Texas anglers are blessed with so many waters to fish, so many fish to catch and so many ways to catch them that deciding where to go month to month demands some serious thinking.
From January to the end of the year, your choices of where to go and what to catch involve a wide variety of freshwater and saltwater species, as well as bodies of water that range from big to small.
Here are some of the lakes and the fish they have to offer. You may want to hang this Texas Fishing list next to your calendar!
This Rio Grande reservoir has become the gem of West Texas and there are few better places to enjoy the normally warmer climates of the winter than on its deep, clear waters with scores of steep, rocky canyons and its incredible largemouth bass fishing. If that weren’t true, the numerous professional bass anglers who have competed there wouldn’t have returned to purchase properties and build homes nearby.
During the pre-spawn period in January, bass move onto the windy points of the canyons and creeks to feed on shad and to search for spawning areas. By February, many of the bass on this warm-climate lake already are beginning to spawn while bass elsewhere across the state are just beginning to search for their own spawning grounds.
The bass typically search spawning areas and feed along the underwater ledges in 2 to 7 feet of water that drop off into 20-foot depths, especially those with brush on them. Red Shad worms and crankbaits usually work best for taking these fish.
This Texas-Oklahoma border lake on the Red River has long been a jugliner’s dream. It has a population of some of the biggest blue catfish in the state. Most of them are caught during February by jugliners, but many rod-and-reel anglers have been surprised by the big brutes. In fact, the Texas record blue cat weighing more than 120 pounds was caught there by a rod-and-reel angler in 2004.
Juglining for catfish has become an event almost kin to the opening of deer season for many anglers. It isn’t unusual to find a lakeside fishing camp or marina with groups of eight to 10 jugliners camped together to set and run their lines and simply have a good time in between.
Slickum Slough, Paw Paw Creek and Lebanon Point above the Willis Bridge on the north end of the lake have been among the most productive areas. Live shad and cut shad held about a foot off the bottom and fished along the edges of the main river channel and its tributaries catch most of the fish for jug and drift fishermen.
Hybrid Striped Bass
This relatively little lake north of Houston has been a sleeper among hybrid striped bass anglers. But sometimes a good secret is hard to keep. During March as the water temperatures begin to warm, the hybrids go on the prowl and can produce quick limits for anglers using both artificial and live bait.
Topwater action can be good when the fish are surfacing during the early and mid-morning hours, especially off the main-lake points that have sandy bottoms. Swim baits also produce some great catches when the hybrids are schooling or when they are prowling the points and flats.
When you locate schools of shad, you likely will locate schools of hybrid striped bass. If the topwater and swim bait action slows, switch to chrome Slabs and spoons and fish vertically by bouncing the lures off the bottom in the same areas.
Perhaps no other lake in the state has produced more eating-sized channel catfish than this reservoir of the Sabine River Authority located north of Wills Point. It is especially productive during the spring and summer months.
During early spring, the channel catfish move into flooded willows and cattails when the lake level is up. Look for them around trees at 13 to 15 feet of water near the channels on the upper end of the lake when the level is low.
The ticket to catches of large numbers of cats is to bait out areas you plan to fish with soured maize, and then to use punch bait on No.4 treble hooks, fished either on bobbers or straight lines. It isn’t unusual for a fishing guide with four customers to see 100 channel catfish boated between just after daybreak until noon. Now that’s great catfish action!
Find more solid Texas Fishing options for 2012 for May, June, July and August on page two!