The ﬁrst week of summer was certainly warm, with higher than average rainfall amounts. As we end the month of June the lake level is 1072.27, 1.27 feet above full pool.As of the 27th of June, we have had 28.90 inches of precipitation, 4.72 inches above our average year to date. We have more rain in the forecast for the weekend, but probably more dry hours than wet so get out and get on the lake!
The Striper bite has been good, no surprises on the patterns. Down lines, trolling leadcore, trolling umbrellas, and power reeling are all producing well. I think overall the live bait bite is the best producer, but the other patterns I mentioned are also viable and combining them will increase your productivity. The ﬁsh are still scattered, but for the most part look for the ﬁsh to be on typical areas or structures. We still have some ﬁsh pushing up into drains and ditches as far back as a 30 foot bottom. This pattern may work at any point in the day but I think may be best in the am hours. Trolling a rig up the length of these drains is a good way to locate ﬁsh, they will probably take the rig quickly if they are between 20 and 40 feet. If they are densely bunched up clear the rigs/lead cores and deploy the down line and power reeling gear.
The power reeling bite has been good, primarily if you can get the ﬁsh ganged up under the boat, and experiment with different baits to tweak the bite. I have had some good days with the spoons, but some days they seem reluctant to take the spoon and respond better to a big jig or a shad body on a Crystal Shad lead head. The open water trolling bite is a little hit or miss, but is producing enough ﬁsh to discuss. Pulling a single Chipmunk jig, or the Capt. Mack Striper Spin, especially in the afternoon and evening hours has been a good technique 7 or 8 colors behind the boat. Troll over the drains, or over the creek channels. There are also some ﬁsh showing up over the river channel as well.
Bass ﬁshing has been good, with the ﬁsh loaded in main lake brush 20 to 30 feet.The top waters are still producing well, although that bite has become a little inconsistent. If the ﬁsh will not respond to the surface baits, try a ﬂuke, a SteelShad or a Spybait to pull them out of the brush. If all else fails a Robo or your favorite ﬁnesse worm on a drop shot will get plenty of bites. You will see some random schooling ﬁsh, and they are very catchable if you can get a bait to them.
Of course, the “getting to the bait to them” part can be tough as the ﬁsh are often up and down very quickly. Keep something tied on that is compact and can make a long cast. Bucktails, Steelshads, or Flex-it Spoons are good choices for this application, and if you can land the bait in the splash rings the ﬁsh made when he surfaces you’ll probably get the bite, outside the rings, probably not. The night bite is still pretty strong, and with the cloud cover and rain we experienced last week temperatures did not cool off, but they did remain stable which should prolong that pattern. Big bladed Spinnerbaits, Spro and Norman Crank baits, and of course worms on the Texas Rig will also produce.
Very few anglers are targeting Crappie now, as the ﬁsh are deep and maybe become a little lazy as the water warms. You can still catch ‘em, but ﬁshing the deep brush can be slow and tedious. If you are ﬁshing brush or docks, look for the ﬁsh to be 10 to 25 feet deep, depending on the structure and the time of day/amount of light. Your favorite hair jig should get the bite, and ﬁshing two jigs in tandem will give you the extra weight to make it easier to keep the jig in the strike zone. Live minnows are also a great choice, ﬁsh them under a slip cork or if the ﬁsh are deep enough on a down line.
Even on the down line the bite can be light, so watch closely and if the line moves sideways or goes slack, it is probably a bite. Fishing under lights is a good technique this time of year and setting up a light spread under an upper end bridge can be a good way to spend a summer evening. Down lining minnows, and Threadﬁn Shad if you can net them, should get you a cooler full of Crappie. Dedicate a line of two to a larger bait, at some point during the night you’ll probably have Bass, Catﬁsh or even a few Stripers show up under the lights as well.