This morning I welcomed back John M. and his 14 year old son, Matthew, as well as “Grandpa” Al.
From L to R – Grandpa Al, Matthew, and John with our first fish of the day taken on a crankbait as we were still socked in by fog.
Long story short, we struggled today to get to what Matthew fondly referred to as “double digits” — we boated only 10 fish this morning and struggled to do even that.
Stillhouse has been a tough nut to crack ever since the 10+ feet of flood water came down hard from out of the Lampasas River. I have had a hard time locating bait and gamefish since this big rise. There is a definite stratification of the water column over the entire length of the lake. Around 25 to 35 feet there is a very distinctive band of “something” that shows very definitively on sonar. I don’t know if it is unsettled silt, water of a certain temperature, some manner of insect or small freshwater shrimp, or what, but it is there and I haven’t seen any fish marked in that layer or below it for 7 days now.
We pushed off at 7:15a in a heavy fog, relying solely on GPS to get around. We first hit Area 1062 and just to the west of it, but along the same 12-14 foot breakline, boating a just keeper largemouth, followed by 2 white bass. I thought we might encounter the same scenario we did last night as the skies slowly brightened wherein fish stacked up along this breakline, at first in one-sies and two-sies, then began to coalesce into larger schools of 1-3 dozen fish or so. We continued to flatline troll for the fish we saw on sonar and picked up 3 more white bass here. We saw one decent cluster of fish, e-anchored on them cast to them with bladebaits, but to no avail.
When the second fish to hit Matthew’s rod struck, he was right in the middle of eating some snacks. He had a handful of chips in one hand, palm up, and was using his other hand to feed himself. When that fish hit, he shoved the entire handful of snacks into to mouth and grabbed that rod in less than a nanosecond. His dad saw the same thing I did and was in stitches about Matthew’s reaction. Adrenaline is a good thing!!
Afterwhile we left this area and headed to Area 1064/5. We picked up one white bass here on the flatlined Wiggle Wart and found nothing else.
We then headed over to the Area 125-770 Complex and downrigged a pair of white bass with staggered downrigger balls at 17 and 19 feet.
After this played out and showed now sign of producing abundant fish, we continued searching several areas, all to no avail.
We spent our last hour scrubbing the water from Area 1043 to Area 056 with downriggers set between 16 and 21 feet (varying the depth as fish location dictated); in review, everything we caught we found in less than 21 feet of water. We landed one more pair of white bass in quick succession to the SW of Area 1043 and that was all she wrote.
I complimented Matthew after our trip for hanging tough when the fishing was difficult. He never got down, discouraged, whiny; rather, he looked forward to each new spot we went to and each new technique we tried as we shot for that “double digit” goal of his!
Simply put the fish are scattered, off their feed, and very difficult to pattern. I noted to the fellows as we took a few photos of the fish we caught that the white bass were all defecating brown/black feces which indicates that they are feeding heavily on insects. 99% of the time white bass feces are silver/grey from the digested shad they typically consume. Only time can settle things down if no hard rains come along. Looks like we’ll be turning our sights on Belton Lake at least for a while during the forthcoming annual shad spawn there.
TALLY = 10 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 12:45p
Air Temp: 66F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 70.2F
Wind: Winds were S12 in the fog, settling back to SSE8 as the skies cleared.
Skies: Skies were foggy until 8:30, then cleared to fair and cloudless.