Finally we have a week without rain (I hope). According to the forecast, we are also going to have temps in the 70s with nighttime temps in the 60s. I know you know what this means — more fish are moving into the shallows at Pat Mayse, at least by the weekend.
Even though we are going through critical times right now, you can still go to the lake, be away from crowds and relax. There is nothing like being on the water and doing what you love. The time flies by — especially if you get on the fish. Well, bass and crappie will be coming to the shallows, joining some who are already there. So get your crappie minnows and your crappie jigs ready and you can plan on a great meal in the near future.
As for the bass, it’s really hard to name a bait that they won’t eat right now. But you still need to have several different ones tied on and ready. My go-to baits for this time of year and with the conditions we have at Mayse and also at Fork are creature baits, stick worms rigged weightless, jerk baits, and buzzbaits. On my spinning rods I like drop-shots or a Tokyo Rig. Use the buzzbaits or a noisy topwater as your search baits. When a big female blows up at that noisy thing she hates, it can scare you to death, but oh boy, you know where she lives. Then come on back with a bait that you can leave in the bed area for an extended period of time.
Speaking of Lake Fork, the bass are in their heavy spawning cycle right now and the fishing is unreal. Fork’s spawn usually happens about a week or 10 days before Pat Mayse. What I’m saying is, you better get ready for a fun spring.
Fish smart and be safe.
Listen up turkey hunters, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, a great 2019 nesting season for wild turkeys means more young toms (or jakes) will be seen by hunters this spring. Jakes are typically more forgiving than older toms and create a prime opportunity for new turkey hunters to bag their first bird. The spring season for Rio Grande turkey season got underway March 14-15 with a youth-only weekend in the South Zone, followed by a general season that runs March 21-May 3 and then culminates with a youth-only weekend May 9-10. In the North Zone, the youth-only weekend seasons are Saturday and Sunday and May 23-24. The North Zone general season opens April 4 and runs through May 17. A special one-gobbler limit season runs April 1-30 in Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Matagorda, Milam, and Wharton counties.
“If the current green conditions hold and weather does not turn hot too early, Texas can expect another year of turkey population growth,” said Jason Hardin, TPWD turkey program leader. “We currently have good soil moisture across much of Texas and just need a little more to keep us on track for another great year of recruitment.”
“With low harvest rates, most Rio Grande turkey hunters can expect to see some 4- and 5-year-old toms across most of the Rio Grande range. There are not going to be a lot of 2-3-year-old birds out there this spring,” said Hardin. “With the spring coming on strong, toms will pair with hens early in the season. But as those hens begin to initiate nesting activities around the middle of the season, the toms will turn on and readily come to calling.”
Eastern spring turkey hunting in the counties having an open season starts on April 22 and runs through May 14. Hunters are required to report harvest of eastern wild turkeys electronically to TPWD within 24 hours of harvest.
Bob Sandlin: Water clear; 56 degrees; 0.21 feet high. Black bass are good on lipless crankbaits, plastic worms and lizards, and flipping jigs in creeks and coves. Crappie are good on jigs and minnows in creeks. Catfish are good on cut bait and blood bait in 12-18 feet.
Caddo: Water lightly stained; 53-56 degrees; 1.41 feet high. Largemouth bass are good in shallow water with swimbaits and crankbaits. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs in shallow water. White bass are fair on jigs in shallow water. Chain Pickerel are fair. Catfish are good on stinkbait and live bait.
Cooper: Water muddy; 58 degrees; 4.27 feet high. Largemouth bass are fair on Carolina rigged worms in natural colors, lipless crankbaits, and spinners in creeks and coves. The white bass are good in shallow water. Catfish are good on live and cut bait in 25 feet.
Fork: Water lightly stained; 58-62 degrees; 0.19 feet low. Largemouth bass are excellent on soft plastic creatures, lipless crankbaits, and chatter baits spawning in creeks and coves in 2-4 feet. White and yellow bass are good in creeks. Crappie are good on jigs and minnows in creeks. Catfish are fair on prepared bait and cut bait in deeper water.
Sulphur Springs: Water stained; 57-59 degrees; 1.32 feet high. Largemouth bass are fair on bladed jigs in creeks. Crappie continue to be fair on minnows and jigs in 12-18 feet. Catfish are good on cut shad and live bait in 25 feet.
Tawakoni: Water stained; 59 degrees; 1.51 feet high. Catfish are good on live bait and cut bait 25-45 feet. Largemouth bass are fair on spinnerbaits, plastic worms, and square billed crankbaits in coves and creeks. White bass and hybrid stripers are good on swimbaits in creeks. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs around structure including docks and marinas.
Broken Bow: Elevation rising, water 53 degrees. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass good on crankbaits and spinnerbaits around brush structure and points. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around brush structure, points and shorelines. Channel, blue and flathead catfish good on cut bait, punch bait and worms along channels, in coves and river channel.
Hugo: Elevation rising, water 60 degrees and murky. White bass good on crankbaits, in-line spinnerbaits, jigs, plastic baits and small lures along channels, creek channel and river channel. Crappie good on minnows and jigs below the dam, around brush structure, channels, creek channels, main lake, river channel and standing timber. Blue, channel and flathead catfish good on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait, live bait, shad and stinkbait below the dam, along channels, main lake, river channel and shorelines.
Lower Mountain Fork: Elevation normal, water clear. Trout excellent on plastic baits, PowerBait, small lures, tube jigs and worms along creek channels and spillway.
McGee Creek: Elevation above normal, water 55 degrees. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on Alabama rigs, crankbaits and chatter baits in coves, creek channels, around points and rocks. Crappie fair on minnows along creek channels, river channel and standing timber.
Pine Creek: Elevation normal, water clear. Largemouth bass good on Alabama rigs, crankbaits and plastic baits along creek channels and points. Crappie good on jigs around brush structure. Channel catfish good on chicken liver and worms below the dam and along creek channels.
Texoma: Water stained; 56-59 degrees; 1.31 feet low. Lake levels are going to change within the week with all the rain forecasted. Blue catfish good on cut bait and shad along flats, river channel and river mouth. Blue cat bite is beginning to slow down but still present. Crappie fair around brush structure and docks. Striped bass fair on Alabama rigs, live bait, live shad and sassy shad along creek channels, main lake, points and river channel. Striped bass are picking up slightly on live bait and Alabama rigs. Largemouth bass are fair fishing plastics and crankbaits in shallow water. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs by boathouses, marinas, creeks, and inlets. Shallow creeks on the north end of Texoma are becoming filled with spawning crappie and white bass. Anglers should find warm and shallow areas for spawning fish. Spawning season is here so fishing can change from day to day, so get out there and fish.
Fish smart, be safe, and I’ll see you on the lake.