The striped and hybrid bass bite is really starting to improve. They are being caught in several different types of locations at varying depths. Yesterday (12/10) I spent the day checking out various areas, but mainly concentrated on the deep water channels. Bait is starting to move into the 80+ feet channels on the main lake and the stripers are either buried inside of the bait balls or are following. This is a typical winter pattern and as the water continues to cool, more and more bait will move into the deep water and suspend 40 - 60 down with the striped and hybrid bass hanging out close by. I did end up finding several large schools of fish following bait, which were suspended 50 - 60 feet down. I managed to land a nice hybrid and broke off a second fish. I was vertical jigging with a 1 ounce spoon. Another good fishing method at this time to target these suspended fish is to troll with umbrella / Alabama rigs or with just a single large swim bait. The main key is to be able to get your bait down to the fish at 50 - 55 feet. Using live bait has also been very productive. Today I was checking out various flats on the lake. I started at the 101 bridge flat and worked my way west to the Cranfield area, then headed northward to the Seward Point and Briar Creek flats. I found fish on all the flats, but it was mainly scattered white bass. At about 10:30 I was checking out a final flat and found a few arcs in 48 feet of water. I stopped and started to fish and my fish finder screen lit up like a Christmas tree with all kinds of fish. For the next 2 hours I vertical jigged with my 1 ounce spoon and also casted out a 1/2 ounce Kastmaster. I ended up landing a couple nice striped bass, a few hybrids, flat head catfish, largemouth bass and lots of jumbo sized white bass. I dropped my spoon and let it sit about 1 foot off of the bottom then place it in the rod holder, I then would cast out my Kastmaster and let it sink to the bottom and then retrieved it slowly with a stop, jerk and reel retrieval method. I would glance at my spooning rod on occasion and find that it was buried with a fish on. I had a great time with a great big grin on my face. :-)
The largemouth bass are also starting to move towards deeper water as the water continues to cool. This is normal for this species, as well as, for all the species in the lake. I have been catching some nice fat largemouth while vertical jigging for stripers in 50 feet of water. You can also jig around sunken brush piles in 30 - 40 feet of water and catch some nice fish. The third location is along the rock bluff walls. Cast out a worm, crawdad or a jig & pig to the shoreline and let it sink down the bluff wall. Most of the fish caught on plastics are in the 20 - 30 foot deep range. There are still a few fish up shallow, but most are deep following the bait, which is going deeper.
Crappie are still in their normal habitat for this time of year and will be found buried in brush during the morning and daytime in 30 - 40 feet of water. In the evening they will come up in the water column and may be only 8 - 15 feet down. You need to test different depths until you find that magic area where they are feeding. I have actually caught a few nice keepers on 50 foot deep brush piles over the last week, so don't hesitate to check out the deep areas for crappie.
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Happy fishing and see you on the lake.