Category Archives: Where To Fish

Blueback Herring Have Changed Spring Fishing At Clark Hill

And on other herring lakes like Lake Hartwell

Bass were feeding on herring or gizzard shad spawning on a rocky point last April when I won a club tournament. I caught every fish I weighed in except one by 8:30 each morning.  Several hit a spinnerbait, the others hit an underspin lure.

    For years at Clarks Hill after the spawn bass hung around back in coves and pockets feeding where they had bedded.  I remember daddy and two other men going around the back of a creek with Hula Popper and hooking big bass one morning.

    They would not let us kids back there with them, we were too noisy!  Four of us were in a bigger ski boat that we had pulled their jon boat to the creek from the boat ramp.  We were near the mouth of the cove, trying to paddle it and fish.

    I tried to make a long cast to a button bush in the water with my Devil’s Horse topwater plug but it went way off target. As I reeled it in as fast as I could turn the handle on my Mitchell 300 Spinning reel, a huge bass attacked the plug.

    Somehow we managed to land that seven pound largemouth. It was by far the biggest bass I had ever caught when I was 15 years old.  For days we talked about that bass being crazy chasing down that lure skipping across the top of the water. Everybody knew you fished slowly for bass!

    Now we know you can not reel a lure faster than a bass can chase it down, and often very fast moving lures will attract bites when nothing else will.  Buzzbaits were invented for that kind of fishing. I just wish I had been smart enough to figure that out back then and invent them!

    I caught many bass at Clarks Hill in the 1970s and early 1980s fishing back in coves and creeks in April. Then the blueback herring population exploded in the lake and changed everything.

    Bass love the herring.  They are big with an average size of about seven inches so they are a big meal to fill a bass fast. And they are very rich in oils and protein, perfect for bass recovering from the spawn.

    Herring are an open water fish, living on the main lake where it is deep.  When the herring spawn they go to shallow gravel and rock areas on the main lake and are easy for bass to catch and eat.

    It seems all the bass have learned that and almost[RG1]  all of them will head to open water as soon as they spawn in April to eat herring.  It has changed the way I fish on herring lakes like Clarks Hill. 


Captain Macks’ Lake Lanier Fishing Report

Also See:

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Country Fishing – fishing reports on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee, and more. (subscription required)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Freshwater Fishing Reports

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Saltwater Reports

Lake Lanier Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Captain Macks Lake Lanier Fishing Report – March 24

It looks like we will end the
month of March with pretty
mild temps, however, at the
expense of being pretty soggy.
Oh well, that type of weather
often makes for great fishing.

With warming surface temps I
expect that to be the case for
next week! Speaking of
surface temps, we ended up
the week at 57 degrees. The
lake level Friday afternoon was
1070.64, down .18 feet from
last week to close the week at
.36 feet below full pool.

Striper Fishing

The Striper bite was a little slow on the numbers side, but the average
size of the fish has been very good. Some of the shallow water
patterns, or at least patterns where fish were pushing back into
creeks and coves slowed a bit last week. That was probably due
cooling water temps, and some of the bait that was in the shallow
water moving deeper? The water in the incoming creeks also cleared
up, so those factors that may be responsible for the decrease in
activity. With rain approaching (once again on a Saturday!) we will
probably see some stained water in the creek backs moving into next

The areas remain varied, with fish being taken all over the lake. The
best patterns were a mix of live baits free lines and down lines,
depending on the day. The variety of bait was also a mix, Shad,
Shiners and Herring all produced some good catches during the past
week. I would continue to keep a mix of whatever is available in the
spread to maximize the bite. Having a mini tied and ready to place in
the spread also remains a plus.

Trolling continues to be a very good pattern, with big umbrellas being
consistent producers. While open water trolling will catch a few fish,
contour trolling seems to be the best method. This is simply trolling
over a specific depth range, lately the 18 to 25 foot depths seem to
be best. You’ll need to keep the rig pretty near the bottom, 15 to 18
feet deep, so it is really important to stay focused on the chart to
maximize the technique and of course avoiding snags. It is inevitable
that you will get snagged, if not you are grabbing the bottom
occasionally you are probably not being aggressive enough with the
rig. Unfortunately, getting the rig hung once in awhile is a by product
of pulling that shallow. If you are diligent about watching the chart
you can minimize the hang ups. Try the contour trolling in the middle
and back parts of the coves and creeks, this pattern is effective on all
parts of the lake.

Bass Fishing

Bass fishing remains very good, for numbers and big fish. As has
been the case for several weeks now, the patterns are numerous and
varied so you’ll have many options. The Shad Rap cranking bite I
have mentioned in previous weeks is still applicable, but not as
strong in the clearer water. This technique may be best up in the river
arms where there is more stain, as opposed to lower end creeks
which have really cleared up this week. Switching to a crank bait that
runs a little deeper may also be effective, as the many of fish just got
a little deeper with the weather and water conditions.

The dock pattern is still very good, mostly worms and jigs here but
skipping a Fluke may also get some bites. Moving baits will also have
some application, especially on the shallow docks. 8 to 25 feet has
been a good number to target. Focus more in the shallow end of that
range in the upper parts of the lake.

Clay banks and points are very good areas to target, just be mindful
that the fish may be anywhere from 5 to 25 feet. A worm on the shaky
will be hard to beat here, but crank baits can also be effective. Jigs,
and particularly the smaller finesse jigs, have also been good choices
on the clay.

The jerk bait bite is also heating up, and there are plenty of places to
cast your favorite jerk baits, The same clay banks and points
mentioned above, flats along the creek channels, and stump flats are
all likely areas. Keep an eye on the saddles, they are holding fish as
well and can be a very strong pattern moving forward!

Good Fishing!
Capt Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Also See:

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report from Captain Mack


Lake Lanier Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Country Fishing – fishing reports on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee, and more. (subscription required)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Freshwater Fishing Reports

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Saltwater Reports

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 3/25/2023

With the better weather in site it showing as a great lead into the month of April, the bass are
near the spawning beds and in many cases there already laying out. The bite is good if you
can get on top of active fish, if you do you really have a great time. The bass are still on the
move so one day the good spot may have changed from the day or week before.

The baits are narrowing down some as we concentrated on fewer baits this week with Missile
bait 48 stick bait being #1 and SPRO Aruka shad #2 with Tight-Line swim jigs rigged with
Missile Bait Spunk Shad trailers # 3. We did throw other baits, but these were the top

Bladed Jigs Around Grass

Over the many years of lure development no lure has been as effective around grass as the
bladed jig; now has been named many things, Chatter baits, Vibrating jigs and more. The
bottom line is they have taken over where the rattle bait left off with a natural Shad look that
moves, vibrates and attracts bites with great results. The thing is not all Bladed jigs are the
same and picking one style that suits your fishing Zen can make you a better fisherman.

have found that the look of the bladed jig and results can be extremely different dependent
on the lake, your fishing and the depth and structure your targeting.
Many times the head shape and size has a lot to do with how that particular jig works,
especially around grass. As an example, take the different head designs, some work well
through the grass others get caught up, some drop naturally others are bulky and don’t look
natural. Blades are all over the place as blades are all made differently giving them different
action around cover. I have fished some that seem to always be hanging up in the grass while
others move naturally, many of the blades are different styles creating a juggernaut of
different movements, some work well and attract bites others not so much. The key is what
fits your fishing style and the type of cover you fish most of the time as deeper lakes are very
different than shallow grassy lakes and different looks give different results.

Around grassy lakes like Guntersville you’re doing a lot of stopping and dropping and fast and
slow movement forcing you to have to work around the grass and catch fish with different
presentations. Finding the bladed jig that works best in this structure can be different than
others lakes or other types of structure like rocky bottoms or lots of standing timber. All you
can do is sort it out over time as you work on different styles of bladed jigs; you will be
successful as this bait is a naturally fish catcher and once you pick a style that fits you, success
will come and it will become one of your favorite baits.

Come fish with me I have days available to fish with you, the crappie bite is excellent, and the
bass bite is good all said there are good times ahead. We fish with great sponsor products,
Ranger Boats, Boat Logix mounts, Mercury Motors, Lowrance Electronics, Vicious Fishing,
Toyota Trucks, Duckett Fishing, Dawson Boat Center, Power Pole, Lew’s Fishing, Strike King
and more.

Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service
Call: 256 759 2270
Capt. Mike Gerry


Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Also See:

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Country Fishing – fishing reports on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee, and more. (subscription required)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Freshwater Fishing Reports

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Saltwater Reports

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Lake Lanier Weekly Report
24 March 2023

Water Level: 0.37 feet BELOW full pool. 

Water Temp: After a roller coaster of a ride over the past week to ten days, the water temps are starting to flirt with that magical 60-degree mark.  On Thursday, my Garmin was reading low to mid 50s in the morning and high 50s in some places in the afternoon. My Lowrance units were reading mid 50s in the AM and 60/61 in the evening. 

Water Clarity: 8+ feet on the main lake with increasing stain going up the river arms.  The backs of the creeks have cleared up immensely over the past week, but I would not call the backs “clear,” at least by Lanier standards. The further up the river arms you go, the more stain in the water, which is completely typical for this time of year and it’s also why bass generally start the spawning process above the 53 bridges before the lower end of the lake.

Even being post cold front, the lake fished much better for me this week compared to last.  I had several client trips and several solo days this week before heading to the Classic Friday AM.  

Like the past two weeks, two patterns produced most of the fish.  A finesse swimbait in the vary backs of creeks on flats and dragging a worm.

As with the past two weeks, I found large schools located on flats in the backs of some creek arms.  This is not something that is happening everywhere, but if you put in the time and find one of these places you will not need to crank the big motor again until it’s time to leave.  The key is not spooking the bait as you move in and to keep your lure underneath the schools of threadfin.  A chatterbait, A-rig, and crank bait will catch some of these fish, but the most effective way I have found to catch them is slowly winding a finesse swimbait along the bottom. 

I rig the bait on a 1/8 oz head and make as long of a cast as possible.  I will let the bait hit the bottom then start a slow steady retrieve back to the boat.  I also keep my head on a swivel looking for shad flickering on the surface.  That is where I am going to cast next.  Again, this is not a time to put the motor on high and chase bait pods.  Just ease around, cast around and keep your eyes open.  If the bait is there, the fish will be there too.   Make your swimbait look like a stunned shad barley hanging on to dear life and you will get bit. 

In addition to the backs of the creeks, this technique will also work in the “guts” of spawning flats as well.  This produced one of the biggest fish on Thursday.  

A shaky head probably produced the most fish this week.  Two different rigs were the most productive.  First, on the advice of a close fishing buddy, I started to throw a Z-Man Big TRD on a 1/4oz Boss head.  I did this early in the week and had a lot of success with it.  Later in the week I changed gears back to my old trusty 3/16 Davis head with a Trixster Tamale in sweat baby candy.  This bait loaded my boat last spring and summer, and it appears that this year will be no different. 

When fishing the worm, clay banks and rocky secondary points in the mornings on sunny days and all day on cloudy days.  When the sun gets high, it’s time to target the shade lines on medium depth docks.  Again, most of the fish that I am catching off docks are still coming from the middle to the deep side of the dock.  For the clay banks and points, I am casting into about 4/6 FOW and working the bait back.  Some bites are coming very shallow while some are coming deeper.  It is just a sign that the fish are in transition. 

I posted a video this week on my FB page that shows the hookset that I use for a Shakey head.  This is also the same hookset I use with a finesse swimbait.  If you are breaking off a lot of fish on your hookset with light line, check it out.  I think it will help improve your hookup and land ratio.  There is a shot of the actual video as well as a slow motion.

With the forecasted weather and a full moon approaching in the first week of April, more and more fish will continue to pull out of deeper water and head towards the banks.  The next 6 weeks or so is one of the best times of the year to catch pure numbers of fish with some very good ones mixed in. 

Some other baits that have produced for me this week are a crankbait, chatterbait, and jerk bait. 

Thank you, Tabor Reins at Advantage Boat Center, for getting me scheduled and my 100hr service completed in one day.  I really appreciate the support in keeping me on the water day after day. 

For March I have 29th and 30th available.  For early April, I have the 1, 3, 4, 5, 7th available as well as a few dates later in the month, although it is filling up quickly.

I want to thank everyone for the support, it is greatly appreciated. 

Best of luck this week on the water, it is getting exciting out there.



#TritonBoats #advantageboatcenter #hammondsfishingcenter #LanierBaits #trixstercustombaits #stcroixrods #castfishingco #gillfishing #Spotchoker


from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Also See:

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Country Fishing – fishing reports on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee, and more. (subscription required)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Freshwater Fishing Reports

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Saltwater Reports

Freshwater Weekly Fishing Report Week of March 22, 2023

Alan Henry

FAIR. Water clear; 52 degrees; 10.90 feet below pool. Bass are good Carolina rigs, crankbaits, and live bait. Report by Bait Kandy Corp. Crappie are in pre-spawn with some fish in spawn. The bite is good in 2-20 feet of water. Report by Randy Britton, Lake Alan Henry Crappie Guide.


GOOD. Water stained; 65 degrees; 38.02feet below pool. The continuing cold fronts have dropped our water temps to low-mid 60s. This has also delayed our bass in the spawning cycle. Fish are still in the pre-spawn phase. Secondary points leading to flats and bays are holding fish. Texas rigged plastics worked slowly are catching them. Tight lines Captain Olin Jensen, Jensen’s Guide Service. Largemouth bass are good in 5-15 feet of water on plastic lizards, creature baits, senkos, flukes, beavers, Texas rigs, Ned rigs, or Carolina rigs. Stripers are fair using buck tail jigs and swim baits. White bass are good in 30-50 feet of water on main lake channels using shade colored blade baits, spoons, or rattletraps. Catfish are fair in 20-50 feet of water using nightcrawlers, chicken liver, or cheese bait. Tight lines. Report by Captain Raul Cordero, Far West Guide Service.


SLOW. Water lightly stained; 55 degrees; 0.09 feet above pool. Water temperature has dropped after the recent weather. Fish will push deeper but work their way back shallow. Bass can be caught off ledges with spinnerbaits. Crappie can be caught off docks with brush. Channel catfish are biting all over the lake.


GOOD. Water lightly stained; 55 degrees; 5.82 feet below pool. Catfish are excellent moving out of deeper water onto the flats in 5-12 feet of water biting fresh cut shad or punch bait. Crappie catches around the bridges and at the State Park. Report by Brandon Brown, Brown’s Guide Service.


SLOW. Water clear; 57-62 degrees; 0.58 feet above pool. Fishing has been slow due to weather. Bass are slow and scattered from 1-22 feet of water. Shallow fish throw small spinnerbaits or chatterbaits in shad colors. Deeper fish dropshot worm or jig. Crappie are slow and scattered because they are sensitive to the temperature changes. Work the outside of deeper docks and brush in 25 feet of water with minnows. Water is clear. Report by Jim Brack, Athens Guide Service.


FAIR. Water clear; 62 degrees; 0.67 feet below pool. Bass good on jerk baits and small crankbaits in shallows around beds and docks. Crappie and catfish are good on minnows around brush piles and structure. Report Kevin McConnell, McConnell Outdoor Adventure. Lady Bird Lake is 65 degrees. The lower end of the lake has been stained for the last few days from recent rains. Fish are shallow eating lightweight plastics and swimbaits. Upper end of the lake is very clear.

B.A. Steinhagen

SLOW. Water stained; 65 degrees; 0.42 feet below pool. Weather conditions have slowed the bite. Bass are slow using weedless swimbaits, chartreuse spinnerbaits, frogs and swim jigs.


GOOD. Water clear; 75 degrees. Bass are roaming the shallows and sitting on beds. Throw a fluke or craw worm to get them to bite, or drag a Carolina rigged fluke down and around deeper ledges and grass lines. A frog or wakebait over shallow grass lines has been catching some nice ones as well. Report by Bryan Cotter, Texas Hawgs.


GOOD. Water lightly stained; 58 degrees; 14.20 feet below pool. Just after surpassing that magical 60 degree mark briefly last week, a weekend cold front knocked the water temperature back down. The fishing, although very good, is just simmering, ready to go “full boil” if we can get a warming trend of more than two or three days. Helpful bird activity is still present but diminishing. Fish are now rarely found deeper than 30 feet, on warm, sunny afternoons fish may be found chasing shad all the way to the bank. Fish vertically with a slow-smoking retrieve with white ⅝ ounce Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs for deep fish. For shallow fish horizontally work a MAL Lure. Report by Bob Maindelle, Holding the Line Guide Service. Catfish have been fair. With multiple cold fronts catfish have been largely scattered in varying depths. Shallow water with muddy bottoms from 5-10ft has been consistent with fresh shad and other cut baits. Flatheads have been caught around shallow cover and have been good on live perch. Report by Brian Worley, B&S Catfishing. Crappie bite is improving in 10-14 feet of water on timber using slick baits and ATX lure company shad. Not seeing any crappie in open water just yet. Report by Zach Minnix, JigNJerk Guide Service.


SLOW. Water lightly stained; 57 degrees; 0.85 feet above pool. Bass are slow after the recent cold spell. As the water temperature increases, look for bass to return to beds. White bass are fair in the backs of creeks.

Bob Sandlin

FAIR. Water stained; 56-60 degrees; 0.07 feet below pool. Crappie are slow in 10-15 feet of water. Catfish are good in 15-20 feet of water on baited holes with cheese bait. Sand bass are good on main lake points in 20-30 feet of water with slabs. Report by Marty Thomas, Lake O the Pines Crappie Fishing. Bass are pushing off beds then returning as the water starts to warm after cold fronts. Target bass shallow in 4-6 feet of water gearing up to spawn on beds. Success with chatterbaits, craws, worms, and red rattletraps. Report by Mike Struman, R & R Marine. Black bass are spawning in the backs of coves and creeks. Warm cloudy days can produce an excellent topwater bite and shallow subsurface patterns. Try small poppers in frog patterns and keep a popping fish pattern handy for schooling fish. Crappie are moving shallow to spawn, work the boat houses and retaining walls with slow sinking wooley patterns. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service.


GOOD. Water stained; 60 degrees; 11.00 feet below pool. Bass are good shallow in protected pockets with deeper water nearby casting chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and senkos. Catfish are biting better too in the shallow water as they love the warmer water as well. White bass and crappie are good on live minnows or jigs around the marina or mouth of the creek.


GOOD. Water slightly stained, 63 degrees. Largemouth bass are still moving into spawning patterns. Slow jigging, reed beds and fast spinnerbaits can produce a reaction strike. Red drum are picking up, especially on the warming trends of the weather on live bait, frozen shrimp and cut shad in 5-15 feet of water for boaters and recreational fishermen alike. Slow trolling soft plastics white/chartreuse in 20-30 feet of water and small silver spoons can produce on days when red drum are moving a little deeper on poor weather days. Channel and blue catfish no report.


GOOD. Water stained; 56 degrees; 8.42 feet below pool. Crappie are moving in to spawn, so check out docks in the north end with minnows and jigs. Their spawn will move south in the next few weeks or so. Sand bass should be heading upstream to spawn. Heavy rain or cold fronts may push them back into the main lake. Check shallow sandbars and windblown points, especially on the north end, to see if they are active. Largemouth bass should be closing in their spawn. Check points on the outside of known spawning coves using crankbaits, jerkbaits and plastics. All ramps are open. Report by Keith Bunch, Lake Bridgeport Guide Service.


SLOW. Water stained; 60-65 degrees; 8.70 feet below pool. Black bass to 7.23 pounds are excellent on jigs, jerkbaits and spinnerbaits in 4-12 feet around spawning areas. Alabama rigs and crankbaits around the rocky shoreline near pre-spawn areas with a few on beds. Crappie are spawning and excellent toward the mouth of the creeks in 2-5 feet of water spawning. White bass are fair scattered near the mouth of pockets on crankbaits. Catfish are slow cut bait.


GOOD. Water clear; 60 degrees. Bass are good fishing crankbaits as close to the rocks as possible. Report by Aggie Anglers. Fish are biting off the boat docks and submerged structure in front of the restaurant. Crappie are good on small minnows and jigs. Catfish are good on worms and stink bait. Report by The Bait Barn.


GREAT. Water lightly stained; 60 degrees; 18.41 feet below pool. The white bass are good trolling crankbaits, or vertically jigging shallow shorelines under the birds. Striped bass are hit-and-miss, trolling or vertically jigging under the birds. Note to boaters, with the lake level dropping be cautious as there are many treetops just under the water or sticking up only a few inches. Report by Travis Holland, TH Fishing.


SLOW. Water stained; 60 degrees; 1.48 feet above pool. This cold snap has put the beat down on the bass dropping the water temperatures 10 degrees. Hoping the forecasted weather will bring back the springtime warmth and so we can fish senkos and flukes around trees. Stay shallow and fish slow if your on the flats looking for bass, but if your in the river system looking for pre or post spawn fish hit the current spots that they would hold up in using rattletraps or crankbaits. We will know spring is back when we see the wasp flying again and yellow pollen all over the boats. Even if the bite is slow, it is still a blessing to come and enjoy this majestic lake that God spoke into existence. Report provided by Vince Richards, Caddo Lake Fishing & Fellowship.


FAIR. Water slightly stained, 65 degrees. Red drum have been good on slow trolled silver spoons and white/chartreuse soft plastics. Red drum have been fair on shrimp, and cut shad in 10-20 feet of water from the recreational shoreline and for boaters alike. Channel and blue catfish have been good on shrimp, cut shad, and cheese bait in 5-15 feet of water for channels and 25-30 feet of water for blues. Hybrid Striper no report.

Canyon Lake

FAIR. Water slightly stained; 60 degrees; 11.67 feet below pool. With the recent cold front and heavy winds the fishing has gotten tough with numbers and size of bass caught down. Bass can be caught slowly fishing a trick worm along grass edges, and slow rolling a swimbait over the grass.Report by Evan Coleman, Big Bassin Fishing.

Cedar Creek

GOOD. Water normal stain; 54-59 degrees; 0.03 feet below pool. The bite may slow with the cold front, but fishing patterns are similar. Crappie are good, fish are staging on docks and shallow brush piles. 4-12 feet has been the best depth. Bridges are holding fish as well as they are staging there as well on pylons in 18-24 feet. White bass and hybrids are good in creeks and some mainlake humps are producing fish, in a few weeks they will start surfacing on shad. Use a silver slab and tandem rigged 1/8 ounce crappie jigs. Largemouth bass are good, jigs and spinnerbaits around shallow docks and bushes are producing fish around creek channel bends. Report by Kyle Miers, Lake Country Outfitters.

Choke Canyon

GOOD. Water stained; 61 degrees; 24.74 feet below pool. Bass are shallow from the bank out to eight feet on white and chartreuse spinnerbaits, senkos, lizards, and flukes. Bass are in every stage of the spawn. Catfish are shallow with cut and stink bait. Crappie are good in the shallows on minnows and small black and chartreuse grubs. Report by Scott Springer, Fish Choke Canyon Lake.


GOOD. Water stained; 53 degrees; 8.60 feet below pool. Crappie are still spawning with a good bite in the evening using minnows. Bass are hitting throughout the day on jerkbaits. Channel catfish are biting on worms. Report by Jason Miller, Lake Cisco Rentals.


SLOW. Slightly stained; 63 degrees; 5.65 feet below pool. Bass to eight pounds are good on crankbaits and spinnerbaits near the river.


GOOD. Water stained; 61 degrees; 0.01 feet above pool. Catfish are great with plenty of nice eater sized fish up to 8 pounds on Catfish Bubblegum, liver, and worms. Fish in 8-25 feet of water on points and ledges near cover. Report by Brad Doyle, Bradley’s Guide Service. Bass fishing conditions have been challenging due to changing temperatures, high winds, and post-spawn conditions. Shallow areas have off-colored water, and the water temperature has dropped enough to scatter baitfish. Anglers targeting largemouth bass should adjust their techniques by using lures that create noise and vibration and natural colors. Also explore areas with structures like docks and drop-offs or shallow flats which receive lots of sunlight. Report by Bryan Brawner, Lake Conroe Charters. Found aggressive crappie, with more solid thumps than a lite bite using Lone Star Crappie Jigs, plastic or hair jigs have been producing good fish in 16-26 feet of water from this cold snap. Fish should be back on the move this week as it warms up. Hybrid bass can be caught jigging, or casting swimbaits, or live bait on the edge of drop off 12-26 feet of water near and on flats. Some schools have been tight where others have been scattered. Always wear your life jacket Report by Mike Cason, Fishical Therapy Lake Conroe Guide.


FAIR. Water lightly stained; 59 degrees. Crappie are good on jigs and minnows. Blue catfish catches are good drifting with cut bait.

Corpus Christi Lake

GREAT. 65 degrees; 4.69 feet below pool. Catfish are great 1-3 feet of water on cheese bait, cut shad, soap baits, shrimp, and worms. Largemouth bass are good in 1-3 feet of water on jigs, senkos, and small crankbaits. White bass are slow in the lake but are great in the Nueces River north of the lake. Live minnows and small swim baits are the ticket. Crappie are good in one foot of water near structures with live minnows or white jigs. The spawn is slowing down and fish are beginning to scatter but can still be found shallow. Alligator gar are good on cut shad and carp. Bowfisherman are finding great success in the shallows. Report provided by Captain Damian Hubbs, Top Gun Outfitters.

Cypress Springs

FAIR: Water stained; 57 degrees; 0.23 feet above pool. Crappie are fair with some fish starting to show up shallow biting minnows under a slip cork. Catfish are good on 15-20 feet of water on baited holes using cheese baits. Sand bass are good in 25-30 feet of water on slabs. Report by Marty Thomas, Lake O the Pines Crappie Fishing. Bass are pushing off beds then returning as the water starts to warm after cold fronts. Target bass shallow in 4-6 feet of water gearing up to spawn on beds. Success with chatterbaits, craws, worms, and red rattletraps. Report by Mike Struman, R & R Marine.

Eagle Mountain

GOOD. Water normal stain, 62 degrees; 2.85 feet below pool. White bass are fair on main lake structures using slabs, and in creeks using rooster tails and inline spinners. Crappie are fair in boat slips and on brush on jigs and some crappie are being reported shallow on jigs. Blue catfish and channel catfish are good on punch bait and shad in multiple depths. All fish patterns are changing with warm and cool days so patterns may change daily. Report provided by Chad Ferguson of North Texas Catfish Guide Service.


Closed to the public.


GOOD. Water stained; 68-75 degrees; 44.05 feet below pool. Bass are excellent in 5-15 feet of water on flats near deep water. Bigger bass are being caught dragging football jigs and crankbaits. Crappie and white bass are transitioning to 5-15 feet of water for the spawn. Keeper catfish are in 10-20 feet of water using cut bait and shrimp. Bigger catfish are being caught at the edge of the river channel on fresh cut bait. Gar are suspended at the surface biting tilapia, cut carp and shad. White bass are shallow on wind blown rocks near The Tigers using crankbaits and three inch swimbait and speck rigs. Report by Ram Reyes, Ram Outdoors.


EXCELLENT. Water clear; 58 degrees; 0.00 feet full pool. The cooler weather dropped the water temperature from the upper 60s to the lower 50s slowing the bite for all species. The bass spawn continues with the bite excellent on shallow points and rocks near the dam in 10-14 feet of water with various shad colored crankbaits, rattletraps, and crawfish plastics. The topwater bite good early morning in shallow water with frog poppers. Catfish are fair, hitting punch bait and chicken livers in 8-15 feet of water, and on tight lines over chum. Bluegill and perch are good on worms and crickets around structures. Report by Weldon Kirk, Fish Tales Guide Service.


GOOD. Water Stained; 55-62 degrees; 1.64 feet below pool. The cold front dropped the water temperature down 10 degrees in some areas slowing the bass bite. Use a slow bait presentation with Texas rigs, baby brush hogs or beaver type baits on the outside edge of the grass. Darker colored baits like V & M chopsticks in Texas smoke have been fair in 3-6 feet. Look for the bite to improve by the weekend as the water temperature warms and bass return to beds. Frogs and baits worked on top of the grass and in the pockets of grass should be great by the weekend. Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Pro. Cooler weather is affecting the movement of the black bass, as the water cools the females are not committing to the beds, but as the water warms activity will increase. Search warmer clearer water in the backs of coves and creeks for active fish. Crappie are beginning to move towards the banks, try small bead heads fished slowly 3-4 feet. Carp and gar are spawning in shallow water. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. The crappie fishing on Lake Fork is getting really hot. Seeing great numbers and lots of big fish each day. The fish are making huge moves shallow this week and will for the next month. Areas in 2-13 feet are finally beginning to see more fish that are spawning. The 14-32 feet staging areas are also still loaded with fish and reloading daily now. Seeing lots of fish roaming in open water but the best luck is still coming on fish on timber or brush. Small hand tied jigs in chartreuse or orange are getting crushed right now, and you can still catch fish well on soft plastics and minnows. Report by Jacky Wiggins, Jacky Wiggins’ Guide Service. The crappie are biting in the main creek channels about halfway back in the creek. With the cooler weather most of the crappie are laying on the bottom. Once the sun comes out fish suspend up in the water column around 15 feet. Success with Snacky lures FS200 matched with the eye hole jig or crappie magnet jig heads and the bucks ultimate super stiff crappie rod from BNM Poles. The braided line from K9 fishing products is key this week with the heavy timber, it makes pulling those big crappie out of the trees less stressful. Report by Robert Stover, Workingman Crappie Guide.

Ft. Phantom Hill

GOOD. Water stained; 55 degrees; 7.01 feet below pool. Catfish are good with cut bait. Bass are in staging areas so fish flukes and senkos.


SLOW. Water lightly stained; 55 degrees; 4.34 feet below pool. Bass are good and feeding well as the water warms. Baitfish type lures are working best, such as lipless crankbaits and jerkbaits.


FAIR. Water lightly stained; 58 degrees; 1.44 feet below pool. Water temperatures are in the upper 50s to low 60s due to the recent cool snaps. Temperatures will rebound quickly. Golden alga is still present in some areas, but many areas of the lake have improved. Crappie are moving up and can be caught in the shallows on jigs and minnows, some are still in deeper water. Largemouth bass are moving toward their spawning beds and are good on soft plastics and crankbaits. Sand bass are good on jigs, slabs and minnow fished in the river near Tin Top. Striped bass are being caught on live shad and bass assassins near Indian Harbor and near Sandy Point. Catfish action is good in the river above Hunter Park and near Decordova subdivision. Report by Michael Acosta, Unfair Advantage Charters. Shad are starting to stage on shallow flats and will be moving to the banks soon with warmer weather. Catfish bite is slow, but should improve as the weather stabilizes. Cut carp is outperforming shad. Report by Jeffery Sojourner, Sojourner Fishing LLC.


SLOW. Water lightly stained; 60 degrees; 0.28 feet above pool. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits fished over hydrilla and up river around timber. Crappie are good on minnows fished up river at night. White bass are very good on white 1/8 ounce twister tail grubs around Dickerson’s River Bottom. Blue catfish are good on jug lines baited with Zote Soap. Yellow catfish are fair to 20 pounds on trotlines fished up river. Report by Tommy Tidwell, Tommy Tidwell’s Granger Lake Guide Service.


FAIR. Water clear; 55-58 degrees; 0.80 feet above pool. When the water reaches 60 degrees and the shad start spawning the bite will take off. Fishing is hit-or-miss with the rolling cold fronts. The best bite continues to be in the afternoon, from 2 P.M. to sundown. White bass are biting slabs, but when you see birds working throw swimbaits. Fish the edges of flats, drop-offs or isolated ridges in 25 feet of water with �¼ ounce VMC moon eye jighead with a three inch storm largo shad. Target crappie on shallow brush piles. Deeper brush piles can be hard to locate while the water level is high. Catfish are in shallow water feeding on spawning carp and shad. Bass are shallow, look in shallow spawning areas with spinnerbaits. Water is high, so be prepared when launching. Report by Omar Cotter, Luck O’the Irish Fishing Guide Service.


SLOW. Water stained; 55 degrees; 45.69 feet below pool. Few reports due to few anglers on the water.


SLOW. Water slightly stained. 55-65 degrees. Recent weed eradication will create pockets of low oxygen because of decomposing plant life. Fluctuating water temperatures are affecting the fish activity. Stealthy approaches, small baits, and light leaders are the best plan for these spooky fish. Bass are bedding in 3-4 feet of water. Bream are moving shallow to begin their summer spawning pattern. Look for spawning beds and try small #8 or #10 buggers. Crappie are moving shallow, try clean banks in 12-18 inches with #6 or #8 wooly buggers. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service.

Houston County

GOOD. Water stained; 65-69 degrees; 0.18 feet above pool. Largemouth bass are good and on spawning beds. Fish out to seven feet on flats, bulkheads, and shallow docks using wacky worms, weightless yum dingers. Crappie are good on deep dock posts, bulkheads, shallow stumps out to 12 feet using minnows. Report by Colan Gonzales, DFW Fishing Guide

Hubbard Creek

SLOW. Water Stained; 62 degrees; 7.80 feet below pool. Bass should be pushing shallow gearing up for the spawn. Target rocks and rock cuts with creature baits and crankbaits. Crappie are good in the Hubbard Creek and Sandy Creek arm using minnows.


GOOD. Water lightly stained; 62 degrees; 0.06 feet below pool. Bass are good with some small fish on the banks, and the bigger fish seem to be being in 6-23 feet on brush using soft plastics and jigs.

Joe Pool

FAIR. Water slightly stained; 65 degrees; 0.45 feet above pool. The bass bite is improving as the water temperature reaches the mid to upper 50s. White vibrating jigs are working well in 1-6 feet of water all over the lake. The fish are moving up, but some can still be caught on a Carolina rigged soft plastic creature bait or worm in 10-15 feet on underwater ledges near the mouth of any pocket or cove. A lipless crankbait is a great way to cover water to locate fish. Report by Ben Robertson, Ben’s Bass Excursions.

Lake O’ the Pines

GOOD. Water stained; 57-61 degrees; 1.03 feet above pool. As the coldfronts roll through crappie are scattered and moving from 2-20 feet of water. Catfish are good in 10-20 feet of water on baited holes. Sand bass excellent north of the 259 Bridge on white roadrunners. Report by Marty Thomas, Lake O the Pines Crappie Fishing. Bass are pushing off beds then returning as the water starts to warm after cold fronts. Target bass shallow in 4-6 feet of water gearing up to spawn on beds. Success with chatterbaits, craws, worms, and red rattletraps. Report by Mike Struman, R & R Marine.


GOOD. Water lightly stained; 60 degrees; 0.12 feet above pool. Crappie are spawning in the shallows and flooded grass 1-5 feet. Roaming males and females are holding on structure in 5-12 feet near the spawning grounds. Still seeing some 12-20 feet of water on structures as well. Blue catfish are scattered in 5-10 feet of water on the north side of the lake, and some are in 15-25 feet on flats and slopes using cut gizzard shad on Santee rigs. White bass are on the annual spawn in the creek on the north end of the lake. creek. This is a bank angler’s dream, using ultra light gear 4 pound mono and small jigs. Look for fish near the dam and around main lake points 15-25 feet using once ounce slabs in white and chartreuse will put a few on the boat. This time of year can be difficult for black bass while they are in pre-spawn, so cover a lot of structure with Alabama rigs, jigs, and swimbaits. Early in the morning white and chartreuse spinner baits on the riprap or any concrete structures out to 10 feet. Rocky, sandy, or pebble bottom is gold for finding spawning fish. This is pretty much the main time of year when you can find fish on timber shallow as well. Report by Carey Thorn, White Bass Fishing Texas.


GOOD. Water stained; 60 degrees; 0.28 feet below pool. Catfish are good in 15-20 feet of open water with punch bait. Crappie are fair with live minnows or chartreuse jigs in 4-10 feet of water over brush piles. Report by Jess Rotherham, Texas Crappie Fishing Service.


FAIR. Water lightly stained; 60 degrees; 0.13 feet above pool. White bass are fair to good on the bottom near humps, points, and drop-off ledges in 20-30 feet of water or suspended near creek channels and flats close by in 34-55 feet of water. Flukes, small swimbaits, slabs, and live bait are working. Keeper sized hybrid striper are slow, but can be picked off every once in a while hanging around the white bass. If you are keeping fish, please be aware that there are a lot of undersized hybrid stripers in the lake that look very similar to a white bass. Catfish are good. Anchoring in 5 feet or less close to the feeder creeks or drifting 12-34 feet with cut shad or chicken breasts has produced. Check near wind blown points, humps, and flats near creek channels if drifting. Crappie are fair in depths ranging from 4-34 feet of water with minnows and jigs. The main lake and feeder creeks are producing fish focusing on warm banks, brush piles, standing timber, rock piles, stumps, laydowns, leaf piles, and bridge columns. Report by Wes Campbell, BendaRod Fishing.


GOOD. Water clear; 65-70 degrees; 2.81 feet below pool. Largemouth bass are on beds and the bite is good out to three feet using Texas rigs, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. Crappie are good out to seven feet on minnows. Catfish out to 10 feet on cut bait. White bass are good out to seven feet using squarebill crankbaits, silver jigging spoons, and spinnerbaits. Report by Colan Gonzales, DFW Fishing Guide


SLOW. Stained; 65 degrees; 0.17 feet above pool. White bass are fair to good showing up on the humps and points on the mid to south end of the lake trolling with �¾ ounce slabs and jigging off the bottom near the island. Catfish are good on the main lake drifting with cut bait on flats near the river channel. Report by Jeff Friederick, Fishin’ Addiction Guide Service.

Martin Creek

GOOD. Water slightly stained; 70 degrees; 0.10 feet above pool. Bass are good on topwater lures early, then work swimbaits, rattletraps and worms later in the day. Crappie are good in deeper water suspended from 10-18 feet of water over brush or flooded timber using jigs or minnows.


SLOW. Water lightly stained; 65 degrees; 82.24 feet below pool. Few reports and anglers on the water. All species should be pushing shallow. Bass should be on beds biting creature baits, or on ledges with Carolina rigged soft plastics. Catfish are fair on cut bait.


SLOW. Water stained; 46-48 degrees; 55.13 feet below pool. Bass are fair on minnows and artificials. Catfish are slow on minnows and frozen shad. Crappie are slow but minnows are still the ticket. White bass are fair on minnows, and jig heads with a curly tailed grub. Trout are good on minnows, power baits, worms, small spinners and flies. Walleye are fair on minnows and grubs. Several reports of walleye caught at the end of shallow docks, so fish must be moving in. Please be safe out there, watch weather reports. Life vests save lives. Hope this helps you enjoy Lake Meredith. Report by Kenneth Wysong, SharKens Honey Hole.

Millers Creek

GOOD. Water stained; 59 degrees; 5.78 feet below pool. Bass are shallow gearing up the spawn. Crappie are good on standing timber and brush piles with minnows or small jigs. Catfish are good on cut baits and cheese bait. White bass should begin moving towards the creek channels.


GOOD. Water clear; 64-68 degrees; 0.08 feet above pool. Largemouth bass are good on beds and along the grass edges. Crappie fishing is starting to improve as fish group up on brush and timber 10-20 feet. Report by Blake Oestreich, Brushbuster Guide Service.


GOOD. Water lightly stained; 55 degrees. Cold weather dropped the water temperature 10 degrees. This seemed to hold back the females. Buck bass are on beds, but some moved off to deeper water. Typical lures for bedding bass are creatures, lizards, craws in red colors, or flake. Try weightless if possible, but use 1/8th ounce Texas rig if needed. The crappie population is good. Catfish are slow. Report by Eric Wolfe, NacoTack Fishing Services.


GOOD. Water slightly stained; 61 degrees. 1.00 feet below pool. Bass were fair on white chatter-baits around the reeds and flipping soft plastics up river in 1-3ft of water. Crappie were good around boat docks on chartreuse jigs and catfish were good on cut bait and stink bait around the dam. Report provided by the Angelo State Fishing Team.

Navarro Mills

SLOW. Stained; 62 degrees; 0.06 feet below pool. Bass should be shallow on beds biting creature baits, or on ledges biting a Carolina rigged worm. Crappie are fair with minnows and jigs. Catfish are good on cut bait.

O.C. Fisher

SLOW. Water stained; 60 degrees; 48.66 feet below pool. Few reports and anglers fishing due to weather, and low lake levels.

O.H. Ivie

GOOD. Water stained; 60 degrees; 24.06 feet below pool. Largemouth bass are good using soft plastics. White bass are fair with live bait and crankbaits. Crappie good using minnows. Catfish are good on live bait. Report by Concho Park and Marina.

Oak Creek

GOOD. Water lightly stained; 60 degrees; 11.53 feet below pool. Fishing has slowed due to the weather, but patterns should pick back up as the weather stabilizes. Bass are good shallow with pumpkin seed eight inch worms. Crappie are good in the deeper water near the dam with minnows. Threadfin shad are schooling the banks, so the white bass should follow soon. Report provided by Randall Pate, Sportsman’s Lodge.


GOOD. Water lightly stained; 50 degrees; 0.54 feet above pool. Bass are good out to one foot of water throwing a shimmy shaker and big eyed white jigs. Crappie are good in 1-4 feet of water in Kickapoo Creek minnows, and jigs. Reports of white bass catches in the river on inline spinners and rattletraps. Catfish are very good on baited holes in 17-18 feet, and under deeper boat houses on nightcrawlers. Report by Ricky Vandergriff, Ricky’s Guide Service.

Palo Pinto

SLOW. Water lightly stained; 63 degrees; 6.34 feet below pool. Bass are entering the creeks seeing good numbers of males moving in before the females. The bigger fish should be in the creeks soon. Report by James Moore, North Texas Bass Fishing and Cmoore Striper Guide.

Possum Kingdom

GOOD. Water lightly stained; 53-56 degrees; 5.52 feet below pool. Striper fishing is fair to good. Most fish are caught using live shad. Some fish are being caught trolling jigs in white, green, and chartreuse. Look for fish between 20-45 ft of water.


SLOW. Water stained; 60 degrees; 9.41 feet below pool. Blue catfish are biting best at night in deeper water. Marking fish on ledges and deeper structure from 10-18 feet of water. Shad are hard to find, and the day bite is slow. Report by Jeffery Sojourner, Sojourner Fishing LLC.


FAIR. Water clear; 60 degrees; 0.00 feet full pool. Fish are thrown for a loop after the recent cold snap cooled the water temperature to the low 60s. Lake is at full pool, and visibility is varied to 1-6 feet of visibility. Catfish are fair on cut bluegill or liver. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass have finished the spawn, and have mostly moved off the beds. A few late bloomers are still on bed, but mostly smaller male fry guarders are in the shallows, with larger post spawn females hanging in deeper water not far away. Paddle tail plastic five inch swimbaits in a bluegill color are a great bet right now, followed closely by a junebug chatterbait or senko just off the grass lines.

Ray Hubbard

FAIR. Water lightly stained; 57-59 degrees; 0.07 feet below pool. White bass are good fishing flats in 28-30 feet of water adjacent to shallow spawning areas, and suspended four feet off the bottom in some areas. A lot of white bass are spawning and are full of eggs. Reports of white bass in the creeks. Crappie are good in flooded cattails in the creeks and in water as shallow as three feet using cork jigs or minnows. Catfish are around timber areas of the lake in 2-8 feet of water using cut shad and bubbas punch bait. Report by John Varner, John Varner’s Guide Service.

Ray Roberts

SLOW. Water is stained; 53 degrees; 0.47 feet above pool. Fishing has been slow due to inclement weather, but this should improve as spring-like weather is in the forecast. White bass are in the creek spawning. Some undersized catches in the main lake. Crappie are fair in the mouths of creeks biting on jigs and minnows in 3-12 feet of water. Bass are fair in shallow water on beds using spinnerbaits. Shad should be on the bulkheads in the coming weeks, but are not there just yet. Where there is baitfish there is game fish. Report by Jim Walling, Ucatchem Guide Service.

Richland Chambers

GOOD. Water clear; 60-62 degrees; 1.88 feet below pool. White bass and hybrid striper action is good with a few reports of fish being caught in 20-30 feet of water main lake points and drop-offs with a slab and jig combination. Watch for the gulls and baitfish to locate hybrid striper surface action using Sassy Shad. Eater size blue and channel catfish are good and can be caught off the bottom with a # 4 Treble Hook with punch bait in 15 feet in the timber off the Richland Creek Arm of the Lake. The crappie spawn is happening as we hear reports of catches in shallow water and around boat docks. Check out the shallow water coves and shorelines on the far North end of the Lake. Minnows seem to work best this time of year! Report by Royce Simmons, Gone Fishin’ Guide Service.

Sam Rayburn

GOOD. Water stained; 62 degrees; 0.29 feet below pool. Dogwood bloom is usually the environmental indicator for the crappie, but after the cold fronts the spawn has been pushed back. Male crappie can be caught wading in the cypress trees, with the females slowly coming in. Male bass are shallow on beds, most females are on staging points waiting for the water to warm. Trick worms will catch shallow fish, and spinner baits and crankbaits will get the fish in deeper water. Catfish are moving into the shallows from the river. White bass are in the river on roadrunners and small plastics. Report by Lynn Atkinson, Reel Um N Guide Service.


GOOD. Water slightly clear; 53 degrees; 2.47 feet below pool. The cooler weather dropped the water temperature from the upper 60s to the lower 50s slowing the bite for all species. Catfish, bluegill, and crappie are fair on minnows and worms at Somerville Marina early morning and late evening. Black bass are fair, hitting slow moving spinnerbaits and shad color crank bait on drop-offs in 6-10 feet of water, and around rocky points. Crappie are fair on the main lake brush piles using minnows and various jigs. Catfish are fair early morning, 2-8 feet of water. Larger catfish are good in deep water on Jug lines baited with shad. Hybrids are fair. White bass are good trolling Pet spoons for trolling or using shad and pencil minnows 6-10 feet of water. Report by Weldon Kirk, Fish Tales Guide Service.


FAIR. Water stained; 63 degrees. 45.26 feet below pool. Fishing patterns are similar, but as the cold fronts roll through fish may slow. Bass are fair on green pumpkin plastics in 3-8 feet. The key will be to find warmer water. Be safe and wear your life jackets.

Squaw Creek

GREAT. Water stained. 75 degrees; 0.42 feet above pool. Channel catfish are good on punch bait, minnows, cut bait or hot dogs throughout the reservoir in 22-45 creek channels and ledges. Report provided by Kraig Sexton, Sexton’s Guide Service LLC, Fishing Charter, Marine Electronics & Whitney.


SLOW. Water stained; 60 degrees; 3.49 feet below pool. Crappie fishing is good at the Crappie House on jigs and minnows. Catfish are fair on juglines. Bass should be shallow on beds with creature baits. Report by Anchor Marina.


GOOD. Water lightly stained; 58 degrees; 12.56 feet below pool. The near total lack of flow in this reservoir has made the traditional spring white bass run a great disappointment this year. With no flow in the Lampasas River, there is no current to draw the fish into the river, nor into the upper third of the reservoir in the great numbers anglers have become accustomed to in years past. Bird activity, which has been helpful in leading the way to fish through the winter, is beginning to decline as birds begin to migrate back north. Report by Bob Maindelle, Holding the Line Guide Service.


GOOD. Water lightly stained; 55 degrees; 0.29 feet above pool. White bass and hybrids have moved off the main lake and can be found at the mouth of creeks and rivers staging to spawn. Getting these fish to bite can be tricky. Smaller crappie jigs with small plastic baits has worked best. The trophy Blue Catfish bite is good. Fish to 70 pounds have been caught on fresh gizzard shad and cut bait. Depths from 6-25 feet are working best. The eating sized catfish in the 1-5 pound range has really kicked off. These fish can be caught in 35-45 feet or 1-5 feet. Punch bait and smaller pieces of fresh shad are working. Crappie are also staging for the spawn, but we are still seeing lots of fish in the 15-25 feet range on minnows and plastics. Largemouth bass bite has improved this week. Squarebill crankbaits and flukes are working but Alabama rigs and swimbaits are working best. Report by Captain Michael Littlejohn, Lake Tawakoni Guide Service.


FAIR. Water stained; 65 degrees; 0.77 feet below pool. Bass should be shallow staging for the spawn. Cast creature baits in grass lines and rock structure. Crappie are fair in structure using minnows and jigs. Catfish are fair throughout the lake on punch bait and cut bait.


GOOD. Water stained; 65 degrees; 0.58 feet below pool. Striped bass are fair with the bite hit-or-miss. The bite can be tougher while the fish start to spawn. Fish in 15-30 feet of water on structure or out in open water with Alabama rigs or swimbaits. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors. Striped bass are good on live bait drifting flats in 30-50 feet of water. A few warmer weeks and the stripers will go spawn. A lot of smaller fish on humps in 25-30 feet of water fishing live bait. Crappie are fair on brush in 8-10 feet of water fishing jigs but the minnow bite will turn on in the creeks soon. Catfish are slow anchoring with cut shad in 5-15 feet of water near the rivers. Warmer weather ahead will have them feeding before the spawn. Report by Jacob Orr Lake Texoma Guaranteed Guide Service.

Toledo Bend

GOOD. Water stained; 62-68 degrees; 2.17 feet below pool. GOOD. The water level is 169.86 with both generators running 24 hours. Water temperature at the dam is 62 degrees. North of the three-mile Pendleton bridge, temperatures have been running 65-68 degrees. Good numbers of bass have been caught on bladed jigs in colors of black/blue,


GOOD. Water clear; 62-64 degrees; 41.57 feet below pool. Check near rocky banks, but if they are not there bass will be suspended in open water biting on jerkbaits and swimbaits. Try working speed craws with a shaky head in the thick of the grass. Report by Randal Frisbie, Central Texas Fishing Guide, LLC.

Twin Buttes

GOOD. Water stained. 59 degrees; 22.85 feet below pool. Spring is kicking off per usual with up and down weather patterns slowing the bite when the temperature dips. Crappie are fair to slow in the rivers and stickups. White bass are running in the middle channels of the river on any type of small shiny spinnerbaits. The white bass spawn is close. Channel catfish are good up to eight pounds in 8-27 feet of water prepared baits. Reports of largemouth bass catches in 5-25 feet of water. Report by Captain Michael Peterson, 4 Reel Fun Guide Service.


GOOD. Water stained; 66 degrees; 0.23 feet above pool. The bite has slowed some with the recent cold front, but as the water warms the bite will pick up where it left off in the shallows. Bass are good to nine pounds on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and worms in 3-4 feet of water. Crappie are good out to two feet of water on jigs and minnows. Catfish are good with chicken liver. Bluegill are good on red worms, and even a small minnow. Report by Paul Taylor, The Boulders at Lake Tyler.


GREAT. Water stained; 64 degrees; 5.87 feet below pool. Crappie are in 10-25 feet in open water suspended anywhere from 5-15 feet deep. Focus on main creek channels close to spawning areas fishing with Snacky lures FS200 with eyehole jig heads in 1/16th ounce and we used the “bucks ultimate” rods from BNM Poles in 10 feet. Look for standing timber or brush in these areas as they usually hold a few fish in them as well. Report by Robert Stover, Workingman Crappie Guide. White and black bass are spawning. Male crappie are shallow and the females are in 8-12 feet of water. Report by Zach Minnix, JigNJerk Guide Service.

Walter E. Long

GOOD. Water stained; 64 degrees. Cloudy, cold and windy weather has lowered the water temperature and the bite has slowed. When it starts to feel more like spring the bite will improve. The most consistent bite has been off senkos in the grass. Squarebill crankbaits and drop-shots will catch some bass. Hybrids are good in the pump area by the ramp using minnows. Report by David Townsend, Austin Fishing Guide. The water clarity is better in most pockets. Quite a few buck bass up shallow on beds. Big females are in deeper grass 6-10 feet. Nice sized catching with moving baits and plastics around deeper grass. Topwater bite is hit-or-miss depending on weather conditions. Report by Carson Conklin, ATX Fishing.


SLOW. Water stained; 51 degrees; 7.80 feet below pool. Crappie are fair along the rocks near the crappie house with jigs and minnows. Catfish are slow off rocks near the dam with cut bait and stink bait. White bass are slow on slabs. Bass are slow with some pushing shallow to spawning beds.

White River

SLOW. Water stained; 58 degrees; 24.57 feet below pool. Reports of crappie and bass catches being caught off piers. As the water warms, look for bass to begin staging for the prespawn biting Texas rigged worms or craw patterned artificials.


GREAT. Water lightly stained; 61-64 degrees; 5.99 feet below pool. Lake Whitney striped bass limits are good on live bait and Alabama Rigs fished from the State Park north to Bear Creek. Sand bass catches are good upstream on the Nolan and up above Hamm’s Creek. Report by Michael Acosta, Unfair Advantage Charters. Striped bass can be caught trolling artificials, Alabama rigs, live minnow, perch and shad near the channel ledges and on flats. Report provided by Kraig Sexton, Sexton’s Guide Service LLC, Fishing Charter, Marine Electronics & Whitney.


GOOD. Water normally stained; 62 degrees; 2.69 feet below pool. White bass are good in the river and in creeks. Crappie are good in the river and in creeks and some catches have been reported shallow. Blue catfish and channel catfish are fair to good in multiple depths on shad and punch bait. All fish patterns are changing with warm and cool days so patterns may change daily. Report provided by Chad Ferguson of North Texas Catfish Guide Service.

Wright Patman

GOOD. Water lightly stained; 63 degrees; 4.75 feet above pool. Bass should be on beds or staging ledges. Crappie should be moving shallow on minnows and jigs. Catfish should be good with cut bait.


FAIR. Water stained; 65 degrees; 0.11 feet below pool. Bass are shallow in cover on spawning beds out to 12 feet biting crankbaits. White bass are running in the creeks biting roadrunners. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Catfish are good in 12 feet of water and near docks biting on cut bait.

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Texas Weekly Saltwater Fishing Report

Also See:

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Country Fishing – fishing reports on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee, and more. (subscription required)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Freshwater Fishing Reports

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Saltwater Reports

Saltwater Weekly Fishing Report Week of March 22, 2023

Sabine Lake

GOOD. 63 degrees. Salinity is high in the north end of the lake and in the Neches River holding good numbers of speckled trout. The front last week pushed a lot of bait in the system. Redfish, drum, speckled trout and sheephead are good in the ICW rockpiles and shell banks. All species are fishing well in the Neches River off points and drops in the river turnarounds in 4-14 feet of water with live shrimp under a popping cork. Bessie Heights Marsh ditches are good in 6-8 feet of water Carolina rigs with live shrimp or mullet. Report by Captain Randy Foreman, Captain Randy’s Guide Service Sabine Lake.


GOOD. 63 degrees. Sheepshead around structure and rocks with live shrimp. The Ditch has some redfish against grass sides with an occasional nice trout using popping cork or artificials. The deeper ends of the reefs or wind protected cuts with popping cork and shrimp. The jetty holding sheepshead and trout on live shrimp close to rocks. Yates Slough’s holding redfish on grass lines close to Siever’s Cut biting on cut bait positioned 12-18 inches under a cork with shrimp, or burner shad. Report provided by Captain Raymond Wheatley, Tail Spotter Guide Service LLC.

Trinity Bay

SLOW. 60 degrees. Best action still in the northwest corner of the bay. Trout, redfish, and a few black drum being taken on live shrimp under corks. Report by Captain David Dillman, Galveston Bay Charter Fishing.

East Galveston Bay

GOOD. 62 degrees. Open bay reefs are too rough to fish due to winds. Late week forecast calls for winds to diminish. Wading the shorelines is the best option for scattered catches of speckled trout and redfish. Soft plastics drawing the most strikes. Report by Captain David Dillman, Galveston Bay Charter.

Galveston Bay

GOOD. 55 degrees. Mid bay fishing has been put on hold due to high winds. Once the winds diminish this area will be good for black drum, sheepshead, and a few speckled trout, all on live shrimp. Moses Lake producing fair catches of trout and redfish, on live shrimp and soft plastics. When the shorelines are fishinable they are holding black drum, sheepshead, and a few trout. Report by Captain David Dillman, Galveston Bay Charter Fishing.

West Galveston Bay

GOOD. 63 degrees. Anglers fishing protected waters finding fair trout action. Redfish have been the most cooperative species. Soft plastics and live shrimp have been the best baits. Report by Captain David Dillman, Galveston Bay Charter Fishing.

Texas City

GOOD. 60 degrees. Anglers fishing from the dike are still catching big black drum and the occasional bull red on live halved crab. Rough conditions persist along the jetties. Boats willing to tolerate the seas catching a few big drum, bull reds, and sheepshead, and keeper drum. Report by Captain David Dillman, Galveston Bay Charter Fishing.


GOOD. 65 degrees. Fishing patterns are starting to move from mud and shell to the spring pattern on the rocks and sand. Check the wind forecast before heading out. Spanish mackerel, pompano, sheepshead and big redfish at the jetties with live shrimp. Sheepshead are spawning anywhere with moving water, so target the pass, river, and jetties. Redfish are in the river, back lakes, river and bays with live shrimp under a popping cork or soft plastics in new penny, chartreuse, Texas roach or red/white. Flounder are showing up in the bays mixed in with trout and redfish. River holding flounder and trout. Few catches of trout in the surf mixed in with jack crevalle and sharks. Report by Captain Jake Brown, Flattie Daddy Fishing Adventures.

East Matagorda Bay

SLOW. 64 degrees. Few anglers out fishing as they dodge between fronts. Best success targeting redfish on protected shorelines and the backs of lakes using cut mullet and shrimp. Flounder gigging is improving. Report by Captain Charlie Paradoski, Captain Charlie Paradoski’s Guide Service.

West Matagorda Bay

SLOW. 64 degrees. Few anglers out fishing as they dodge between fronts. Best success targeting redfish on protected shorelines and the backs of lakes using cut mullet and shrimp. Flounder gigging is improving. Report by Captain Charlie Paradoski, Captain Charlie Paradoski’s Guide Service.

Port O’Connor

GOOD. 65 degrees. Check the wind forecast before heading out. Big bull redfish, and jack crevalle are biting at the back of the jetties near Bird Island. Oversized black drum are good in the same area on blue crab. Slot redfish are good halfway to the end of the jetties on Spanish sardines and live shrimp. Few catches of trout. Sheepshead continue to bite all over the jetties using live or dead shrimp. Report by Captain Marty Medford, Captain Marty’s Fish of a Lifetime Guide Service.


GREAT. 67 degrees. Redfish are good 1-2 feet of water on cut bait, soft plastics, and topwaters near sand pockets. Trout are good in 1-4 feet of water with a mud and shell bottom on live bait, suspension baits, and large soft plastics. Drum are great in 2-4 feet of water on dead shrimp. Pre-front bites have been really good. Report provided by Captain Damian Hubbs, Top Gun Outfitters.

Port Aransas

GOOD. 65 degrees. Check the weather and wind forecast before heading out. Redfish, drum and sheepshead and pampano off the jetties on live shrimp. Bull redfish catches using cut mullet or menhaden fishing 30 feet down. Nice catches of redfish in Redfish Bay behind the Spoil Islands on cut mullet or menhaden. Report by Captain Doug Stanford, Pirates of the Bay Fishing Charters.

Corpus Christi

GOOD. 69 degrees. East Flats holding nice redfish and drums in the canals behind the fishing house with shrimp. Bigger slot redfish catches using cut mullet or menhaden. Report by Captain Doug Stanford, Pirates of the Bay Fishing Charters.

Baffin Bay

SLOW. 65 degrees. Producing some nice trout, redfish and big drum with live shrimp under a popping cork drifting over the rocks of Baffin. Water is looking good, but in much need of some fresh water. Croaker season is just around the corner. Report by Gilbert Barrera, Baffin Bay Hunting and Fishing.

Port Mansfield

GOOD. 69 degrees. Fishing has been fair on days without high winds. When the wind allows, fish are still holding in about 2 feet of water. Topwaters such as the Mansfield Knockers have been productive since the water temperature has been hovering around 70 degrees. The KWigglers Ball Tail juniors have also been producing good fish that have been staging in potholes. Report by Captain Wayne Davis, Hook Down Charters.

South Padre

FAIR. 70 degrees. Weather forecast should improve for the weekend. Water will warm in the afternoon causing the trout to migrate from deep to shallow. Trout bite is becoming aggressive on Gas Well Flats, with catches of slot and bigger trout up to 25 inches behind Three Islands. Artificial lures are working with a lot of blow-ups on topwater lures in the pot holes behind Three Islands and south of the Cullen House on the westside. Redfish are best on cut mullet anchored down on Gas Well Flats. Be safe out there. Report by Captain Lou Austin, Austin Fishing South Padre.

Port Isabel

FAIR. 70 degrees. Weather forecast should improve for the weekend. Water will warm in the afternoon causing the trout to migrate from deep to shallow. Trout bite is becoming aggressive on Gas Well Flats, with catches of slot and bigger trout up to 25 inches behind Three Islands. Artificial lures are working with a lot of blow-ups on topwater lures in the pot holes behind Three Islands and south of the Cullen House on the westside. Redfish are best on cut mullet anchored down on Gas Well Flats. Be safe out there. Report by Captain Lou Austin, Austin Fishing South Padre.

Fishing reports are produced with support from Toyota and the federal Sport Fish Restoration program.

How and Where To Catch December Bass at Upper Bear Creek with GPS Coordinates

December Bass at Upper Bear Creek

with Gary Don Fleming

    December and big spotted bass go together almost as good as December and Christmas.  It may be the best month to catch a grown spot.  Upper Beaver Creek is a sleeper lake in North West Alabama that often gets overlooked but is full of big spots feeding this month.

    Formed in 1978 by a dam where Bear and Little Bear Creeks come together south of Russellville, this 1850 acre lake has a good big bass to little bass ratio.  Based on the 1995 to 2005 Alabama Bass Anglers Information Trail reports on all Alabama lakes, upper Bear has ranked first five times and second three times for the fewest number of hours it takes to catch a bass weighing over five pounds.

    The two arms of the lake are locally called Phil Campbell and Quarter Creek arms, with the Phil Campbell arm running mostly north and south and the Quarter Creek arm running more east and west. Both arms have bends and turns with smaller creeks and coves off them. The shape of the lake means it is a good place for a trip when the wind is strong since you can find protected waters to fish.

Gary Don Fleming grew up near Russellville and hunted the fields and woods that are now under water at Upper Bear Creek so he has a good knowledge of the terrain of the lake.  He fishes many tournaments in the area, qualifying for the BFL Regional on the Bama Division this year, and also fishes many local tournaments on Upper Bear Creek

He guides on the Bear Creek chain and Tennessee River lakes in northwest Alabama and also guides hunting trips.  His time on the lake and the knowledge he has of it can help you catch fish at Upper Bear Creek this month.

    “I was told Upper Bear Creek has the highest number of quality bass in the area second only to Guntersville,” Gary Don told me.  That confirms his experiences on the lake, where winter tournaments often take 30 pounds to win.  The highest weight he has seen weighed in there is 36 pounds. There are a lot of five and six pound spots and largemouth in the lake, and he knows of a 15.2 pound largemouth weighed in during a tournament there a couple of years ago.

    “In December the bass are holding on main lake structure and moving in to feed,” Gary Don told me.  They feed heavily as the water gets cooler and you can catch them on a lot of different baits.    A key is the presences of baitfish. If shad are in the area bass are likely to be nearby.

    Gary Don will have several rods rigged with a variety of baits for December fishing at Upper Bear Creek.  A buzzbait might surprise you this time of year, but he says he catches a lot of good fish on it on top, especially early in the morning.

    A red Rat-L-Trap is a good fast moving bait that works well here as is a small Bandit crankbait. Both will take active fish chasing shad and allow you to fish fast and cover water. A suspending jerk bait is a third plug he will have tied on and it will take slightly less active fish. 

    When he wants to slow down Gary Don keeps a jig and pig rigged up as well as a jig head worm and a Carolina rigged Baby Brush Hog. Those baits can be fished slowly and kept in contact with the bottom, even when it drops fast.  If the bass don’t seem to want to chase a bait it is a good idea to slow down and offer them something right in their face.

    We fished Upper Bear Lake in early November and the water was much higher than normal for this time of year. It was a tough day, with bluebird skies after several rainy days. And there was a full moon.  The lake should be back to normal by now and fishing will be good.

    The following ten spots will all hold good bass this month and you can catch them using Gary Don’s methods.

    1.  n 34 16.416 – w 87 41.235 – The big island between the two arms of the lake right where they join just above the dam has a long shallow point with a roadbed on it crossing the mouth of the Quarter Creek arm.  There are pole danger markers running from the island across to the far bank and you should not try to run through here, especially if the water is down any.

    Bass hold from the point on the island all along the roadbed and drops on the downstream side of it and feed on top.  Gary Don will fish from the end of the island across the roadbed, keeping his boat on the dam side and casting across the shallow water.

    He often starts with a topwater bait like a buzzbait here, especially early in the morning. The day we fished he got a keeper largemouth on a topwater plug but says he has more confidence in the buzzbait in December.  Work it all the way across to the other bank and down that bank to the first point.  There are a lot of stumps on this bank.

    Also work the top of the point and roadbed with a Rat-L-Trap and a jig and pig.  Cast across the shallow top and work both baits back to the boat in deeper water.  When you get to the far bank probe for the stumps with your jig and pig.  Big fish often hold and feed around them.

    2.  N 34 16.412 – W 87 41.61 – Run to the dam and stay to the left, toward the water intake tower. Start at it and fish the riprap out to the point above the spillway. Be careful, this is an overflow spillway and there is nothing to stop you from going over the dam, and the current can be strong here.

    Gary Don says you could fish this area all day and catch fish.  If there is any current on the lake at all it will be on the point here.  Work your jerk bait and crankbait, casting to the rocks and fishing them out. When you get out to the point go across toward the far bank. There is a shallow ledge running across the mouth of the spillway going to the dam and big rocks on it hold bass, too.

    Go back over the same area with a jig and pig or jig head worm. Use a fairly light bait to get hung less often in the rocks.  Cast up shallow and work the bait back.  Between the point and the intake tower you will be in deep water but it is shallow out near the point.

    3.  N 34 16.177 – W 87 40.577 – Run up past the long point with the campground on it, keeping to the right and go up the Quarter Creek arm.  The first creek on your right, across from the campground, is not real long but the left side of it going in holds good fish in December.

    Start at the two big pines standing with one old dead pine leaning at a sharp angle on the bank.  There are stumps and rocks all along this bank so fish it with your buzzbait and then cover it with a jig and pig.  Gary Don likes a football head jig with a Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer on it and works it on the bottom here.

    Fish back until you stop feeling rocks and stumps. The back of this creek is silted in and bass usually do not hold far back in it in December.

    4.  N 34 16.806 – W 87 40.275 – Run up the creek above the power lines that cross and to the sharp horseshoe bend back to your right.  As you go into the bend ahead of you on the left bank going upstream are two small coves. Start on the upstream point of the second one and work up the creek.  This bottom here drops fast to very deep water and is rocky. You will be sitting in 25 feet of water a very short cast off the bank.

    This is a good area to slow down and bump a jig and pig or a jig head worm down the rocks. You have to fish slowly since it drops so fast. Gary Don likes a green pumpkin finesse worm on his jig head and a one-eight ounce head will get hung less than a heavier one.

    Fish up the bank until you quit feeling rocks, about 75 yards.  The bottom will change to sand and Gary Don will sometimes run this bank with a crankbait. Fish it fast to see if the bass are holding on the sand rather than the rocks.

    5.  N 34 17.808 – W 87 39.533 – Head on up the creek and you will pass several houses and docks on your the left bank. Across from this area is a rock cliff that area with danger markers around it. It is an old coal mine.  Further upstream you will see a point on your left and the tin roof of a house up on it in the trees.  Stop on the downstream point of the cove downstream of the point with that house.

    Fish a Carolina rig and a Trap across this point at all angles.  Fan cast and cover it from downstream then work around it casting toward the bank, continuing until you are casting across it from the upstream side.  Since there is little current here the bass may position anywhere on the point.

    There are several points in the area similar to this one and all will hold bass.  As you leave the point you will see exposed rock on your left and there was a waterfall coming off it when we were there. A brick house is on the next point.  The water in this area was very stained from the rains when we were there but should clear up quickly.

    6. N 34 17.180 – W 87 41.078 – Going up the Phil Campbell arm of the lake, go under the bridge near the dam and the main lake will swing around a point and go off to your right. A small creek enters on the left and runs up parallel to the main lake.

    Start out on the point between the creek and main run of the lake and work into the creek. Stay way off the bank and make long casts with a Carolina rigged finesse worm or jig and pig.  Gary Don says this is a good place to get a limit of fish or to fill out a limit since it is very consistent.

    There are brush piles along this bank that hold bass so slow down and work it when you hit one. Gary Don likes a football head jig with the Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer on it and will crawl it along the bottom probing for cover, fishing it much like a Carolina rig.

    You can continue fishing on into this creek, working the bank and small points along it. Don’t leave as long as you are catching fish.

    7.  N 34 8.164 – W 87 40.632 – Running up this arm of the lake you will go by a broomstraw field on your right.  When you get where you can see houses way ahead of you, with yards down to the water you will also see a rock ledge running into a cove on your right. Across and just downstream of this ledge you will see a double point on your left.

    Gary Don says this point comes out pretty good and drops off fast. There are stumps on it and you will see an old logging road enter on the downstream side of the downstream point. Fan cast both points with your jig and also try a jig head worm here. Cover all of both points.

    8.  N 34 18.470 – W 37 40.504 – Run on up to the point just downstream of the big brick house on with a nice yard running to the water. There will be a big shallow cove between the point you want to start on and the point the house is on. Both are on the left going upstream.

    Work all around this point, sitting out in deep water and casting across it at all angles.  There is a big brush pile on the downstream side of the point and more brush scattered around on it.  There are also rocks here.

    Fish a jig and pig or jig head worm on the point, probing for the brush and rocks.  Work slowly around the point. It drops off fast and if you fish too fast you will miss the brush. Also watch your depthfinder for brush way out off the point and fish it, too.

    Gary Don say this they call this the Five Points area and there are five points here you can fish. All of them are good at times and they have hard rock bottoms. He says this is the best area on the lake.  Try them all.

    9.  N 34 19.210 – W 87 40.154 – Head on upstream and you will see a high rock bluff on your left.  Stop on the upstream point of it and fish that point into the cove to the dock.   Fish all around the dock, too.  A jig or a Carolina rig is good on these points and there are stumps and rocks on it to hold bass.

    10. N 34 39.944 – W 87 39.217 – Just downstream of the next bridge and boat ramp is a creek on the left side called Gas Branch. A small island sits off the bank on the upstream side of it.  Fish all around the island then work up the bank all the way to the boat ramp on the next point. Gary Don says many tournaments are won in this area.

    Fish all your baits. Try crankbaits and jerk baits then work the area with a jig and pig, Carolina rig worm and jig head worm. Fish the swimming area as you go by.  If you catch fish continue to work the area, switching baits and giving them a choice.

    These ten spots all hold good bass this month and there are many others like them all over the lake. Check out these and learn how Gary Don fishes them, then try to find similar spots to fish where you can work the pattern.

    You can contact Gary Don for a guide trip at 256-627-2903 or email him at

When Where and How To Catch November Bass at Lake Martin

November Bass at Martin
with BJ Barnett

November is a wonderful month for bass fishermen. The cool water has the bass active and feeding and the lakes are not crowded. It is a fun time to fish. Lake Martin, full of hungry spots and largemouth, is a great place to spend some time right now.

Lake Martin is a 39,180 acre lake with 700 miles of shoreline and is located on the Tallapoosa River near Alexander City. It is a deep, clear lake full of rocks, docks, humps, brush piles and spotted bass. There are also lots of largemouth in the lake. You can find just about any kind of fishing you prefer somewhere on the lake.

Dammed in 1926, Martin is an old lake and much of the natural cover has disappeared over time. Fish now relate to rocks, stumps, drops and man-made cover like docks and brush piles. It is also a very clear lake and bass can be spooky since they can see you far away.

B. J. Barnett grew up on Lake Martin. Until he was eight years old his family had a cabin on Blue Creek then they moved to a house across the road from Bay Pines Marina full time. At 11 years old he was putting his 16 foot Fisher boat with a 25 horsepower Johnson in at the marina with a 4-wheeler and fishing every chance he got.

After earning a fisheries biology degree at Auburn B. J. returned to the Alexander City area and worked with his father – and fished. He competed in local tournaments as well as the BFL, making the All American in 2005. He has a top ten finish in the Stren Series on Martin and fishes the BASS Weekend Series in the area.

Now B. J. owns Fish Tales Bait and Tackle in Alexander City. He is running a new tournament trail with Bay Pines Marina and also helps out with charity tournaments when he is not competing in them. He considers Martin his home lake and keeps up with what the bass are doing there.

“Bass will feed in shallow brush until the water cools below 60 degrees, usually around the first of November,” B.J. said. There is a lot of brush around docks in shallow pockets and the bass will be there, but as the water cools it also drops and both make the bass move to a more consistent pattern.

This year the water has been unusually high from the rains in late September. That may keep the bass shallow a little longer. But soon they will move to deeper banks and humps and hold on stumps, rocks and man-made brush piles. They will feed there, fattening up for the winter.

B.J. keeps his tackle fairly simple. He will always have a Sammy tied on and expects to catch bigger fish on it. In the past five years he has landed three spots weighing over six pounds each on the Sammy and one of them came last fall. It is especially effective on calm days when there isn’t much ripple on the water.

A spinnrebait is B.J.’s go to bait and he likes the Davis Pro Vibe X-Wire and he is also having good luck with the newer Hole Shot spinnerbaits. The Hole Shot has holes in its blades and it can be fished faster without breaking the surface. Both spinnerbaits have silver blades and white skirts and he likes a fairly big three/eights to one half ounce bait.

Spinnerbaits are best on windy days when there is a chop on the water. He makes long casts and works them fast over any cover in the area. Spinnerbaits will pull bass, especially spots, up out of deeper water to hit it. He fishes them on 12 pound fluorocarbon line.

A three sixteenths ounce Tightline Wood Thumper jig or a Davis jig rigged with a Paca Chunk in greens and browns is another good bait. Both jigs are compact and B. J. throws them around rocks and wood cover. Both are fished on PLine Fluorocarbon line. Bigger bass also like the jig and pig.

A Davis HBT Standup Jig head with a T-Mac or finesse worm also works well when the bass want at thinner bait. It is more subtle than the jig and pig and will get bites when other baits fail.

All these baits are available at Fish Tales and B.J. also pours his own line of jigs called Nervous jigs. They work well on Martin, too.

B.J. showed me the following ten spots in early October, right after the heavy rains. The lake was about a foot low and the fish were scattered. The lake is dropping pretty fast and by now they will be more concentrated and you should be able to catch them all month long on these holes.

1. N 32 50.522 – W 85 52.687 – Bay Pines Marina caters to fishermen and is a good place to put in for the spots B.J. likes to fish. If you put in there you can idle around the first point to your left as you come out of the cove the marina is in. You will be going into a big bay with a small island in the back near where it splits with a grave yard on it.

As you round the point watch for pink stucco and brick house on your left. Start just past it at the gray block boathouse. Stay way off the bank. There is a row of stumps in about 18 feet of water at full pool you want to fish over. The stumps will be more shallow as the lake is drawn down, and this is a good example of the kind of place the bass pull out to as the water cools and drops.

Blind cast with your Sammy if the water is smooth or your spinnerbait if some wind is blowing in on this bank. Work down the bank to the dock on concrete posts and look for brush. There is a lot of brush around this dock and it holds bass. Run your Sammy or spinnerbait over it then fish through it with a jig and pig and a jig head worm.

Fish on down past the dock to the little pocket and seawall coming out of it. There is scattered brush all along here you can hit if you probe for it, and spots especially like this area.

2. N 32 50.843 – W 85 52.268 – Toward the back of this big bay on your left before it splits you will see a danger marker way off the bank. It marks a rock ridge that runs way out off the bank from a small island near the bank. It is a very good feeding area for spots.

Keep your boat out in 15 to 16 feet of water and make long casts across the top of the ridge with a Sammy and a spinnerbait. Wind controls the bite; bass will hit the spinnerbait better if wind is blowing in on this spot. Wind always makes a place better, creating a ripple on top that makes it harder for the fish to get a good look at your bait and creating current that moves baitfish. Fish your bait with the wind, casting into it, on this spot and all others when there is some wind.

Work around the ridge, concentrating on working the wind. The downstream side is usually best. Also, watch for fish following your bait and not taking it. B.J. says sometimes you have to convince them to hit. Back off and make longer casts and also try other baits. If you see fish you know they are there, you just have to find the combination they want.

Also try a jig head worm here before you leave. Stay out in deep water and cast it up on top of the ridge. Work it around the rocks on this ridge, fishing from shallow to deep.

3. N 32 51.603 – W 85 50.830 – Run to the back of Madwind Creek to where it splits. Ahead of you will be two big houses with nice yards on a point and there is a small cove to the right of them. On the right side of the cove is a smaller house with a gray tin roof. In the middle of that small pocket, about even with the points on both sides, is a hump that rises to 12 feet deep at full pool. If the water is down five or six feet you can see it. The water drops off to 20 feet deep all around it and bass pull out on it as the water level and temperature drop.

Fish all around this hump with all your baits. There are logs and man-made brush piles on it so probe for them. When you find one work it hard from several angles with a jig and pig and a jig head worm. This spot holds largemouth and spots.

4. N 32 51.518 – W 85 50.901 – Across the creek on the left bank going in, about even with the point and hump, is a ridge running down the bank. There is a big sandy flat point between the bank and the ridge that drops off into the creek channel. The top of the ridge is just a few feet deep and you will see some brush sticking up out of the water from at least one of its brush piles. The channel drops to 20 feet deep.

The flat and point are in front of a gray house and there is a small pocket downstream of it. Keep your boat out in 20 feet of water and cast up into the shallows with your baits, working them back out over the drop. There is a good bit of brush and some rocks along this drop to fish.

5. N 32 50.019 – W 85 51.537 – Run out of Madwind Creek and stay near the left bank. Near the mouth of Manoy Creek is an island with a pirate flag flying from a tree. There is a sign on the tree warning “Ye Who Enter Beware” and some decorations like a fake cannon, skeleton and chest. This island is near a smaller island.

A ridge runs off the lake side of the island and is 17 feet deep on top well off the bank. There is 40 feet of water on either side of this ridge and it has stumps and brush on it that holds bass. Wind really helps here and a spinnerbait is your best bet when the wind is blowing in on it. Fish all round it from different angles, working the wind, with all your baits.

6. N 32 49.953 – W 85 51.014 – Go into Manoy Creek and it makes a hard left. The point is rocky and so is the bank for a good ways, then it turns to clay just past a small pocket. Out from this transition, well off the bank, is a hump with brush on it. It was an old state brush pile at one time but the marker is gone and fishermen have kept the brush fresh.

Say way off the bank and watch for a light color marking the top of the hump. You could barely see it the day B.J. and I fished but it should be more visible now. It tops out about four feet deep at full pool. The brush is on the deeper side, away from the bank.

Make long casts and work the hump and fish over the brush with Sammy and spinnerbait. Then probe for more brush with either of your jigs. The day we fished B.J. got a solid 2.5 pounds spot here on a spinnerbait and two bigger fish were following it.

7. N 32 50.270 – W 85 50.887 – If you follow the bank on straight ahead it runs into a small creek right where the main creek bank turns sharply to the right. Going back into this small creek there is a little pocket on the right bank. On the upstream side of it is a big tree in the water. Past the tree there are a lot of stumps, some of which you can see but many others underwater on the clay bottom.

Start at the small pocket and work into the creek. Fish faster-moving baits first then go back over the area with your bottom bouncing baits. Probe for the stumps and there is some brush here to hold bass, as well as the big blowdown and some smaller logs.

8. N 32 48.504 – W 85 52.061 – Come out of the mouth of Manoy Creek and head toward the mouth of Sandy Branch. Stay near the left bank. About half way between them, off the rocky point that runs out a little more than the others in this area, there is good hump. The point is in front of a pocket that runs back as a small angle almost parallel to the lake rather than straight back from it.

The hump is 13 feet deep on top at full pool and drops off to very deep water. It is big, about 50 yards wide, so you have to find the sweet spot on it. Look for where it drops fast from 12 to 20 feet deep on the lake side. This spot holds some big spots and B. J. says a four to five pounder is a good possibility here.

Slow down for the big fish and work your jig and pig down the drop. Sit on the lake side in deep water and cast up on top of the hump. Work your bait slowly down the drop, out to about 20 feet deep. Try different things. Drag your jig and pig on the bottom on one cast, then hop it on the next. Try to make the big spots that live here hit it.

9. N 32 48.031 – W 85 52.725 – Across the mouth of Sandy Branch off the upstream side of Pace Peninsula there is a small pocket with a danger marker on a pole out in the mouth of it. This big sandy hump doesn’t have much cover on it and it does not have a sharp drop, but if the wind is blowing in on it like it often does fish will be feeding here.

Fish from the left side of the marker facing it out to where it gets deeper then work the back side of it, too. This is a spot to fish fast and cover quickly. If the wind had fish feeding here you should catch them quickly. B. J. says you are wasting your time to fish this spot if there is no wind, but it can be real good with some wind.

10. N 32 48.048 – W 85 53.893 – Run across the lake and downstream to Wicker Point, the big rocky point straight across from Pleasure Point. There is a danger marker on some big rocks on the upstream side of the point near the end of it. A green cabin with a screen porch all around it and a block chimney sits on the bank behind the big rocks. There is a dock with pipe post near the danger marker, too.

Fish all around the big rocks you can see, and work the area for other rocks under the water. Fish around the dock for bass holding in the shade under it. This is a good place to catch spotted bass. B.J. says he will hit this point and the next five points going in toward New Hope ramp like this, hitting them all fast for active fish.

Give these spots a try. B.J. has found them by spending many hours on the water, but there are many more like them in the area that hold big bass. Try his tactics and baits and you will catch bass.

Where When and How To Catch August Bass at Smith Lake

August Bass at Smith with Don Hubbard

     It’s hot, lakes are covered up with skiers and jet skis and the fish just don’t bite very well during the day.  So what should the smart bass fisherman do? Go at night!  It is cooler, the fish feed and pleasure boaters are at a minimum.  Smith Lake is a great choice for night fishing right now since its big spots are feeding in the dark.

     Lewis Smith Lake, usually just called Smith Lake, is a few minutes west of Cullman and about an hour north of Birmingham.  It is a beautiful mountain lake with steep rocky banks covered with trees and nice houses. But it gets very crowded in the summer and most bass tournaments are held at night.  There are several pot tournaments held there each week starting in the late afternoon.

     Smith was filled in 1961 and has 21,200 acres of clear water and 500 miles of shoreline.  There has been a problem in the past with overcrowding of small bass so the size limit now a little unusual. You must release all bass from 13 to 15 inches long.  Not only can you keep any size bass shorter than 13 inches long, the fisheries biologists recommend keeping all bass under 13 inches long. So if you want a few bass for a fish fry, you can keep the smaller bass. Smith is a very clean lake so they fish taste great, too.    

     The slot limit seems to be helping. The most recent electro fishing survey in 2007 showed 16 percent of the bass are over the 15 inch size limit. That is an improvement over the 2003 survey.  Spots have done better under the slot restriction, with a greater increase of spots over 15 inches than of largemouth over that size.  Local fishermen have taken to the slot limit and it is common to hear them refer to the days catch with something like “five over and ten under.”

     Smith can be a tough lake to fish.  It ranks last in the 2007 BAIT survey for percent success of anglers. But it ranks much higher, at 7th, for average weight of bass and tenth for the average time it takes to catch a bass over five pounds. Smith bass may be hard to catch but when you do find them you are more likely to catch a good one.

     Don Hubbard lives in Cullman and has fished Smith since 1975.  He fished with the Cullman Bass Club for a time then started concentrating on bigger tournaments. For many years he fished three night pot tournament every week on Smith during the summer.  He loves bass fishing and enjoys the competition of tournaments.

     In 1990 Don and his partner won the Anderson Boat Works tournament on Smith with five spotted bass weighing 23 pounds. For years the Anderson Boat Works tournament was the biggest in the state, drawing over 500 boats each year.  Not only did Don and his partner win it in 1990, he has finished in second place four different times over the years.

     Don weighed in a 7 pound, 2 ounce spot in a tournament but it is not his biggest from Smith.  One winter day while fishing alone he landed a 27 inch fish he estimates at over nine pounds.  He did not have a scale to weigh it and wanted to get it back in the water so it would survive and did not take it somewhere to be weighed.  He has no doubt there is a record spot in Smith.

      “Bass are deep in Smith in August,” Don told me.  He looks for schools of fish down 15 to 30 feet deep this time of year and expects most of his catch to come from water 18 to 20 feet deep. That is where they feed.  And he expects the bite to be much better after the sun sets. Even on days the boat traffic doesn’t make fishing uncomfortable, the bass just don’t bite very well with the sun up.

     A variety of kinds of structure and cover pay off for Don this time of year.  He likes humps, points, steep banks and deep brush piles around docks.  Cover like brush, stumps and rocks help on all kinds of structure and a hump or point will often have a small sweet spot where there is good cover.  Finding the structure that holds a school of bass and the sweet spot where the biggest ones can be caught takes time on the water.

     Don keeps a variety of baits rigged on his Shamino rods and reels.  A big spinnerbait is his favorite bait when fishing after dark for tournament fish.  He does not mind fishing for five bites during tournament hours if they are the right bites. He has fun catching all size fish but concentrates on the big ones to win a tournament, and a spinnerbait is the way to go.

     A heavy home-made spinnerbait with a #5 Colorado blade is his choice for fishing deep cover.  Don likes a black blade, black and red skirt and big trailer on dark nights and a white skirt and silver blade bait on moonlight nights.  One trick he has learned about blade color may help you. If you are feeling bites but not hooking the bass, they may be hitting at the blade. Switch from silver to copper to get them to hit the skirt and hook.

     The trailer doesn’t make a lot of difference. It can be the same color as the skirt or a contrasting color.  And Don will use a variety of trailers like Zoom Brush Hogs, Toads and even lizards to slow the bait down.  He wants the bait to crawl along the bottom, ticking the cover, and a bulky trailer helps slow it down and keep it there.

     A three-quarters ounce jig and trailer is another good bait.  Don rigs the jig with a trailer that will slow it down and provide action, like a Zoom Chunk or twin curly tail grub.  He lets the jig hit the bottom, just like the spinnerbait, then slow rolls it along, ticking the cover, just like he fishes the spinnerbait.

     Don said his finesse jig was a half ounce jig with a smaller trailer. He may swim it or just hop it along.  He also uses a jig head worm, fishing it on spinning gear.  Green pumpkin colors for both baits are good if there is some light and Junebug or redbug are good at night. A Carolina rigged Zoom Fluke, Trick worm or Brush Hog and a Texas rigged worm completes his plastic arsenal. The Texas rig works better when fishing brush, especially around docks.

     Crankbaits will also catch bass on deep cover if you can get them to run deep enough.  Bass feeding at 15 feet can be caught on crankbaits when they are worked over the cover.  They are harder to fish deep than spinnerbaits or plastics, though.

     Don showed me the following ten spots he fishes at night and fish were on several of them a few weeks a ago, and will stay on them all summer.  Look for baitfish and bass holding deep and you can catch bass on these spots right now.

     1.  N 34 04.620 – W 86 58.134 – Leave the Smith Lake Park ramp and head downstream.  Look to your right just before the lake opens up to go around Goat Island and you will see some docks.  Look for the double decked dock with two picnic tables on the upper deck and lights on it. This is a good example of the kinds of deep brush around docks that Don likes to fish.

     If you look at a contour map you can see how the channel swings in near these docks then turns and goes across the lake. Don says you need at least 15 feet of water under the docks with the brush and deeper water just off them.  Lights at night will help.  

     This dock and the two downstream of it are all good and have about 23 feet of water under them.  Don will keep his boat out in front of the docks and cast past them and the brush, letting his spinnebait or a Texas rigged worm hit bottom. He then works the baits back across the brush. Jiggle and shake your worm in the brush.  Fish it and the spinnerbait as slowly as you can.

     There are many similar docks on Smith to fish. Look for them where the water is at least 15 feet deep with deeper water just off them. Brush is needed and lights help. Some docks that look good may not hold fish. The only way to find good docks is to fish them.

     2. N 34 03.903 – W 86 57.973 – Run down to the point on Goat Island that sticks out the most on the upstream end. Across and downstream of it a little you will see a small house trailer on the bank then a two story house with brown shingles. Out in the middle of the lake, about 200 yards off the trailer, is a hump that comes up to 20 feet on top. If you idle in a line from the upstream point on Goat Island toward the trailer you will cross it.

     This is a good example of the deep structure Don likes to fish.  The channel runs right by it and there is 45 feet of water a cast off the top of the most shallow part.  On this one Don likes to stay on the side toward the bank since it drops faster and he casts up to the top of the hump. He then brings his baits down the drop, fishing so slowly they stay in contact with the bottom.

     You can fish all the way around a hump like this but pay attention where you get the bites. Often the fish will orient a certain way on the humps and hold on a small spot of cover and you need to find what they like and repeat it.

     3.  N 34 03.443 – W 86 58.750 – Run downstream and watch for a blue top dock on your left where the river narrows back down after joining together below Goat Island.  A good ways past it you will see two small sycamore trees leaning out over the water and big rocks right at the water line under them. That is where you want to start fishing.

     Don’t fish the bank here, although it sometimes holds fish. Back off a long cast and you will find a hump or ridge that runs parallel to the bank. It swings out from near the small sycamore trees and then swings back in near the biggest tree you see up on the bank.

     Don will sit on the outside of this ridge and cast his baits across it, working them up the bank side then down the river side. It may look like he is fishing the bank with very long casts.  This is a good example of the kind of structure it takes a lot of time on the water to find and learn to fish.

     The day we fished there was a lot of baitfish and other fish stacked up in the trough between the bank and the ridge.  Although we didn’t catch anything there, the presence of fish tells you they will feed at some point. A place like this, where you find bait and bass on your depthfinder, is well worth repeated checks to try to hit it when they move onto the ridge to feed. That applies to all the spots Don likes to fish.    

     4.  N 34 03.036 – W 86 59.124 – Run downstream to the right bank across from the mouth of Simpson Creek. This steep bank has no houses on it on the upstream side and drops off very fast.  There are rock piles all along this bank as well as some brush out in 20 feet of water. It is the kind of bank Don likes, with dips and small points, not just a straight bluff wall.  He says some of his biggest bass from Smith have come off this bank.

     Start on the upstream end of this steep bank, near where there is a small point downstream of a cove. Fish on down the bank to the spot in number 5.

     To fish steep banks like this one Don keeps his boat in about 35 feet of water and makes angled casts to about 12 feet. Working his baits back at an angle keeps it in the productive 15 to 20 foot range longer than if you cast straight in toward the bank.   He probes for hidden rocks and brush in the 15 to 20 foot range while watching his deptfinder for fish holding even deeper. If you are seeing bass holding out in 30 to 35 feet of water, back out and work your bait at that depth to see if they will hit.

     5.  N 34 02.875 – W 86 59.58 – As you fish downstream on the bank above you will round a point and see a dock landing way up on the bank. The wind got the dock but the small deck where the walkway was anchored is still there. Just downstream of it is a big willow tree sitting in a small pocket.  A shelf runs out from this willow tree and is another of the kinds of hidden sweet spots Don tries to find.

     You can idle across this spot, staying parallel to the bank, and you will see the shelf come up then drop back off.  Fish get on top of this shelf to feed. Don likes to sit in front of the willow tree and cast downstream, landing his bait on top of the shelf. He then works the spinnerbait, or plastic down the upstream drop.

     Don says current does not play much of a role in fishing on Smith so he usually keeps his boat in deep water and casts to shallow water, working his bait down the drop. You are less likely to get hung up fishing in that direction, too.  You can fish all around this shelf and work your bait across it at different angles, but Don’s best luck has been casting downstream.

     6.  N 34 03.423 – W 87 00.720 – Start into the mouth of Millers Creek and you will see a shallow flat point running out on your right. Just upstream of the point there is a bunch of small willows or button bushes in the water. There is a red roof dock up on the bank on the upstream side of the point.

     This point runs way out and comes up into a hump. It tops out at about 15 feet deep then drops again into very deep water. There are stumps, rocks and man-made brush piles on this hump and point.

     Don likes to get out on the creek side of the hump and fish across it from this direction, but he will work all around it, casting at different angles.  Fish can be feeding anywhere on the point and hump but the bigger fish seem to concentrate nearer the deeper end.  Fish it with spinnerbait and crankbait, then try different plastics and jigs on it, too.

     7.  N 34 03.177 – W 87 01.055 – Across the lake going downsream you will see three danger markers in a line way off a point on  your left, across from the mouth of Miller Creek.  The river channel runs right along this point and it drops off fast on both sides. The ridge is very sharp and narrow and tops out at about nine feet at full pool   There is also a dip or saddle between the bank and the first marker out from it.

     Keep your boat out on the upstream side of the ridge and cast parallel, keeping your bait in the 15 to 18 foot range. Work the whole ridge, from the third marker out all the way into the bank. Don says bass often stack up in the saddle, too, so make some casts across it when you pass the marker closest to the bank.

     Bass will hold on the downstream side of the ridge, so it can pay off to circle it, fishing both sides. Wind blowing across this ridge will move water and position bass on it so work the wind. Don says wind generated water movement is much more important than any current here from power generation at the dam.

     Jigs and worms are Don’s best baits here and he will sometimes go to a Zoom Finesse worm on his jighead. It is better for numbers of bass but it will get bites when other baits fail.  Work it on eight pound line, fishing parallel to the drop in the 15 to 18 foot range.

     8.  N 34 03.193 – W 87 01.743 – Running downstream look to your right and you will see a series of coves and a small creek entering the lake as the river swings to your left. There are finger points between each of these coves that run way out and drop off into the channel. The ends of the points may be 17 to 18 feet deep then suddenly drop to 110 feet.   All of them can be good and all hold bass.

     Don usually starts out from a cabin that is all windows on the lake side.  There are several docks along here and there is usually an American flag flying on a pole.  If you start here and idle toward the big point downstream, on the downstream side of the deepest cove, you will cross the points.

     Since bass often school up on one of the points and several near it may not have many fish on them, Don will watch for bass and bait on his depthfinder.  Or you can fish them all, trying to find the schooling fish. There are sometimes single fish scattered here, too.  Keep your boat in deep water and cast across the points in 15 to 18 feet and work out to 30 feet deep here.

     9. N 34 03.134 – W 87 02.998 – Go into Lick Branch and you will see a long bank with a series of “For Sale” signs on it. There is one dock along this bank. Across from it, on your left, watch for a cove a little over half way back from the mouth to the split.  There are no houses on the bank from the cove upstream that you can see. The upstream point of this cove runs out and drops off and holds good fish.

     Ride over the point and you will see the bottom come up from 40 feet to about 16 feet on top.  Stay out on the end of the point in deep water and cover the whole point with your baits.  Don says he has caught a lot of good bass here.

     10. N 34 02.061 – W 87 02.909 – On the far bank, the one with the for sale signs, a ledge runs along the bank out then drops off into very deep water. Bass feed all along this ledge. If you get in close you can see small red lot marker signs on trees near the edge of the water.  Start near the #15 sign and fish downstream, past the dock and the small cove.

     Keep your boat out in 35 feet of water and cast parallel to the bank. The ledge runs out to 15 feet deep and you want to cover the 15 to 20 foot deep edge where it drops off.  Cast up into about ten feet of water and let your bait hit bottom, then fish it back so it stays on the bottom out to at least 20 feet deep.  When you get to the dip in the bank fish the edges of the dip where the ledge drops there, too.

     These spots are holding bass right now. Get on the lake before dark and find them and others like them, and fish them hard from sundown on.  Bass will bite all night long if you can stick with them.

How and Where To Catch April Bass at Lake Wheeler with GPS Coordinates and Lure Selection

with D.D. Murphy

    May is a transition month for bass, especially on northern Alabama lakes. The bass are moving and you have to follow them to have good catches.  But they do travel on predictable paths and they hold on predictable spots.  Wheeler is an excellent lake to pattern May bass and catch numbers as well as heavy sacks.

    Covering 60 miles on the Tennessee River, Wheeler is the second biggest Alabama Lake.  This TVA lake runs from the Guntersville dam to the Wheeler dam and goes from a river run to huge flats near Decatur to a highland type reservoir toward the dam. Dammed in 1936, it contains 67,000 acres of water and over 1000 miles of shoreline.

    D.D. Murphy grew up in the area and has fished Wheeler for 36 years.  As a youth he fished the lake with family members for anything that would bite. When he was 16 Coach Ronnie Hindman took him bass fishing on Lake Eufaula and he was hooked. Since then he has concentrated on catching bass and has learned Wheeler’s secrets.

    Owning a bait and tackle store in the area as well as fishing many tournaments on Wheeler helped D.D. figure out how to catch Wheeler bass. He has fished the BASS Weekend series the past two years and placed fourth on Wheeler last year and third there the year before.  His best tournament catch on Wheeler was a five fish limit weighing 28.12 pounds and he has landed a 9 pound, 15 ounce lunker from the lake.

    “Most tournaments are won on the flats between the nuclear plant and Limestone Creek,” D.D. said.  The big flats in that area produce heavy tournament strings and it is the area he fishes.  May is an excellent time to find schools of big fish moving across the flats and holding at the mouths of creeks.

    By late April 90 percent of the bass have finished bedding, according to D.D.  You might find a few still in the very shallow flats spawning but most are following ditches out to deeper water.  Find a bend in a creek channel or ditch and bass will be holding on it.  Points where the channels hit the main river also hold big schools of bass.

    The flats on Wheeler are very shallow, with two to six feet of water covering huge areas.  It does not take much of a drop to hold bass and give them something to follow. D.D. will watch for a change as little as six inches to one foot to know he is in a good place.

    Hard bottoms are a key. Shell beds are a favorite feeding place for May Wheeler bass. Those shell beds attract baitfish, the key to finding active bass on Wheeler.  Also, there will be some shad and bream spawning in May and they are attracted to the hard bottoms which brings the bass in to them.

    The flats and ditches have many stumps on them and bass love to hold around a stump.  That is also a good cover that D.D. searches for and if he can find a good stump bed near a shallow hump with shells on it he knows bass will hold there.

    A variety of lures will catch bass right now on Wheeler.  D.D. will have a Terminator spinnerbait, a Rapala or Strike King crankbait, a jig and pig, a Carolina rigged lizard and a Zara Spook tied on when he goes out.  All are thrown on Castaway or GLoomis rods and he uses heavy line, usually 17 pound mono.

    The water is usually stained at Wheeler but not muddy so shad colored baits are best and the heavy line does not spook the fish.  White with some chartreuse is a good color for the spinnerbait. In late April smaller blades work well but as May progresses and the baitfish get bigger he will go with bigger silver blades on his bait.

    Crankbaits that run ten feet deep or less are the best on Wheeler.  Most areas D.D. will be fishing may drop off to deeper water but he expects the fish to hit in four to six feet usually.  Shad colored crankbaits are the best for fishing this shallow water.

    D.D uses a homemade jig and tips it with a craw trailer.  Greens and browns are best in May. A jig and pig is his go-to bait for big bass. D.D. says more big bass have been caught on a jig and pig and more tournaments won on them than any other bait.

    He will also drag a Carolina rigged lizard and uses one-half to three-quarters ounce leads unless the wind or current is strong. Heavier sinkers help locate the shell beds and rocks as you drag your Carolina rig along but since the water is less than ten feet deep you don’t have to go to a full ounce sinker.

    The Spook is a great big-fish bait and chrome is a good color. It will draw strikes from fish holding at the depths D.D. likes to fish and a Spook walked over a drop with stumps on it will produce good bass.

    The following ten spots all hold May bass and are some of D.D.’s favorites. The GPS coordinates are in degrees, minutes and seconds.

    1. N 34 34 39.5 – W  86 53 13.4 – Creek mouths are good because bass migrating out of the creeks to deeper water will hold on cover and structure as they move out. But not all creek mouths are created equal.  Limestone Creek is a good example of the kind of structure you need to look for to hold bass.

    The upstream side of the mouth of Limestone Creek has flats and shallow water.  There is a river ledge that runs between the flats and the mouth of the creek, dropping off at the end into the creek channel and on the side into the river channel. This point is covered in stumps and is the kind of point or ledge that will hold bass.

    D.D. will position his boat in deep water off the end of the ledge, keeping it on the river side.  He will make long casts with his baits so they work across the point from different angles but always coming downstream.  You can work around the end of the point starting with one bait like the Spook then as you get into the creek side turn and fish back with another bait like a Carolina rigged lizard. That gives bass holding there a look at two different kinds of baits.

    If you catch a fish continue to work the bait it hits. After going some time without a bite try one of the other baits. Sometimes a change-up will get bites from fish that won’t go after the bait that has been working. Try to hit stumps with your Carolina rig and crankbait here.

    2. N 34 35 06.6 – W 86 55 32.9 – The mouth of Flint Creek is different in that it has more bends and flats on both sides with a river ledge on each side where it hits the main river.  Start at the upstream river ledge and fish it from several angles. It is best. Then try the downstream ledge.  You can also fish into the creek, keeping your boat in the creek channel and casting to the lips on either side.

    There is a sharp outside bend that swings over close to the bank not far into the creek.  Outside bends of channels always offer a hot spot where bass will hold up. The drop is usually sharper and it gives bass a quicker escape route.  Always watch for bends like this one and fish them carefully.

    Fish into the creek until you stop catching fish.  In late April and early May bass will still be filtering out of the creek and more may be back in it than later in the month. 

    3. N 34 38 31.7 – W 87 0 31.3 = Go downstream under the Highway 31 and railroad bridges and watch to your right.  At the second black channel marker buoy upstream of the Swan Creek Daylight Marker 302.3 slow down and idle across the river ledge. Watch your depthfinder and head straight toward the north bank.  You will be in shallow water about six feet deep or less but you will cross an old lake that drops into 11 feet deep.

    Start fishing as soon as the water drops off, working the lip of the old lake. Keep your boat out in the 10 to 11 feet of water and cast up across the flat, bringing your bait from shallow to deep. Fish all the way around the lake working like this. It will take some time to outline the lake bed but it can hold bass all around it.

    This is a pretty clean bottom with no stumps. There may be a little grass growing here. Milfoil used to fill the shallows and make the lake better but low winter pools have killed off most of it. If you hit any grass fish it carefully.

    This lake bed attracts lots of baitfish so watch for them. You will often see them skip away from your bait while it is in the shallow water and that is an excellent sign bass will be nearby. 

    Since the bottom is clean D.D. will often fish a lipless bait like a Rat-L-Trap here, one of the few places it can be worked without hanging up.  If he needs a bigger bass or is looking for tournament fish he will go with a big bait, starting with a three-quarter ounce and even fishing a full ounce Trap.

    This is also a good place to fish a crankbait, bumping bottom as you come across the lip of the old lake.  A spinnerbait slow rolled across the drop is also good.

    4. N 34 38 32.8 – W 87 01 28.9 – The mouth of Baker’s Creek is good but different.  Upstream of it the plant on that side has two water discharges so there is often current here even when the river is not moving.  There is a small island with trees on it in the mouth of the creek and flats on both sides of the channel. Where the creek enters there are rock piles on either side.

    Fish all around these rocks. Shad may spawn on them and bait fish are drawn to them. The current improves fishing here as it does on other spots but it is more consistent here due to the discharges.  Fish with the moving water as much as possible, keeping your boat on the down current side and casting back up and across the rocks.

    Current makes bass feed and you will often find it flowing over the points at the mouths of creeks. Current coming down the river and out of the creeks will create eddies that confuse baitfish and offer bass a good place to ambush them. Watch for any changes in the current if it is moving.

    5. N 34 39 11.6 – W 87 02 25.1 – Going downstream watch for the channel split where it goes on either side of Finley Island. The island is underwater but the shallows split the channel. Right at the head of the island, on the upstream end, is a red and green striped buoy marking the point of it.  This point is three to six feet deep and holds bass.

    D.D. will fish both sides of the point, positioning his boat downstream of the point out in the channel on either side and casting upstream, working his baits across the end of the point and down the sides.  You can throw a crankbait, spinnerbait, jig and pig and Carolina rig here, fishing with any current coming down the river.

    6. N 34 39 54.1 – W 87 03 28.4 – Across the river channel you will see Byrd’s Island Daylight Marker 299.3.  Go to it and fish the river ledge on both sides of it.  There are no ditches across it but there are shell beds on both sides that hold bass. You can feel them with a Carolina rig or heavy jig and pig to locate them and then fish all your baits over them.

    Watch carefully for any rise, even if it is only six inches.  This will often mark the shell bed so if you see your boat is coming up into more shallow water fish closer to it. You may be sitting on the sweet spot and casting past it.  If you do get your boat up on top of the shell bed mark it then come back later and fish it.  Your boat may spook the fish in the very shallow water but they will come back.

    7. N 34 39 26.5 – W 87 03 28.4 – If you go straight south across the channel from the marker in hole 6 you will cross the middle of Finley Island. When it gets shallow idle across the flat and watch your dephfinder.  The water will be three to six feet deep then suddenly drop off to 11 feet deep.  This is an old farm pond that was on the island and you can see it on good maps.

    Grass used to grow all around this old farm pond and hold fish. There are some stumps here and you may find a little grass now. Get your boat into the middle of the pond in the 11 foot deep water and fish all around it, casting your baits to the shallow water and working them back across the drop.   

    Here and other spots bass are more likely to be on the upstream side if the current is flowing.  They can hold in the deeper water in the old pond and baitfish coming downstream with the current will wash across the lip of the drop and make and easy meal. Try to make your crankbait or spinnerbait look like a baitfish coming downstream with the current.

    8. N 34 40 36.4 – W 87 03 17.2 – Several creek channels wind across the big flats in the mouth of Swan Creek and join up. There are also ditches off them and high spots on the edges of the channels and ditches.  Bass moving out of the vast spawning flats behind these ditches will follow them out, stopping to feed on bends and high spots.

    The mouth of the creek is between the marker in hole 6 and the power line but it is small and there are stumps here. Be very careful going it until you learn your way. You will be going across flats only two to three feet deep in many places and sometimes the deeper channels are lined with stumps. Idle speed is safer.

    Go in and find the sharp bend in the creek channel. It is due north of the downstream end of Finley Island, although a long way from it, and south of the big island in the mouth of Round Island, Briley and Mud Creeks where they all come together.

    There are two shallow humps just off the lip of this ditch.  Fish all around it and work up the ditches, following them looking for breaks and humps.  Bass will hold on any change and feed here.

    Your Spook is a good search bait here and in other places. Make long casts across the ditch edges and work it along them. A hit will usually mean other bass are holding in the same area.  Fish your Spook but also follow it up with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jig and pig and a lizard.

    9. N 34 40 32.7 – W 87 04 27.2 – If you follow the creek channel downstream it will run between two sets of towers on the power line.  One tower set is out near the river channel and the next one toward the north bank and the ditch where two creek channels join and make a bend before going out to the river between is them.

    Fish the ditches like the ones in hole 8 but also fish the towers.  The concrete piers of the towers have rocks around them and often draw in schools of shad to spawn around them.  Fish all around the tower bases with topwater then run a spinnerbait or crankbait right beside the legs.  Stay downstream and cast upstream to work your baits with the current if it is moving.

    D.D. says a big tournament was won here by fishing these towers.  The channels are like a highway the bass follow and the towers are like fast food joints along the highway. Bass will hold and feed around them all during May.

    10. N 34 40 33.9 – W 87 05 51.6 – The mouth of Fox Creek offers flats on both sides with a channel snaking across them to join up with the river.  D.D. sits out on the river and throws across the upstream point formed by the creek and river channel, fishing a crankbait or Carolina rig across it.

    Dark lizards seem to be better and D.D. likes the Zoom lizard in either black or Junebug.  He will vary his sinker weight with the current but likes lighter leads when possible, unless trying to find new shell beds.

    Fish both sides of the creek mouth and work into it, following the channel across the flat, especially in late April and early May.  Search for schools of bass with faster moving baits then fish them and your slower moving Carolina rig and jig and pig for bigger fish.

    Try these ten spots then find others by studying a map looking for ditches and humps. Spend time on the water fishing those places. Try D.D.’s baits and tactics and you will catch plenty of May bass at Wheeler.