Look for Rivers or Creeks with Moving Water

The annual white bass spawning run has either began or is about to begin on rivers or creeks that feed into popular Texas lakes. With a warm winter like we have had this year, it is possible some fish have already begun migrations up rivers and creeks, or at least staging in the upper reaches of the reservoirs.

“A few days of heavy rain followed by warming trends could easily get the first wave of fish to move into the creeks and ready to spawn,” said TPWD Inland Fisheries biologist Jake Norman. “Water temperatures in the mid-50s and climbing, coupled with a warm rain that increases flow is like opening gates to the fish.” When you find fish, there is likely to be a big concentration in a tight area.

White bass can be found across most of Texas. The run up the Neches River above Lake Palestine is considered one of the best white bass spawning fisheries in the region. Others include the Sabine River between Tawakoni and Toledo Bend and Big Cypress Creek above Lake O’the Pines. There are others, but many, like Lake Fork, are underutilized.

It’s also the time of the year when a kayak or small flat bottom boat is a really good choice to fish from as the most the water fished is narrow or relatively shallow. Some folks do use bass boats to move up a river or stream, but it’s an iffy game as hidden obstructions and quick changes in water depth can block movement, also cause damage to lower units if you don’t know the stream. Don’t give up fishing from the banks if you can find access to the water.

Popular lures for the spawning season include jigs, spinners, soft plastic shad and small crank baits. A small Rat-L-Trap will catch its share. I have used the Trap on the Trinity River above Lake Livingston to catch a bunch of fish off of sloping sand bars. Productive colors include white, silver, pearl, chartreuse, yellow, clear metal-flake and chartreuse metal-flake. Other anglers prefer a Road Runner type jig or in-line spinner baits. I have never used flies, but I bet they would work.

The fish should be relatively shallow. When points or sand bars reach out into the stream, position the boat off to one side and fish parallel with the structure. As a rule, the white bass schools will be stacked up on bottom on one side of the sand bar or the other. If the point is running east and west and there is a steady north wind, it’s usually best to key the south side. Actively feeding fish are apt to be picking off baitfish that pass over the top of the structure.
It’s prime time to boat some heavy stringers of white bass. The key words are for spring white bass fishing: look for rivers and streams with moving water. The strikes come quickly and limits are often landed when a big school of actively feeding fish are located. Fish in the 1.5 to 2 pound range are very common this time of year.


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Fishing Report from TPWD (Apr. 10)

FAIR. Water clear; 65 degrees; 0.09 feet below pool. Striped bass are slow to fair with the most consistent bite with live bait on points in 2-20 feet of water, but some can be caught trolling. Look for fish in 20-40 feet of water. Sand bass are slow to fair in 2-20 feet of water with live shad, small slabs and jigs. White, and silver are good colors. Sand bass are spawning in the creeks and river. Catfish are good on cut shad in 2-10 feet of water. Water clarity is steady at 4-10 feet of visibility. Report by TJ Ranft, Ranft Guide Service.

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