As you know the 5 year drought effected most of Texas. Including our fishing and had caused the Whitebass population to dwindle and for several years on Lake Houston. With almost no flows to spike a spawn and warmer water temperatures we went a couple of years without any spawn at all. On your best days you were lucky to catch 5 Whitebass. Now they were big fish all over 14 inches for the most part, but nothing compared to my beginner days of fly fishing the run and catching so many fish you lose count. It had in fact got so slow the bait chunkers would pull up ask a person how they were doing and just leave. Usually there were 20 cars lined down the road now you'd maybe see 3 of the die hards.
Finally during the beginning stages of the 2014 run I caught my first juvenile’s in the 6 inch range and not just one, but fifty in one pocket. I was ecstatic! It had been so long it felt like it would never happen and soon the Whitebass would be non existent. As that season went on we had perfect flows and floods. That made for some decent fishing days nothing crazy but sometimes 10 or more fish if you worked for it. The spawn was happening though and next year was looking brighter.
During the 2015 run it was about the same daily numbers did go up slightly. But finally with more 10 to 11 inch fish and the big girls who had been making it through the drought and thousands of jigs, flies and live bait tossed near them. Still improvement and signs of a bounce back were on the horizon and I could almost hear the sound of the drag screaming on my 2wt.
This year's run (2016) was the best I can remember. Not necessarily in terms of numbers (though there were some 30+ fish days), but consistently big Whitebass were caught. Average size this year during the actual spawn were between 12 and 14 inches with several 16+ inch fish being caught. (I saw the lake record broke at least 3 times on the fly and not submitted.) Not much under 12 inches through the actual spawn but juveniles were caught but only in the early staging and some as the run tapered off.
It's great seeing the lake bounce back so fast and give you so much to look forward to the next year. Of course there's bass and carp fishing still but there is just something about the spring run that just screams fly fishing to me. Plus who doesn't like to break out the 2wt or glass 4wt and wade down a creek throwing clousers with an almost guarantee of getting bent.
With all this rain keeping our lakes at pool you can bet next year's run is going to be even better!