FLW's Scott Ellison says high winds put a crimp in everybody's fishing but conditions are improving.
Scott Ellison here, with the FLW Weekly Fishing Report. You’ll have to pardon me if there are a lot of gaps in this week’s report, because the high winds that we had beginning Sunday put a crimp in everybody’s fishing. It’s supposed to be relatively calm for the next several days, however, so that should let the fishermen catch up on what they’ve been missing.
Bream fishing for bluegills and redears has been spotty, but the fishermen who don’t mind hunting around for a while are catching some hefty stringers. What’s keeping a lot of people from getting on good bunches of fish is the fact that there’s a big difference in lake levels between this year and last year when the water was so high. This spring, the bream are bedding or at least staging in areas that are several yards away from where they were last year when the lake was out of its banks.
In fact, some fish are going to wait until May or June before they bed in their traditional spawning areas, so don’t think that if you miss the April spawn, it’s over. There still will be plenty of bunched-up fish to catch in the next couple of months. Talking about the lake level, it’s about 2 ½ to 3 feet over winter pool. That’s good for pushing fish toward the bank, but it’s not so good as far as generating a lot of current to activate feeding.
There’s no one sure pattern for bass; some fish are spawning, some are staging and a lot of bass have already spawned out. So what I’m hearing is that a variety of lures and tactics are working, including fishing the backends of pockets with topwater lures such as pop-rs, fishing wood cover and rocky banks with shakey heads and 4- to 6-inch plastic worms, squarebill crankbaits and lipless crankbaits, and fishing mainlake points with football jigs and some kind of soft-plastic crawfish body.
Like I said, the bass spawn is about half over, but it’s still possible to fish down a sunny bank on a warm afternoon and catch a mixed stringer of largemouths and smallmouths that are either coming or going.
A few bass are also turning up on ledges, and alabama rigs are accounting for most of them. Within a couple of weeks, the focus will definitely switch to ledge fishing though, of course, there are always going to be bank runners that are feeding on spawning bream and crawfish in the shallows. Crappie fishing is spotty. Some people report good catches of big crappies, but there again the spawn is almost over and guys are having to work for their fish. The most consistent bite seems to be in 8 to 12 feet of water, but the schools are really scattered out.
That’s it for now. The wind has been the fisherman’s worst enemy for the past several days, but it’s laying now so get out there and wet a line. This is Scott Ellison for FLW, hoping you get on a good bunch of fish. If you do, how about letting me know where they are.
Scott Ellison is a lifelong fisherman and FLW College Fishing Promotions Manager.