At Pat Mayse and our other area lakes, water temps are on the rise and water levels are dropping, and that brings changes in the locations of the fish. Right now and up until fall, you’ll find the fish will spend much of the time suspending up into the water column. Some will still be in or around cover of some sort, and others will be moving from the deeper water to the shallow, usually in the early or late hours. If you stop for a minute or two and just study the kinds of cover you have on the body of water you are fishing, you can find a pattern.

My favorite kind of cover is shade, and it can be found from boat slips, docks, trees or just about anything that blocks some of the light. Pads also are very good at providing shade. Did you know that from under the water, a fish can see a bait laying on top of the pad? With the sun shining through them they are sort of transparent.

Grass, ledges, standing timber and brush piles all can provide shade. The importance of shade is because it provides cover and fish can hide in it and ambush baitfish. The baitfish are trying to hide in it themselves and the fish know this and that’s why they are there.

One other type of shade or cover is the night. When the heat from the bright sun gets brutal — night fishing will come into play and it is so much fun — if you are prepared. Preparation of your equipment and protection from the bugs is so important.

You need the right lighting, and I prefer a black light. It provides little light, but it magnifies your line, provided you are using a monofilament, and it can also aid in rigging your baits. A regular light in the boat has a tendency to alert or spook the fish — but lights along piers or boat slips will attract baitfish and can provide some good fishing.

You see, shade can come in many different forms, but you can always find it on any lake you are on, even if there are no bridges, little standing timber, or boat slips or piers — just take a few minutes and do a ride-around and you will find something that will provide cover or shade.

Suggested baits could be crankbaits, soft plastics or even A-Rigs which can be fished at different levels in the water column for the suspended fish. For fishing docks and piers, try baits rigged weightless or slightly weighted and skip them underneath. For pads, use soft plastic weedless baits such as a stickworm or a frog or rat. Just be safe and have fun — I’ll see you there.

Fishing Reports:

Bob Sandlin: Water stained; 84-89 degrees; 0.04 feet low. Black bass are fair on flukes, shakyhead worms and topwater walking baits. Crappie are fair on minnows. White bass are good on slabs. Catfish are fair on trotlines and prepared bait.

Bonham: Water lightly stained; 85-88 degrees; 0.44 feet low. Black bass are fair on Texas rigged creature baits, swim jigs, and white buzzbaits.

Cooper: Water stained; 86-95 degrees; 0.13 feet low. Black bass are slow on shallow crankbaits, Texas rigged worms and weightless Senkos. Crappie are fair on minnows. Hybrid striper and white bass are fair on slabs.

Fork: Water lightly stained; 85-89 degrees; 0.26 feet low. Black bass are fair on Texas rigged creature baits, football jigs and Carolina rigged flukes.

Monticello: Water stained; 85-89 degrees; 2.67 feet low. Black bass are slow on hollow body frogs, spinnerbaits and Texas rigged creature baits.

Tawakoni: Water stained; 85-90 degrees; 0.11 feet high. Black bass are slow on Texas rigged craws, white buzzbaits and hollow body frogs. White bass are fair on slabs and topwaters. Hybrid bass are good on slabs. Crappie are fair on minnows. Catfish are good on trotlines.

Broken Bow: Elevation normal, water 86. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass good on Alabama rigs and plastic baits around brush structure and points. Crappie good on minnows and jigs around brush structure and standing timber.

Hugo: Elevation above normal, water 84 and murky. Blue, channel, and flathead catfish good on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait, live bait, shad, and sunfish below the dam, and around the main lake, river channel, and shorelines. Crappie good on jigs and minnows below the dam, and around brush structure, channels, main lake, river channel, and standing timber.

Lower Mountain Fork: Elevation normal, water clear. Rainbow trout excellent on tube jigs and worms around channels and spillway.

McGee Creek: Elevation normal, water 83 and clear. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on Alabama rig, plastics, spinnerbaits, and topwater lures around coves, points, shallows, and shorelines. White bass fair on crankbaits and spoons around coves and main lake. Channel and flathead catfish good on crawfish, live bait, shrimp, and sunfish around channels and coves.

Pine Creek: Elevation above normal, water clear. Largemouth bass good on crankbaits around humps and roadbeds. Crappie good on jigs and minnows around brush structure. Channel catfish good on punch bait around creek channels and river channel.

Texoma: Elevation normal, water 82. Blue catfish fair on cut bait, live shad, and shad below the dam and around the main lake. Black bass are good on Texas rigged creature baits, shakyhead worms and topwaters. Striped bass good on live bait, live shad, sassy shad, shad, slabs, and on top water below the dam and around the main lake and points. Crappie slow on hair jigs, jigs, and minnows around brush structure and docks. Fishing has slowed a bit on the lake with the hot temps. Striped bass and catfish are biting well below Denison Dam. Striped bass are hitting artificial and live/cut bait during early mornings and late evening. Striped bass limit is five in red river. Catfish are hitting cut bait in slack water. Fishing on the lake for striped bass anglers should use topwater lures when surfacing feeding is present. Live bait is producing fish as well. On the lake anglers should focus their efforts to the south end of the lake and scan for schools in deep water.

Fish smart, be safe, and I’ll see you on the lake.

Jim Blassingame is a Paris resident and an avid angler.

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