Happy 4th of July! I hope you have a great Holiday weekend! The weather for the 4th, and most of next week indicates  hot and humid, with a pretty good chance of afternoon showers, a typical July weather forecast. It is really the type of weather that should make for good fishing conditions, so get out on the water! The lake level dropped to 1070.12, .42 feet down form last week, and .88 feet below full pool. The surface temps also dropped slightly from last weeks readings to an average of 84 degrees. 

Striper Fishing

Striper Fishing patterns and techniques are really the same as last week, although some days the fish were a little reluctant to bite. We still have several patterns that are producing, so be versatile and take advantage of patterns that vary during different times of the day as well as different areas of the lake. 

Live baits on down lines and weighted free lines continue to be consistent producers, and remain one of the better patterns, Fishing the bait in pockets, as shallow as 35 to 40 feet is a good strategy, especially early on the day. This pattern has application on the lower and middle parts of the lake. There are also fish in the backs of the creeks, target pinch points and timber lines, with some fish holding in timber as deep as 70 feet. Power reeling is a viable technique on these deeper fish, and I would definitely have a couple of rods ready to go with the spoons and jigs. 

Trolling has been very good, with umbrellas over the humps being a strong technique, especially from mid morning on. Target humps that top out around 30 feet, or clip points in the same depth, keeping your rigs in 15 to 20 feet.  Contour trolling over a 35 foot bottom is also effective, and may be more efficient than moving from place to place. I think this method is best on the lower end, but has also been effective in the middle parts of the lake. I am not sure if there is a favorite rig, I think it is more about depth control and keeping the rigs in the strike zone. 

Lead core trolling is a decent pattern, the numbers are OK, the average size of the fish has been very good. A Chipmunk Jig, Under spin bait, or Mini Mack fished 7 or 8 colors back behind the boat, have been consistent producers. Target the river or creek channels, and don’t ignore the back 1/3 of the major creeks. This pattern will be effective on the lower or middle parts of the lake, and should only improve as July progresses. 

Bass Fishing 

25 foot brush is not the only place the fish are calling home, but it’s safe to say many of them are. There are still several baits the fish will respond to, and that varies from day to day. Topwater continue to do well, Chug Bugs and Spooks remain favorites, and a fluke worked over the brush is also a consistent producer. Keep a swim bait tied on,  they are also effective over the brush and for the schooling fish that have been consistently showing up. One footnote on the schooling fish: casting spoons to the schoolers can be a great technique. Try jigging spoons such as the Flex -it, Super Spoon, or War Eagles, and almost any type of spoon should get the bite. Cast them to the fish, if they are still on top retrieve it on or near the surface. If the fish sound, allow the spoon to sink and then retrieve with a yo-yo or ripping motion, Asl always, watch for the bite to occur on the pause or fall. 

If the fish are hesitate to chase down the moving baits casting a spy baits to the tops of the brush will be effective. A Fluke fished on a slower retrieve and subsurface will also be effective on the finicky fish. Worms on the drop shot, Texas Rig, or shakey will also get plenty of bites. 

Falling lake levels indicate increased water releases, typically occurring in the afternoon hours, which can energize afternoon and evening fishing. The techniques and structures I mentioned above will still apply. The moving water will in most cases unnoticeable to us, however, the fish and bait will feel it. This often causes the fish to become active, move, and feed a little more. If your schedule allows, planning a trip to coincide with the water release can be a big plus! 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

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