I’ll be on the road this week so the report will be a partial, but the basic patterns that have been productive in recent weeks are still in play. The lake level rose significantly with recent rains, to 1071.37 as of Thursday evening. That is .37 above full pool, with surface temps falling to 53 degrees.
The Stripers are still in the creeks, drains, and pockets around the bait, so the basic premise is unchanged. Find the bait where it is layered up on the bottom and then drop the down lines. Stagger your baits based on what you see on the sonar, but often the fish that are on or near the bottom will be quickest to bite, even if you are seeing greater numbers of fish suspended throughout the water column. Try dropping at least a couple of the baits the bait to the bottom and reeling up a couple of cranks, just enough to get the sinker off of the bottom. You can always adjust the depths once you figure out where the sweet spot is on a given day. Dedicate a couple lines to smaller baits, and a shorter leader may be a plus.
Trolling the rigs is also very strong, the big rigs and the Mini Macks are both effective. Using the big rigs to search for fish, then switching to stealth trolling the Minis once you locate fish is a good combo. If you have the boat moving at 1 MPH or less, you can effective fish the Mini’s with the live baits. Watch the birds, there are a few fish pushing bait to the surface and the birds( Gulls, Loons or both), with tell on them quickly. Swim baits, buck tails and Mini Macks are good choices to cast at the surfacing fish.
The Bass bite is pretty good, with fish being taken at a variety of depths and structures. The Plastics on the Weedless Wonder have been very strong, with Senkos, Roboworm, and Trick worms all being good choices. Target docks, rocks(both offshore and rocky points and bluffs), and channel swings. On the swings and rock bluffs, the fish may be at any depth, so fish the bait from the bank to 40 feet. The dock pattern will have the same guidelines, and weather will influence this pattern greatly. Shallower docks with the lowlight, deeper docks with brighter sun and or post front conditions.
There are still plenty of fish that are orienting to the bait concentrations in the ditches and drains. Spoons, swimbaits, blade baits and Damiki Rigs have been catching plenty of the deep fish. Look for the bait schools in 35 to 50 feet over drains, creek channels, and ditches!