WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday afternoon I fished our only locally available option — Stillhouse Hollow — with Mr. Rick Snelgrooes of Georgetown, TX, accompanied by his son, Sean, and Rick’s father-in-law, Steve Rohner, visiting from southern California. Rick also brought his neighbor and fishing buddy, Rick Curwick, a transplant from Minnesota, and Sean brought a buddy of his own, Garrison Clopton.
With so much environmental change occurring over such a short period of time, the normally excellent fishing (often on par with or even better than fishing during the spring warmup in March and April) simply hasn’t materialized, and, I don’t know if it will this season. Not only did our lakes rise nearly 15 feet in a matter of hours, but the temperature fell from the high 70’s to the mid-60’s. Additionally, there is quite a flow of accumulated flood water being released from both Belton and Stillhouse now. Belton’s flow is nearly 4,000 cfs, and Stillhouse’s flow is nearly 2,000 cfs. Adding insult to injury, our most severe cold front just passed through on Thursday, dropping temperatures into the 40’s all day Saturday, and another reinforcing cold front moved in overnight from Sunday into Monday, dropping temperatures through the day Monday down to 32F by Tuesday morning. We just can’t seem to get any traction with any manner of stability in the weather.
From the left: Garrison Clopton, Rick Curwick, Steve Rohner, Rick Snelgrooes, and Sean Snelgrooes. Working slabs vertically and at a moderate speed was the key on today’s tough trip.
WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.
WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow
WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday afternoon, November 10, 2018
HOW WE FISHED: Since I had fresh “intel” from the morning trip, I tried to capitalize on locating and fishing for the fish I’d already found in the morning, hoping to spend more time with lines in the water than the morning trip afforded as we did a lot of sonar searching during that trip.
The two locations that gave up the fish we caught this afternoon were in the same general vicinities as the fish we caught in the morning. Additionally, in the limited additional searching I did with sonar this afternoon, I did not find any additional concentrations of fish.
The first group of fish we fished for was in 51 feet of water and was holding tightly to the bottom. When I first sighted them on sonar, I guessed the school to be about 50-60 fish in number. These fish fired up pretty quickly, stayed interested for about a 25 minute span, then shut down. I moved around in this same vicinity, routinely graphing smaller pods of fish (10-25 in number), but couldn’t get more than a fish or two from out of these. The middle two hours of this 4-hour trip were slow.
As dark approached, I returned to shallower water where the light would still penetrate closer to the shallower bottom. Here we found suspended fish clearly drawn to and consolidated by the thumper. We put our last few fish in the boat via a slow smoking tactic bringing the baits up into the bottom of the upper third of the water column where sonar indicated these suspended fish to be holding a majority of the time.
OBSERVATIONS: Saw a number of loons, cormorants, and gulls have arrived with the most recent cold front. What little bird activity I observed was fueled by loons driving bait or bringing bait to the surface with gulls responding overhead. I observed no fish-related bird activity. Belton Lake is now 11.54 feet high and falling about 0.26 feet per day. Stillhouse is 12.7 feet high and falling by about 0.14 feet daily.
TALLY: 25 fish, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:50 am
End Time: 12:00 noon
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 43F
Water Surface Temp: 64.4F
Wind Speed & Direction: NNE 10 at trip’s start, slowly tapering down to NNE3-4 by trip’s end
Sky Conditions: 100% grey cloud cover with occasional sprinkles in the first hour
Water Level: 12.7 feet high and falling by about 0.14 feet daily
GT = 90
Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 484 – smoking for more heavily schooled bottom-hugging white bass in the first hour of the trip (1:45 – 2:45p)
**Area 054 – smoking for suspended white bass just prior to sunset (~5:00 – 5:30p)
Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide
Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service
Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide
254.368.7411 (call or text)