WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Presidents’ Day Monday (17 Feb. 2020) I fished with Mr. Steve Niemeier and his granddaughter, Macy Fowler, age 11, both of Temple. Steve left the choice of lakes up to me. This year there has been a pretty stark contrast between Stillhouse’s fewer, but larger, white bass, and Belton’s greater quantity of smaller fish, without exception. Because we cashed in on high numbers on Macy’s last trip back on November 11th (140 fish in 4 hours on Belton), and because I saw that Macy did well in allowing herself to be coached, I felt we’d do well to head to Stillhouse and shoot for some larger fish, knowing that either lake would require a pretty technical approach given the low water temperature.
PHOTO CAPTION: Steve Niemeier and his granddaughter, Macy Fowler, with a few of the plump Stillhouse white bass we found very near the river channel on this Presidents’ Day morning outing.
WHEN WE FISHED: Monday, 17 February 2020, AM
HOW WE FISHED: We had about as many things going for us as we had working against us this morning, and I anticipated average results for this cool-water season. The overriding issue is water temperature which is at or near the annual low right now. Helping us today was wind, cloud cover, and the fact that we were at the end of a 3 day warming trend with a cold front due in midday the following day. We weren’t lined up for pre-frontal fishing, but the conditions were okay.
We began working slabs vertically under birds at two distinct areas, but these birds are focused on the occasional sunfish crippled by scattered white bass and small largemouth on deep flats. These fish are generally not schooled up heavily enough to sit atop of and catch high numbers. We caught a few fish this way, but nothing to get excited about.
We experimented with using bladebaits up shallow and picked up a few “pioneers” trying to move upstream in preparation for spawning. We picked up another half-dozen whites this way, but that action died suddenly as the skies, although still 100% grey and clouded, brightened.
With this brightening, we moved deep and came upon another group of bird working open water. As I surveyed the situation with sonar, I saw good numbers of fish on bottom, suspended just up off bottom, and with a few “high riders” up off bottom in the water column as much as 15-20 feet off bottom in ~42 feet of water.
We sat over these fish for about 45 minutes and put about 20 fish in the boat aided by Garmin LiveScope, using an ultra-slow smoking tactic with my 3/8 oz. white, Hazy Eye slabs with stinger hooks attached.. The fish quit about 10 minutes after the last of the birds gave up. It was interesting to observe a nearby angler in a bass boat who also fished this area, drawn in by the birds. He fished, caught nothing, and left as he moved about much too quickly using his trolling motor. It confirmed to me the need to sit in one well-chosen location, allowing the bite develop around us as we created commotion by jigging, thumping, and catching and releasing fish.
We checked a few more areas in our last 45 minutes on the water, finding one very solid concentration of fish adjacent to the old Lampasas River channel. These fish were also in about 40 feet of water. As is typical of late-morning fish, this population flared up with excitement as we got our slabs down and caught our first few fish, but then quickly cooled off. We took a final 22 fish at this location, taking our tally from 34 fish, up to 56 fish on the morning.
TALLY: 56 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: The best concentrations of fish we found were immediately adjacent to the river channel today. Only scattered fish were found away from the channel.
Start Time: 7A
End Time: 11:30A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 62F
Elevation: 3.36 low, No 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 54.5F
Wind Speed & Direction: SW6-9
Sky Conditions: 100% grey skies all morning
GT = 35
#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1500 – scattered whites on mid-depth flat under gulls
**Area vic 735 – scattered whites on mid-depth flat under gulls
**Area vic SH0077C – shallow whites taken on blades
**Area vic SH0080C – active whites on deep flat adjacent to channel
**Area 1038 – active whites on channel breakline
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)