As we enter into May, we have the third and final Super moon of 2020 at 6:45am on the 7th, the evening of the 6th will offer the best view of the May’s Full Flower Moon. The combination of the Herring/Shad spawn and the approaching full moon should make for a good bite! In other words, I have just given you a set of circumstances (aka excuse) that you can use to make a strong case to go fishing! The lake level remains over full, with Thursday evenings reading being 1072.02, 1.02 feet above the full pool level of 1071.00. That is .08 lower than last weeks level. The surface temps are holding in the low to mid 60’s.
The Striper bite has been pretty good, but perhaps not as consistent as in past weeks. We still have fish scattered all over the lake, and the patterns are varied. The best overall pattern is probably still fishing live baits, with down lines, planers and or free lines all producing well. Keeping a Mini In the spread is very productive and should be a standard part of the spread. The Mini has been effective on both on the Stealth troll or as a down line. Look for the fish in a variety of areas, in the creek backs and coves over a 50 to 30 foot bottom, around deeper saddles, or around bait concentrations. Fish are being taken all over the lake, but the best concentrations and most consistent bite is probably in the upper parts of either river. An early start may be a big plus right now, and you might as well get out there early enough to visit your favorite dock light before sunrise. FYI, If you are pitching live baits at the lights, this is a really good way to run into one of our increasingly prevalent Flathead Catfish, they like the lights and will be a nice bonus bite to start the day!
There are also good numbers of fish roaming shallow points, humps and banks, and they are catchable but often singles or small groups of fish. Casting a weightless Fluke has been effective on the fish, and fishing fast and saturating lots of water are the keys to making this pattern work. Think run and gun fishing, these shallow fish are pretty catchable and will respond within the first few casts, so get the easy ones and move on to the next place. Normally the top waters would be the choice for this pattern but the fish for some reason seem to be reluctant to take top waters, so the sub surface baits seem to be getting a more favorable response. Hopefully this top water bite improves in the next few days. These shallow fish will also take a Herring on a free line or fished behind a planer, but again keep moving from one point/hump to the next to maximize the bite. While you are pulling these areas cast a Fluke or Magic Swimmer to the banks to get take some of the Stripers and big Spots roaming the banks.
Bass fishing is also good, and it looks like some the fish are starting to move towards post spawn patterns and deep structures. There are plenty of patterns to choose from as there are still plenty of fish in shallow water, and as long as the temps stay mild that should remain the case. There are also some fish showing up in the 20 to 25 foot range on points, humps and brush as well, so do not limit your methods to the shallow bite, and expect the deep bite to grow stronger as May progresses. FYI, I have seen plenty of Spot Tails on the ramps and banks for those who have inquired. I have not fished any yet, but that bite is generally a sure thing once you get the Spot tails.
The shallow patterns remain a matter of tweaking the right bait/technique on a given day, with the Soft plastics being the most consistent producer. The Senkos and Finesse worms on the Weedless Wonder and The Keitech baits on a Jig Head on a slow swim have been very prolific in recent weeks. Cast these baits around humps, reef poles(reef poles are basically humps that are marked for us) or almost and bank with good cover. Use the wind to your advantage and mix in spinnerbaits and jerk baits to tweak the bite. A wake bait or topwater also has some application, although that bite is still slow to develop, but worth having a bait tied on if noting else to use as a change up. If you are out early, look for the spawning Shad and or Herring, that will often draw the fish in , and can make for a good early am bite. Also for the early risers, casting to the dock lights will probably be worth some extra Bass bites, from Spots and some Largemouths mixed in. Lights in the backs of the creeks, submerged lights are good but not a necessity as the above water lights will also draw bait and fish, are attracting plenty of fish. Flukes, small buck tails, and the Keitechs on a swim head are some likely choices to cast at the lights.
I have had many questions but the surfacing fish, or lack of, and that activity has been sparse at best. I did see a slight increase this week in the number of surfacing fish chasing bait, enough to be looking for, but I think it is still a secondary pattern. I’ll keep an eye out for ‘em and update you next week!