Summer is still here and will be for at least the next month or two. That considered, it’s important to focus on offshore locations near deep water access, where fish can access cool water. I’ve definitely noticed that the bite is better near the lower end of the reservoir, meaning closer to the dam. I believe there is more deep water current which transports cool water and oxygen. This current can be generated at the dam and or from the prevailing wind coming through. I get far more bites using compact baits, especially when the fish aren’t extremely active. I would recommend a small black and blue craw imitation, worked slowly on the bottom over brush piles or grass patches. Best fishing hours are early morning and late evening in low light conditions.
It seems that the key depth zone is 25 ft. This holds true on the mid section of the lake where there is good visibility. I have been getting quality bites fishing carolina rigged lizards and stick baits. The areas I target are near the main river channel that runs through the lake. This is important because it brings cool, oxygenated water and food to the bass. Also, it provides an opportunity for fish to suspend over deep water in a secure environment.
I have been catching the majority of my fish on drop shot flukes, on spinning tackle, in 10-20 ft of water. Top water baits have been good for the first few hours of the morning. I’m focusing on main lake points and docks with quick access to deep water nearby. Windblown areas can also be great as they congregate bait fish and other prey species. Carolina rigs with a 4’ leader have been good in the late afternoon. For this rig, I’m using a 7” berkley power worm in green pumpkin.
Transitional areas are important during this time of the year. I don’t want to have my boat positioned too far back into the creeks. Instead, I am looking for the first stretch of deep water out in front of the areas where the fish have been spawning. Drop shots and shaky head worms have been doing well for me. I am focused on water in the 10-15 ft depth range. For the shaky head worm, I am using a 4” zoom finesse worm in green pumpkin. For the drop shot, I’m using a zoom fluke in the albino color.
Some fish are still spawning, others are already done. If I’m up shallow looking for spawners, I’m flipping a compact, beaver or rodent style bait in green pumpkin. I’m focusing on flooded bushes in the backs of creeks. If the wind is blowing, I’ll pick up a spinner bait with willow leaf blades. For post spawn fish, I’m out in front of the spawning creeks, fishing semi-deep structure with Carolina rigs and deep diving crank baits. When it’s calm, I throw the Carolina rig, when it’s windy I throw the crank bait.
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