It looks as if we are about to get even more rain. One thing about it is that most of our lakes are getting good run-off and a lot of freshwater. Water temps on Mayse have dropped a few more degrees, but so far water color is still pretty good — only lightly stained. Water levels are slightly high, and if we get the rain that has been forecasted, water levels are going to get even higher.

This last arctic front pushed the pre-spawn dates back a little, and since water temps are as low as they are, your presentation is very important. Bass will still feed, but not every day. For example, if they eat a shad or two, it will take them several days before they digest the shad. The reason is because they don’t move around very much, if any at all. The more they move, the more often they will feed. Since all fish don’t eat at the same time, fish can be caught but your presentation has to be slow. If you only get a bite or two, that’s a pretty good day on any of our area lakes.

Right now with the conditions we have on our lakes, the strike zone is very short, and you almost have to put your bait on their nose. Choose your baits wisely, and they will have to stay in the target zone for a short time because the fish aren’t going to charge it like they do in warmer waters. This cold spell pushed most fish back to deeper water, so study the structure and remember this time of year there’s not a lot of grass in our lakes, so rock, brush and ledges are key high percentage targets.

Of course, you can use just about any lure, but your best bets would be the Alabama Rig, jig and pig, a plastic creature bait maybe in a crawfish pattern, a Tokyo Rig, a drop-shot or a jerk bait. My choice is a Tokyo Rig, a jig and pig cut down in size on both the skirt and the trailer and a jerk bait fished in a stop-and-go method. Fishing the jerk bait in a stop or pause, the bait will float back up for a time, then with a short snap of the rod it will dive down and repeat. This is a slow, subtle method, giving the fish a look as a dying bait fish or injured fish. With conditions on Pat Mayse right now, these baits should produce a couple or even more bites for you.

Good news — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has reported that just days after being blanketed in snow, West Texas lake Alan Henry Reservoir, near Lubbock, produced the first Legacy Class largemouth bass entry of the 2020 Toyota ShareLunker season. On Feb. 9, angler Blake Cockrell of Lubbock caught the 14.36 pound, 26.25 inch largemouth bass on a crankbait in 5 to 10 feet of water while targeting spotted bass on the lake. So don’t let this cold weather worry you — just dress warm, be safe, and I’ll see you on the lake.

Fishing Reports

Bob Sandlin: Water stained; 52 degrees; 0.20 feet high. Black bass are fair on Carolina rigs swim jigs spoons and spinnerbaits- some coming off shallow cover- better fish coming off of channel bends in deeper water. Crappie are fair with jigs and minnows; have to keep moving to find bigger bites if water temps drop to 50, historically they will stack up on the River channel. Catfish are fair on cut bait and blood bait.

Caddo: Water stained; 51-52 degrees; 1.03 feet high. Largemouth bass are fair fishing in the lakes and edges of vegetation. Crappie are fair on smaller minnows and jigs fishing shallow gaps in vegetation and stumps. White bass are fair on small spinners in the open waters and points. Chain Pickerel are fair. Catfish are fair on stinkbait and live bait.

Cooper: Water clear; 52-54 degrees; 0.51 feet low. Largemouth bass are good on Carolina rigged worms, crankbaits, and spinners in timber, and shallower habitats. The white bass are good on slabs and live bait. Catfish are excellent on live and cut bait.

Fork: Water stained; 52-54 degrees; 1.60 feet ow. Largemouth bass are good on slugs, worms, and Alabama Rigs on deep points, and eastern humps. White and yellow bass are fair on Alabama Rigs. Crappie are fair on jigs and minnows around any structure. Catfish are fair on prepared bait and cut bait.

Sulphur Springs: Water stained; 55 degrees; 0.82 feet low. Largemouth bass remain slow. Crappie continue to be slow on minnows and jigs working all structures. Catfish are slow to fair on cut shad and live bait.

Tawakoni: Water stained; 53 degrees; 0.81 feet low. Catfish are excellent on live bait, cut shad, and stinkbait. Largemouth bass are fair on spinnerbaits, plastic worms, and crankbait along points and in coves. White bass and hybrid stripers are good on slabs, spoons, and Alabama rigs. Crappie are fair on minnows around structure.

Texoma: Water stained; 50-52 degrees; 0.87 feet low. Striped bass are fair using live bait and shad with large schools on ledges. Largemouth bass are good fishing below 15 feet. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs by boathouses, submerged vegetation, and timber. Catfish are fair on live shrimp, cut bait, and minnows in river structures.

Broken Bow: Elevation 6 feet above normal, water 52 degrees. Largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass fair on crankbaits and spoons around main lake and points. Channel catfish fair on chicken liver, punch bait, and worms around channels, coves, and river mouth

Hugo: Elevation above normal, water 50 degrees and murky. Blue, channel, and flathead catfish good on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait, live bait, punch bait, shad, stinkbait, and sunfish below the dam, and around channels, main lake, river channel, and river mouth. Crappie fair on jigs and minnows below the dam, and around brush structure, channels, creek channels, main lake, river channel, and standing timber.

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

McGee Creek: Elevation above normal, water 51 degrees and stained. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on bill baits, crankbaits, and jigs around brush structure, flats, main lake, and points. Crappie slow on minnows around channels and standing timber.

Pine Creek: Elevation above normal, water murky. Largemouth bass fair on plastics and spoons around points. Crappie good on jigs around brush structure and points. Channel catfish fair on chicken liver and cut bait around creek channels and main lake.

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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