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Texas Bass Outlook
Dutter recommends Arrowhead for fish in the 4- to 6-pound range. "Target the fish with spinnerbaits and crankbaits in and around the vegetation and rocky points," he said. "Once you locate the fish, you can get more precise with Texas- and Carolina-rigged worms. Darker colors of soft plastics will work best. I would concentrate on the areas near the dam, Arrowhead State Park, and Henrietta bridge."
You go to Kickapoo for numbers; since the lake's bass have had no infusion of Florida genes, the lake record is only 5.12 pounds. "The lake is primarily rocky bank, and will be best fished with crankbaits and spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse or chartreuse/blue," Dutter said.
For both numbers and some big fish, try Millers Creek. The lake record of 11.19 pounds was set last June.
"During the spring I would concentrate on fencerows, points, and creek bends with trees or brush on them," Dutter offered. "The face of the dam can also produce nice fish using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, flukes, jigs, worms, and lizards.
"If the water is up you can get back to the bridge, another great area to fish in the spring. The lake has lots of large coves with good creekbeds running to the back of them. Follow these contours to a brushpile or fencerow, and you should find fish."
Stephan Magnelia says that Lake Austin consistently produces the biggest bass in the southern part of Region 2 and should be excellent this year. It's overrun by pleasure boaters in summer, so unless you can go at midweek or very early in the morning at that time of year, early spring offers the best fishing.
Target aquatic vegetation above the Loop 360 bridge. The spawn may be somewhat later in the upper part of the lake, owing to cold water being released from Lake Travis upstream. Look for bedded bass in the backs of major creeks and around marinas and other artificial structure.
Fayette County Reservoir consistently ranks near the top in terms of average weight and fish caught per hour. Two- to 5-pound fish are relatively easy to catch during most of the year, with February through June being the peak months.
If lipless crankbaits don't produce, switch to a Carolina-rigged french fry or lizard around points, the dam, and dropoffs. Suspending jerkbaits work well in early spring. As the water warms, go to floating jerkbaits. Fayette is a power-plant reservoir, so expect bass to be active earlier in the year than they are at cooler lakes.
If you've fished Lake Waco before, you need to take another look. Since October 2003 the conservation pool level has been raised 7 feet, creating about 1,500 acres of new habitat with flooded trees along almost every bank, says biologist John Tibbs.
"The lake has always had a reputation as a good largemouth bass fishery," he reported, "but the new water should bring new anglers and improve the bass population as well."
The TPWD stocked Florida largemouth bass this spring. Anglers who enjoy a challenge have the chance to find the patterns and techniques that will work in the new water.
REGION 3: CALL (555) TRY-FORK FOR A GOOD TIME
Those are impressive fish weights!
Since March 2003, TPWD biologists Kevin Storey and Randy Myers have been surveying anglers on Lake Fork. Through August of this year, 3,137 bass weighing 7 pounds or more had been reported. Nineteen weighed 13 pounds or better; 930 fish tipped the scales from 9 to 12 pounds.
Of the 360-plus fish entered in the ShareLunker program, about 60 percent have come from Lake Fork. Obviously, Fork is the lake for you if you want to target big bass. It may be even better than the statistics indicate.
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