2019 is off to a great start!
Lake Houston- White bass, yellow bass and crappie spawn are in full swing and if you wait much longer you may miss it. Largemouth and Spotted bass are staging to spawn though and the topwater bite has started to turn on.
Lake Conroe- Bass are on beds and the spawn is kicking off. Bowfin are shallow and water clarity is finally getting sight fishable. Grass carp are of course shallow and gorging most days. Watch for more Lake conroe stuff over the next month as my focus on white bass changes to bass and bowfin. Gar are also getting shallow and the spotted gar have been entertaining.
Urban bayous- Carping has been awesome with the carp spawn in full swing, low flows and clear water making for a great time to be carping. Grassers have been surface sipping for at least a month now and im not complaining!
Texas Racks and Quacks Lake- Bass are starting to make beds and bluegill have been shallow and super aggressive. Top water bite is just getting off and streamers have been fooling the skeptics.
Lake Houston- white bass, yellow bass and crappie are off to a great start. Recent rain and flooding has temporarily blown out the creeks and rivers but look for the fish to turn on as the water drops. Bass are starting to get shallow and their spawn will kick off any day now.
Lake Conroe- Bass are shallow are also staging to spawn and the top water bite is almost here with the occasional popper eater right now. Bowfin are spawning and shallow but water clarity has made sight fishing difficult. Look for clear water or blind cast. Carp and gar are also shallow and frisky. Its a great time of year to to more catching than fishing.
Urban Fly Fishing- Dry fly fishing for grass carp has been awesome with the occasional plop eat. Common carp and a few Koi have also been out and very willing to eat. The Commons should be on for the next two months and out in bigger numbers than usual. Smallmouth Buffalo have also showed back up and its a great time to target them. San juan worms being most effictive. Tilapia have also shown back up and are getting into spawning mode also.
Texas Racks and Quacks lake- Streamer fishing for bass has been super effective along with the occasional topwater eat. Theyre starting to make beds but not there yet. Any day now though. Bluegil have been on and taking small streamers and nymphs along with small poppers.
Lake Conroe- Bass have been shallow taking poppers and baitfish patterns. Bowfin are in similar areas but don't be surprised if you see one backing or close to it either. Crawfish patterns and small poppers have been working for Bowfin. Grass carp have been a little more frisky and willing to take a well placed fly.
Lake Houston- Bass are still taking poppers but the streamer bite has been more consistent. Watch for bass busting shad to especially in lagoons and coves. Whitebass and crappie have started showing up to not in crazy spring numbers but enough to have fun.
Urban bayous- Grass carp have been decent and taking plopped flies. Commons mostly scattered but willing to eat if you find em. Tilapia have been taking most small buggy flies similar to your carp bugs. Just keep their attention!
Racks and quacks ranch- top water bite has been solid along with a slightly better streamer bite. Pick your poison here fish are feeding.
Lake Houston- Sunfish are bedding, Bass bite has been best early in the morning or late in the evening. Poppers are producing with a decent streamer bite in between. Watch for carp they have been around and willing.
Lake Conroe- Bowfin have been busting topwaters and wolfing around the flats taking crawfish patterns. Grass carp are everywhere as always and eating
Urban bayous- Grass carp have been super aggresive along with the Smallmouth Buffalo. Commons are around but mostly scattered lately. Tilapia and Gar have been all over to.
Texas, Racks and Quacks- Bass on topwaters or streamers early in the morning and late in the evening. Strip heavier streamers around during the day. Giant Bluegill on poppers or streamers all day. Alligator gar have been cruising and taking decievers.
Lake Houston- White bass and Yellow bass are still in the creeks and taking clousers. Largemouth bass are bedding and the topwater bite has turned on. Crappie are being caught shallow off structure.
Urban carping- Has been just awesome. Grass carp are eating dries and taking nymphs on the plop. Common carp have been all over the concrete flats and some big schools have been found lately. Alligator gar have started showing up and the Tilapia are all over so keep an eye out.
Lake Conroe- Has been showing what it can produce lately. Bass are shallow and bedding. topwater bite has been great in the morning and evenings with a decent streamer bite in-between. Bowfin have been back and forth but up shallow and eating. Its just hard to work through the dang bass. Grass carp have been shallow eating and taking flies on the plop.
Texas Racks and Quacks Lake- Bass are bedding and taking poppers early in the morning and late in the evening. Mid day streamer bite has been decent and producing some big girls. Bluegill are eating poppers, clousers and almost anything buggy.
Texas Bowfin on the fly Part 2
Putting it together
Since then I have developed a couple ways to target the fish and my favorite is obviously sight fishing. I recently purchased a Diablo Paddle Sport's Amigo sup/kayak hybrid and it's been a game changer poling the mud flats for Bowfin and carp. With the ability to stand and pole in a couple inches of water Ive been able to get shots at super skinny Bowfin mudding, tailing and cruising in hunt mode.
One big give away I've noticed also while paddling around is to watch for air breathing. They have a lung system similar to a gar and will eventually come up for a breathe in a similar fashion. If you find one gulping air try fan casting that area usually he hasn't gone far and a few casts may come up with a hard thump. If it doesn't try changing flies before giving up on him. They'll hunker down in a hole or under structure waiting for food and defending their spot or territory. The more time I've spent out the more I've noticed certain spots always have the same fish rising. Typically the warmer the day and more active the fish is the more you will find them gulping air and the more shots you'll get.
The best by far though is the dap shots next to the yak. When you just happen to lock eyes with a beady eyed Bowfin wriggling his eel like dorsal fin. Yes they will come investigate your boat! Move slow and plop that crawfish pattern right in front of his nose. Twitch it once and do your best to get a strip set. Even if you lose the fish you will never get that creepy image out of your head and will spend the rest of the day hoping for a similar shot.
These are just a few of the consistent strategies I've been able to put together. It's still a learning process and hopefully I'll have more to share in the future! For hands on learning book a paddle trip I'll be glad to show you the ropes!
With fall officially less than a month away and early fall patterns usually starting the end of August and the beginning of September it's time to start thinking of cooler nights and fall patterns. As the days shorten and it starts to actually cool off from triple digits and the mid 90°’s and those night temps get into the lower 70°’s look for bass keyed in on shad in the creeks and backwater lagoons of the bigger lakes. Don't be afraid to go bigger either!
Remember these shad have grown since Spring and bigger bass will a lot of the time key in on the larger shad, bluegill and other prey items. Especially while fattening up for the coming winter. I'm big on lobbing large streamers like gamechangers and big deceivers this time of year. Mostly hammering the banks in 2-5ft of water and stripping back at various speeds, Working along structure such as docks, Lilly pads, down trees, and points where the bass have to travel to enter and leave these areas.
Also watch for bass busting schools of shad I'm big on pulling up to a spot and just watching for a few minutes. Shad are key this time of the year and If you find the shad you'll find the bass. If you don't see much action it's probably good to keep moving. When you do find them cast next to or past the schools and make sure to let the fly drop a second or three before stripping. They'll hit on the drop quite often so watch your floating lines for a twitch. If that's not working and they're busting aggressively still strip the fly faster.
Don't be afraid to try a popper or a gurgler in any of these same areas and situations in fact I highly encourage it! Don't be surprised either if your biggest bass of the year is caught in the next couple of months. Start tying flies, booking guides and wetting lines you've almost survived the Texas heat!