Bass, Bait, and Bill — 60 Fish, Stillhouse Hollow, 16 Dec. 2014

This morning I fished with Bill Mielke of Kempner, TX, as we sought after white bass using artificial lures on Stillhouse Hollow Lake located between Austin and Waco.


Bill came up with a bit of a surprise — a channel catfish on a jigging spoon from out of 24 feet of water.  The bait was abundant in this area, thus a lot of gamefish were here, too.  In one area the size of our boat, we pulled multiple white bass, freshwater drum, largemouth bass, and this catfish, all in about 30 minutes’ time.

Bill Mielke Trip Dec 2014

Bill turned the camera on me today after I hooked this nice 5.00 pound largemouth co-located with schooled white bass near a tad of submerged timber.


A few of the nice white bass we took from a large, mobile school of hundreds of fish we found at late morning.

Bill is both former military and a former cop (Atlanta, Georgia area) who is now married and raising two kids while going back to college on the G.I. Bill.

Bill is originally from “up north” in Minnesota, but, despite having lived in the land of 10,000 lakes, he hadn’t been fishing since he was 16, so, he we long overdue.

We had pretty brisk conditions today in the wake of yesterday’s cold front passage, but the north winds had not yet begin to slack off, so, I knew we still had a very good chance of putting together a decent catch.  We got going right at sunrise (which could actually be seen today after a long run of grey, cloudy days) and got right into some bird action which would come and go for the better part of nearly 3 hours before fading out around 10:15am.

Fishing was pretty straightforward today — we “read” the birds, located the fish the birds were working over top of via sonar, then worked a slab vertically for as long as the fish were willing to cooperate.  We found average action at the first 3 locations we hit, then excellent action from 9:00 to 10:00am at the last location we fished.

At this last location, Area 1503, fish were not just in the last 2-3 feet of the water column, they were in the lower 1/2 of the water column in ~41 feet of water and there were a lot of fish — several hundred — and they were on the move.  I have never encountered fish in this particular location before, and I suspect they were just migrating through on their general upstream movement towards the Lampasas River for a possible spawning run in the spring (if we have rain and flow by then).  Anyway, we used a very slow version of the smoking technique to interest these fish and then vertically jigged near bottom after they got sluggish.

When the birds pulled off of these fish, the bite was just about done.  We ended up with exactly 60 fish today including, 1 channel cat, 1 largemouth, 2 freshwater drum, and 56 white bass.

TALLY = 60 FISH, all caught and released




Start Time: 7:20a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 42F

Water Surface Temp: 57.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNW11-12

Sky Conditions: Post frontal and clear

Other: GT=0


**Area 1310/1501 vertical jigging in ~21-24 feet of water

**Area 1511 vertical jigging in 24-26 feet of water

**Area 470/988 vertical jigging in 24-25 feet of water

**Area 1503

Bob Maindelle
Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide
Belton Lake Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)

Heights Vet Lands Magnum White Bass on Stillhouse — 50 Fish, 15 Dec. 2014

This morning I went white bass fishing on Central Texas’ Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir with Jim Mobley and Elwood Harmon, long-time friends and neighbors from Harker Heights, TX.


Elwood Harmon caught this magnum-sized 16.50 inch white bass on Stillhouse in 18-20 feet of water on a bladebait.  White bass of this quality are quite rare on our clear, infertile, limestone lakes of Central Texas.  Elwood earned a TPWD Big Fish award for landing this fish.


Just minutes after Elwood boated his magnum white bass, Jim came up with a 14.75 inch white bass which, on most days, would take big fish honors on Stillhouse or Belton.

Jim grew up in this area and remembers walking the banks of the now-inundated Lampasas River before Stillhouse Hollow was impounded in 1969; he works for an accounting firm in Killeen.  Elwood is a Vietnam veteran who retired after 21 years of service in the U.S. Army, and went on to a second career in the car business.  He is originally from northeastern Maine (and still has that great “Down East” accent!).

As I watched the weather forecast develop beginning last Thursday, it called for a mild, dry cold front to push into the area overnight Sunday and into the daytime hours on Monday.  This typically bodes well for fishing at least until the water temperatures drop into the low 50’s or high 40’s, so, I gave Jim a call and we put the trip on the books.

The fishing lately has been bird-oriented in the early hours of my morning trips, followed by solid fishing in deeper water in late morning after the birds dissipate.

Right on cue, as Jim and Elwood were making their way down the boat ramp to meet me, the first flock of gulls began working over open water, so, we skipped a number of “formalites” and made a beeline for the birds.  I found fish under birds in three distinct locations this morning, however, at the first two, the fish were not nearly as cooperative as the number of birds and those birds’ activity level would indicate.  We actually had more birds working over us than during any single trip so far this season, yet had a pretty average start, putting just 13 fish in the boat by the time the first 90 minutes of the trip had gone by.  These fish came primarily on horizontally worked bladebaits, with a few more added by way of slabbing on bottom.  An attempt at downrigging drew no strikes.

The third flock of birds we encountered helped us out a whole lot more than the first two.  This time we had terns working the fish instead of gulls like we had at the first two areas, and, these fish were in shallower water (16-20 feet versus 24-27 feet).  We cast Cicadas directly into the increasing wind and worked them close to bottom all the way back to the boat, adding an additional 24 fish to our tally over the two hours we spent working for the fish in this manner.  The fish were definitely clustered together — with 3 of us casting, it was not uncommon for 2 or all 3 of us to hook up at the same time, nor was it uncommon for all of us to go without a strike for a spell between encountering such clusters.  Out of this area Elwood pulled a really healthy 16.5″ white bass (which will earn him a TPWD Big Fish Award), and just minutes later, Jim pulled a 14.75″ white bass — both exceptional fish for our relatively infertile limestone lakes here in Central Texas.  Most of our fish from this area went right at 12.75″.

Around 11:15, this activity dried up and we set out looking in deeper water for more heavily schooled white bass.  We looked over 2 areas that had been producing well on the murky southerly winds we had up until Saturday, but neither of these panned out.  We finally caught up with a moderately-sized school in about 32 feet of water and went to work vertically jigging for them.  No sooner did we let down than Jim and I both came up with fish, and the action continued for about 40 minutes, albeit for fairly small fish.

By around 12:15, this deepwater action had ground to a halt, all bird life was sleeping on the shore, and it was apparent the morning feed had run its course.  We ended up with exactly 50 fish for the morning.


TALLY = 50 FISH, all caught and released






Start Time: 7:15a

End Time:  12:20p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  61F

Water Surface Temp: 58.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  W7 increasing to WNW12 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions: Cloudless fair skies.

Other: GT=0


**Area  977 for 5  fish under low-light conditions and gulls

**Area 1312/1310 for 8 fish under gulls

**Area  1167/303 spot-hopping for 24 fish on bladebaits (best quality fish here)

**Area 981 vertically jigging for 13 fish (most small fish from a single school)



Bob Maindelle

Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

Belton Lake Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)