WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday I fished a full-day trip with Mike and Laurie Tomberlin from the north Austin area. Both are high school teachers in separate school districts and took the day off to spend outdoors with one another. The family owns a deckboat and Mike has his own fishing kayak. One of the main reasons Mike wanted to book the trip was to experience “off shore” fishing for freshwater pelagics wherein electronics must be relied upon for success. Mike grew up trout fishing in the West, and then became familiar with sight casting to shallow, visible cover, but knew there was another world of fishing in deeper water that he’d yet to tap into.
So as to do a “reality check” on both Belton and Stillhouse as potential kayak fishing destinations, I showed the couple, by land and by water, the majority of the kayak-friendly access points on both reservoirs.
We fished Stillhouse in the AM and Belton in the PM.
PHOTO CAPTION: For the relatively infertile waters of Central Texas, these fat egg- and milt-laden white bass are hard to beat quality-wise on Stillhouse this season.
PHOTO CAPTION: Mike took this deep-water largemouth on a slab. Like people when they spend time out of the sun for long periods of time, these fish get pale, and this fish was no exception.
WHEN WE FISHED: Friday, 28 February 2020, AM & PM
HOW WE FISHED: We fished Stillhouse from 7AM to 12:15P and then fished Belton from 2:35PM to 6:50PM.
Stillhouse summary – Thanks to a north wind (at a higher velocity than forecast) and clear skies, the bird action was cranked up a notch this morning. We found our first 3 groups of fish thanks to gull action, and found the white bass feeding in small packs up on mid-depth flats to be a bit more active than with winds from other directions. By the time the birds quit, we’d already landed over 50 fish, whereas over the past 2.5 weeks, a tally from the mid-teens to the low 30’s was where we typically stood at this point.
After the birds quit, we shifted our focus from flats to the channel and found two distinct congregations of fish right on the channel lip ready to feed. The first group yielded just shy of 30 fish, whereas the second congregation, which was deeper and much more densely packed together, gave up over 60 fish in our final 90 minutes on the water.
Every fish we landed, which included 1 largemouth and about a dozen drum in addition to all of the white bass, came on the 3/8 oz. white Hazy Eye Slab with Stinger Hook attached. A very slow easing tactic was the go-to method save for when LiveScope revealed high, moving, suspended fish. At such times a slow smoking tactic was employed.
We caught fish from 32 to 48 feet deep. We fished up the morning with 138 fish caught and released.
Belton summary – We faced tougher conditions on Belton in the afternoon in that the N wind had shifted to the SE and lightened up. There was never a time all afternoon when there weren’t at least patches of calm water and just a very slight breeze rippling the remainder of the surface. We also had minimal cloud cover until the last hour when a low bank of thin clouds in the west obscured the sunset.
Fish came in spurts this afternoon as we found small, tight groups of fish, caught them, and then had to move to find more fish. Fish were considerably shallower than on Stillhouse, with most of our catch taken in 18-30 feet of water. Tapering bottoms were the common denominator this evening, with little going on along the segments of river channel I searched.
One promising sign at the end of the evening came when Mike and I were able to do a short stint of sight-casting to shallow white bass chasing shad to the surface. This was not wide-spread, and the fish did not remain on the surface, rather, only one or two would pop a shad now and then, but the fact that we found them in 2-6 feet of water and moving that quickly was a sign that winter is relenting.
Aside from this sightcasting with bladebaits for our final 10 or so fish, we landed all of our fish on the same 3/8 oz. white Hazy Eye Slab with Stinger Hook attached which served us so well on Stillhouse. 69 fish caught and released.
TALLY: 207 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: Shallow, aggressive fish taken on bladebaits at and just following sunset on Belton in 2-6′.
Start Time: 7:00A
End Time: Noon
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 38F
Elevation: 3.26 low, -0.01′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 51.5F
Wind Speed & Direction: N7 wind through 10A, then shifting quickly to the SE3, building to SE6, then tapering to SE2 with periods of calm through the midday period
Sky Conditions: No cloud cover
Start Time: 2:35P
End Time: 7:50P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 62F
Elevation:1.55′ low, 0.03′ 24-hour change, 17 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 56.2F
Wind Speed & Direction: Calm to SE3 all afternoon
Sky Conditions: Clear until the last hour when a low bank of thin clouds in the west obscured the sunset.
GT = 0 (?!?)
#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 1882
**Area vic 1934
**Area 172 – Blades 10-12′
**Area B0014G – Shallow blades
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)