – a shallow dip – that drains the whole hill side through my back yard. The ditch in front of my house has been full of water for months.
Area lakes that were low for years are now full to overflowing. Georgia Power and the Corps of Engineers are no longer trying to hold water back to keep lakes filled. Instead they are holding water back in some lakes to avoid flooding downstream – them main purpose of our federal dams – and releasing water as fast as they can when it is possible.
For fishing, rain can be a blessing or a curse. Rain and fishing go together it seems. It ruined two trips for me in the past few months. Last November I went to Lay Lake to do an article with BASS Pro Matt Herren. He had said we should be able to catch a bunch of three to five pound spotted bass in the Coosa River at the upper end of Lay, just below the Neely Henry dam.
When I got over there we checked the Neely Henry dam and all the flood gates were open, the current in the river was very strong and fast, and the water was high. Mat said that made it unfishable. So we went down the lake where the current was a little lighter and caught some small keeper bass.
Last Wednesday I went to Mitchell Lake on the Coosa River just north of Montgomery. On the way over there at 6:00 AM I hit heavy rain, wind and lightning just across the state line on I-85. The rain was so bad that some crazy drivers had their emergency flashers on and were driving 20 miles per hour on the interstate. If it is that bad to them they need to get off the road!
By the time I got to the lake the rain had ended and it didn’t rain on us the rest of the day. I met Dustin Connell, a young professional fisherman and guide, there. He said he was worried. He expected to catch some big spotted bass up the river, below the Lay Lake dam, but the heavy rain might have caused a problem.
Sure enough when we started up the river we hit a bunch of floating trash and the water got muddier and muddier. By the time we got to the good places to fish conditions were terrible. We went back down the river to a place just ahead of the mud and trash, and Dustin quickly caught a 3.5 pound spot.
Last Monday Dustin had caught a six pound largemouth and a four pound spot and lost another largemouth he estimated at seven pounds in some grass beds in a creek. When we got to the area the rain had muddied up the creek making fishing tough.
Rain helps fishing since fish tend to bite better when it is cloudy, and during hot weather it cools the water some. And water running into a lake can wash food into the water, turning on the bass and making them feed. You can often fish faster and catch a lot of bass after a rain.
It really doesn’t matter since we have no control over the weather, we just have to adapt and go when we can!