Lone Star Bass Outlook While there’s no such thing as a “bad” option when it comes to Texas bass fishing, these lakes should rank a cut above the rest for producing largemouths this year. (March 2008). ... [+] Full Article
Another point in Lake Pinkston’s favor is that it is one of the research lakes in the TPWD’s Operation World Record program. The lake, along with five others, is being stocked with fish from the Budweiser ShareLunker program as part of a program to document the growth potential of Florida largemouth bass in Texas. While the ultimate goal of the program is to produce the next world-record largemouth, the more immediate result is likely to be the fish of a lifetime on the end of many an angler’s line.
If numbers are your aim, Lake Nacogdoches is for you. “It has lots of big fish, too,” Driscoll said. “It’s about 2,100 acres and has lots of vegetation, primarily hydrilla. Use the same basic pattern as for the other lakes. Be aware that both Pinkston and Nacogdoches have 14-to-21-inch-slot limits.”
In far northeast Texas, TPWD fisheries biologist Michael Brice chose four lakes as his favorites: Gilmer, Caddo, Monticello, and Bob Sandlin. “Gilmer Reservoir is definitely one to keep an eye on,” he offered. “It’s about 1,000 acres and was opened to the public in September 2001. Hydrilla and flooded timber are the dominant vegetation types. We recently conducted a year-long creel survey at Gilmer and saw high angler catch rates of quality-sized bass. Additionally, several 10- to 12-pound bass were caught there this past year. I would not be surprised if a Budweiser ShareLunker was caught there in the very near future.”
Caddo Lake is seemingly associated chiefly with idyllic boat trips through moss-draped trees, but it’s also a perennial big-bass producer. Since 1996, Bass Life Associates, a privately funded angler incentive trophy replica program, has had more than 600 8-pound-plus fish entered. The lake has also produced five ShareLunkers.
For high numbers of bass, albeit without the trophy potential of a Rayburn, a Kurth or a Toledo Bend, Brice suggests lakes Monticello and Bob Sandlin. “Monticello produces high numbers of slot bass,” he said. “Bob Sandlin has had an increase in bass recruitment in recent years due to an increase in aquatic vegetation, with about 2,000 acres now dominated by coontail and hydrilla. Anglers are catching high numbers of bass in those areas.”
THE SOUTH HAS RISEN AGAIN
Everyone worries when rains don’t come and lakes go down, but the other side of the coin is that water fluctuations are part of the natural cycle in Texas, and when water levels fall, Mother Nature goes to work. Drying lakebeds spur the growth of grass, brush, cactus and whatever else can take hold and grow. When the waters rise again, all that flooded vegetation furnishes cover for small fish and nutrients that grow the base of the food chain and eventually wind up as a fish on the end of your line.
Lake Amistad is proof that the process works, and so are two other South Texas lakes: Choke Canyon and Falcon. Choke began its rise in July 2002, just two weeks after the TPWD stocked 384,000 Florida largemouth bass. The following spring spawns were tremendous. Those fish grew fast, and by spring 2004 catch-rates of barely legal fish shot up. By summer the fish were 15 to 17 inches long -- and the best was yet to come.