Lakecaster Online

Guides Corner
by JOHN PLUMB

Seasonal trend While we have been ducking the cold, or deer hunting, or whatever, the white bass have continued doing their thing, As usual, it's been a weird year for weather, and with the onset of cooler temps early on, it has jump started the annual spawn run up the river and major creeks. As
you read this, it's going on. The process is spurred by temperature.

Somewhere near 50 degree water temperature, their biological clock goes off, and the fish begin staging in the upper reaches of the lake. At the influx of fresh flowing water, the long journey begins. Many of the larger creeks that flow into the Trinity River show fish in the early stages, but as things develop, the major action is beginning further north. How much further north will depend on several climatic factors.

When water temperature and flow are right, the fish make their move. The smaller male fish will go first. They begin to show up all throughout the system. It's a flash in the pan compared to what is yet to come. About 2-3 weeks will pass, and the larger females will follow the males to preferred spawning areas. At spring time, this is beginning to happen. Basically, what this means is while you are sitting there reading this, I'm up halfway to Dallas fishing.

For twenty years, I've gone up river, and had some luck finding where these likely places are, and have had some trips that are nothing short of awesome. Usually, in a remote stretch of deeper, slower water is where they will decide to spawn, as current conditions are favorable, and boat traffic is much less intense. In the eddy of a bend can be, and has been many times the discovery of the mother lode.

Methods of fishing are a bit different from lake fishing. Small jigs and crankbaits seem to be the preferred bait, and slow bottom bumping retrieves seem to work best. Slabs will work, but many are lost quickly due to the amount of snags inherent with river fishing. Lots of jigs are sacrificed also, but they are much cheaper, and work equally as well.

Boating in the river is a challenge, and one must be very careful. It is a hostile environment to a boat. If one is equipped with a small flat bottom, it can be launched at PT's camp at Hwy. 7 and the Trinity River. This puts you within a few miles of target rich environments. Usually, better fish are to be found 4-5 miles downstream from PT's. Many are caught right at the lock and dam, but it's usually crowded. I like solitude.

Going this way requires a small boat/motor that can be man-handled onto the trolley. Otherwise with a boat that must be launched, you must venture up from Hwy. 21 at Midway, TX. It is a long run up (30+ miles) to good water, but it's an incredible trip, and worth the trouble. Much in the way of nature can be observed, not to be seen elsewhere. If you have the time, take the trip, but be careful. Wear your PFD, and use your kill switch. You never know, the life you save may be your own. That's a good thing.

I promise you, it's an adventure. The river habitat provides prime nesting areas for bald eagles, and several will be seen in a day's trip. They are quite stunning, and interesting to watch. Beaver signs are everywhere. Branches with the bark chewed off are everywhere and possibly some beaver may
be seen. Deer, hogs, and no telling what else, It's just outstanding.

Make sure your stuff is all working, no kidding. If a doubt exists about the integrity of your gear, any of it, don't go there. There is little or no help available, and you could find yourself stranded. Not a good thing. Some emergency stuff might be handy, like charcoal lighter fluid for a fire, food, and a plastic tarp for shelter, just in case. Life can be hard for the unprepared. It is pretty much wilderness in most stretches of the upper river. Be ready. Going armed is not a bad idea either.

O.K. Get up, go out and hitch up the boat, and give it a try. I think you'll not be sorry. It's one of the high points in my year of fishing, just to go. Fish or no fish, but that shouldn't be a problem. I'll be up there. Holler at me. I'll be the one having a large time, UP THE RIVER.

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