2019 is off to a great start!
Fall fishing is kicking off! Top water Bass, big streamer fishing, White Bass and Crappie coming back into the shallows and more aggressive carp fishing with a little more surface action thrown in the mix.
Lake Houston- has been touch and go with rain. But in between periods of clearer water have been productive with some aggressive sunfish action on small poppers and most of the bass picking up crawfish patterns and zonkers in olive.
Lake Conroe- Bowfin fishings been decent and getting better with a lot more cruisers shallow. Watch for shad getting blown up Bass have been working them and i had a few Bowfin give themselves away chasing small schools in shallow structure and grass. Topwater fishing for bass has been great early.
Bayous- are turning on a little better and getting more comfortable. More aggressive Grassers on the flats and im seeing several more Commons a trip than i had been, so watch for more to show up with this cooler weather. Theres been some great dry fly fishing on dropping flows.
Lake Somerville- Topwater bass early and late off shallow structure. White Bass and Hybrids busting shad early off of points and humps. Plenty of happy Commons shallow just gotta find them in clear enough water.
Front fishing is here. Some tips for this time of year follow the shad. Fish right up until the front(dont put yourself in danger of course) but the pressure change usually turns the fish on. Then consider sleeping in, go hunt, hike or whatever on those High pressure blue sky days. Also typically the third to forth day after a front can be really good depending on when the pressure changes after the front. This time of year can be touch and go because of weather but also produce big fish on the right days.
Lake Houston- a combination of water temps between 45 and 55 degrees(warmer being better) in the creeks and rivers and slightly spiked flows has kicked off the White Bass run, along with Crappie and Yellow Bass. So between now and April are great times to get out and wade the creeks and do a little catching!
Urban bayous- haven't been awesome but on select days Grass carp and Commons have been on the flats and catchable.
No other reports as of right because that's all I've personally fished lately other than saltwater and a Guadalupe river trip. Good luck out there!
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.
January 17th Houston Fly Fishing Report
Since it hasn't been very cold this month so far we're already seeing Whitebass caught up the creeks and rivers of Lake Houston along with Yellow Bass, Crappie, Catfish and Bass. All eating small minnows patterns.
Also the Grass carp have been surface sipping consistently. Making it a great time to try and land a 10lb carp on things like elk hair caddis! Smallmouth Buffalo are still around and eating but not to many Commons on the flats.
Well as everyone's noticed, the temperature has dropped and we've been getting a bit of rain. This doesn't mean all hope is lost though! Fish are still biting, you may just have to change your tactics and check flows and water temperature. If you've been waiting to break out your sink-tip line, now's not a bad time. Hint hint, get those flies down!
This time of year, I tend to gravitate towards the feeder creeks and rivers looking for White Bass or walking the bayou's looking for rising Grass carp. Don't get me wrong though: Bass are still biting, and if you can get a couple days of consistent weather, you may be able to pull out some big girls. Plus that prefrontal bite can surprise you!
A Look Into What's To Come
Rainbow and Brown trout stockings are starting on the Guadalupe River and can be a great way to get through those cooler, crappy weather days. Dust off your 4wts and nymph boxes and make a weekend out of it! I plan to spend a month or so in the hill country this trout season so look for paddle, wade, and possibly raft trips to be offered very soon until the end of January. Lodging may also be available so please feel free to ask about that.
The Guadalupe river is also known for its Striper, so don't be afraid to sneak that 8wt out and bang some streamers!
As soon as I get back from the hill country, the White Bass run should be on and dates are already booking up. I still have some weekends open so you may want to book them sooner rather than later. Available dates will be from February to April and this year paddle trips will be offered along with the usual wade trips.
Contact Houstonflyfishing@gmail.com for more information. I look forward to fishing with y'all!
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!
Fishing Report October 19th
Urban Fly Fishing - has been good with nice flows bringing out all the fish. Common carp have been showing up usually as the day warms up. Smallmouth Buffalo are still scattered around. Grass carp have turned on big time and are super aggressive loving the plop. Fall is a good time for urban carping!
Lake Houston - The Bass bite has been on along with huge Grass carp! A fantastic popper bite early and late in the evening with some streamer fishing the rest of the time. Olive woolly buggers, various colors of clousers, baitfish patterns, and leggy crawfish patterns. The upper creeks have been awesome with decent clarity and cooler temps making a wade or paddle that much better. Streamer fishing is the way to go if you want to catch multiple species LM Bass, Spotted bass, crappie, channel catfish, Whitebass, various sunfish have been making appearances daily.
Grass carp have been found in big groups tailing and backing and even better taking a fly plop in front of them! When I say big I mean 10-20lbers easy! Perfect for sightfishing out of the Diablo’s!
Lake Conroe - Bowfin fishing has been on all day. With plenty in the 3-5lb range eating. Mostly pitching streamers to active fish. Grass carp have been more aggressive here also sucking of flies on the plop!
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!