Bass move into shallows as lake levels rise
Over the past several months, there has been little written about the pursuit of largemouth bass. With all three of the big lakes being extremely low on water there was a constant danger to boaters. Now that the levels have begun to rise and with the springtime and warm weather, the scenario has begun to change. Bassing will continue to get more attention for the next few months.
Our plentiful rains have not filled the big lakes, but they are definitely on the rise. What that means is that feeding fish including the black bass will follow the rise into shallow-water feeding areas. That is the case on most of the popular fishing waters but not on all of them. Even on the exceptions there will be some of the bass that will follow what is normal for them to do.
Lake Livingston Lake is a unique basing lake. Largemouth black bass on Livingston are rarely if ever active in water over 10 feet deep. Certainly there will be exceptions to any rule, but for more consistent bass action, go to areas with structure under 10 feet deep. This, of course, makes Lake Livingston a prime place for topwater lures as well as spinner lures. Yes, plastics are also good choice at times, but the topwaters and spinner lures are a lot of fun to use when the bass are in a striking mode.
Lake Livingston has long been loaded with shad, thus the great white bass and catfish fishery. The largemouth also feed upon those shad as well as the bream that are also numerous in the lake. Only the bass know for sure, but I believe that’s what makes the lighter colors for the lures more attractive to the black bass.
A good plan of action is to locate some points that run from the shoreline out to deeper water. Also any type of structure such as bulkheads, old stumps, boat docks, or any other vegetation make good locations. Then if you are a boater, keep the boat in or around water 10 feet deep. Cast lures into the shallows or toward the bank. This technique has paid off for me no matter the time of year or whether the lake’s water level was rising or not.
I’ve noticed through observation that Toledo Bend’s black bass will move toward the shallows before those on Sam Rayburn. There is also plenty of evidence that the bass fishing in the shallows begins further up the lake above the Pendleton Bridge and then that action follows on down to the lower end. The north end of the lake is, for the most part, more shallow than that toward the dam. That shallow water will warm more quickly, thus earlier shallow-water action.
Lures such as the chartreuse orange or red Rat-L-Traps begin to be the go-to lures. These offerings will remain productive from now until the upcoming spawn is over. The orange belly, gold side, and black back Rogue or similar topwater shallow diving lures are the choice of many Toledo Bend anglers. These lures are especially deadly during the springtime warm days. They usually take more fish when they are retrieved very slowly. Don’t overlook the chartreuse spinner lures. These lures are very versatile and may be fished in various water depths.
Plastics have long been really good choices along drop-offs when the largemouths are moving toward the spawning areas. I prefer either the Texas rig on the whacky rig around isolated structure or drop-offs into submerged creeks.
Sam Rayburn’s black bass seem to begin moving into their nesting areas later than on the other lakes. This makes them more catchable with the use of plastics or deep diving crank lures. The Carolina Rig has long been one of the more productive rigs on Sam Rayburn. The use of lizards or plastic worms in the 6 to 8 inch length are good choices. Watermelon, chartreuse and pumpkin seed seem to be the more used colors.
Deep diving crankbaits fished along old roadbeds, grass with creeks nearby, and drop-offs are good choices. There will not normally be fast action, but the fish that are there will be larger. It is getting to be largemouth black bass time all over the place.