Shootin’ You Straight — 4 Fish, Stillhouse, 09 July 2015

This morning I was joined by returning guest Ray Johnson, a retired U.S. Navy flight surgeon now living here in Central Texas with his wife, Linda.


Retired United States Navy flight surgeon Ray Johnson with the largest of the white bass we took by downrigging this morning on Stillhouse Hollow.

I let Ray know ahead of time that the fishing was slow, and slow it was.  We never caught more than a single fish at any of the 10 areas we tried. and 6 of those areas failed to produce, despite solid sonar returns revealing at least a few white bass at 9 of these 10 areas.

The fish we caught all came on downrigged bait fished at 22-28 feet deep, approximately 2-3 feet above the fish we observed on sonar.  Although the exact depth varied from place to place, at each location we fished the fish we saw on sonar were all holding in a 2-3 foot deep horizontal band between top and bottom and typically showed only in small packs of 2-5 fish — not the larger 30-50 fish schools common for this season.

Those of you who have fished with me know I’m a stickler for details, including exactly how many fish are caught on your trip.  To that end, I have a “clicker” I use to track exactly how many fish come over the side — there is no “about”, “around”, or “nearly” used in my reports.  So, when I tell you we caught 204, you can know we caught exactly 204.  And, like today, when we caught just 4 fish, that, too is accurate.  I post it all, good or bad, so you can know what your are in for, how the fishing is trending, and whether we are on the kind of fish you like using the techniques you like, or not.  To me it is a credibility issue that I feel I owe to you, my clients.

There is no other way to put it — fishing is just tough right now.  As I try to put my finger on it, I know what differences I am observing right now versus a “normal” summer.  Those differences are: 1) murky, brown water caused by flood waters making vegetation (both shoreline and deep hydrilla) rot versus clear, green water of typical years, 2) an abundance of small, 3/4″ long baitfish all over the lake, now found at 21-27 feet deep, and 3) relatively cool water for this point in the season — we were at just 82.9F today near noon, but typically see 85-87F water by now.  I’ve also made observations about the fish … 1) the white bass are very scattered and suspended, 2) in the last 4 weeks I have not encountered any white bass congregated on or feeding near the bottom, 3) in what is normally peak topwater season, almost no topwater feeding has been observed so far this summer season, and 4) there seems to be far fewer fish using the deep, main basin of Stillhouse where a majority of summertime activity usually takes place.

I take this as a challenge and a puzzle to be solved, not a problem to fret over.  I continue to try different areas, different presentations, different lure combinations, and will eventually fine tune things to maximize the catch as the lake continues to settle, clear, and stabilize.

And that’s the way it was…


TALLY = 4 FISH, all caught and released






Start Time: 6:45a

End Time:  11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  77F

Water Surface Temp:  82.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: S11-14

Sky Conditions:  70%  cloud cover.

Note: Lake has dropped 0.09 feet in the last 24 hours and now stands at 623.21 above sea level, with 622.00 being full pool

Other: GT= 0




**Area 207

**Area 040

**Area 1431

** Area 1428


Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Salado, TX