Best places to fish for some of the most popular species

Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Catfish_Commando, May 24, 2009.

  1. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

    "Best places to fish for some of the most popular species"
    by Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton



    For almost 14 years, I did a weekly fishing report for a major Texas newspaper. When the idea was conceived back in the early nineties by a well known outdoors writer, the goal was to provide some real information that fishermen could put to use, rather than the generic fishing reports common to the day. Rather than the standard “bass good in shallow water on spinnerbaits”, I learned how to compile information into terms that would be of use to the angler. “Bass are now in pre-spawn and moving into and out of shallow water. Slow rolled quarter-ounce spinner baits with gold tandem Colorado blades are working well along creek ledges but soft plastics such as lizards (black with red tail) or Texas rigged 6 inch watermelon seed worms are producing better in shallow water.” See the difference in a generic report and one that has substance?

    I can truly say that I learned more about fishing patterns in Texas during those 14 years than in my entire career. Each week, I visited with a group of the best guides and fishing pros in the state and although none of them gave GPS coordinates to their favorite hotspots (Johnny Procell did come close on many occasions at Ray Hubbard!), the report was packed with very current, very accurate information. As an outdoors writer with a severe addiction to catching everything from bream to catfish and everything between, I can truly say there are few lakes in Texas that I have not fished.
    So, here’s my take on some of the very best places to fish for some of the post popular species. Hopefully these picks will help you plan your next outing.

    BLACK BASS- Ten years ago, my favorite bass fishing hole was Fork but, I truly believe Fork has seen its day as a monster bass producer. That’s not to say that lunkers won’t continue to come from these fertile waters but the numbers of 13 pound plus largemouth from Fork has drastically dropped the past few years. Fork will remain a great destination for bass fishermen but Choke Canyon has emerged as the premier ‘big bass’ lake in the state. Falcon, down on the Mexico border, is another producer of big bass. Were it not for Falcon’s ever fluctuation water levels, I truly believe it would have long ago emerged as the premier bass fishing lake in the state. When it comes to bass fishing, I’d rather fish a lake where consistent action on fish in the 2-5 pound range is the norm, rather than fish all day for that one big bite. Little Lake Crockett, located near Honeygrove in northeast Texas has long been one of my favorites for catching bass. The largest I’ve landed here weighed just over 8 pound but trips here usually provide at least one fish around 5 pounds. Crockett is a great place for the beginner bass fisherman to learn to pattern bass.

    Another great little largemouth hotspot is Houston County Lake, located near Crockett in East Texas. Crockett’s Family Resort provides excellent lodging and a great campground. Bass fishing is usually very good hear and the lake receives relatively light fishing pressure. Bass fishing is also good on several of the larger reservoirs around Dallas. Lake Lewisville, Ray Roberts, Ray Hubbard and Cedar Creek all have a healthy population; they are just BIG and sometimes difficult to pattern, especially for the week end angler.

    CATFISH- This is a no brainer: TAWAKONI, hands down! There are lots of great lakes for catching channel catfish and big blues but none that I know of hold a candle to good ole Tawakoni as a double threat. Right now, limits of channel catfish weighing between 1.5 and 5 pounds are common. The fish are in the shallows and aggressively hitting everything from stink bait to earthworms. Guide George Rule has been fishing water 3-5 feet deep around willows and flooded grass beds and clients are often limiting out in a matter of three hours, sometimes less. About October and continuing through February and sometimes as late as march, trophy class blues are landed hear with regularity by fishermen that know how to rig up and fish for these jumbo cats. When it comes to fishing for Mr. Whiskers, Tawakoni is as good as the best and better than the rest!

    Tawakoni is my favorite catfish spot but definitely not the only place I fish when in quest of the makings of a big catfish fish fry. Cedar Creek, Richland Chambers, Whitney, Lake Lewisville and Lavon often provide equally good fishing. Some ‘sleeper’ lakes such as Eagle Mountain, near Ft. Worth, Bardwell, near Ennis, or Lake Brownwood offer great fishing for catfish. Down a bit farther south, Choke Canyon, Calavaras and Falcon are well know for producing heavy stringers. If I were looking to catch one huge blue catfish weighing seventy pounds or more, my pick would be Texoma or the tailrace waters below the lake during the late fall and winter month.

    Texas lakes and rivers are home to some awesome catfishing. Chances are very good the lake closest to your home has the potential to produce for you, once you learn the seasonal patterns.

    WHITE BASS- The majority of the larger reservoirs in Texas are chock full of white bass (sandbass). Tawakoni, Richland Chambers and Cedar Creek share my number one choice, simply because I like them all and can’t honestly pick one over the other. All three lakes are loaded with huge schools of white bass, but so are countless other lakes scattered across the state. White bass are plentiful, easy to catch and provide good eating when marinated with a 50-50 solution of buttermilk and Louisiana Hot Sauce. Again, chances are excellent the lake closest your home will provide you with all the white bass action you can handle, especially during the summer months.

    STRIPERS AND HYBRID STRIPERS- With twice the state wide limit and a natural spawn in the Red and Washita Rivers each spring, Texoma has to rate at the top of the list for sheer numbers of stripers. Scores of striper guides have made good livings here through the years exposing their clients to the great striper fishing. But, Whitney is also a great striper fishery and, even though the stripers here are stocked and not as numerous as Texoma, the average size of fish landed tends to be a bit larger.
    For hybrid stripers, Lake Cooper is at the top of the list and Tawakoni and Ray Hubbard and Richland Chambers run a close second.

    CRAPPIE- Lakes Navarro Mills and Limestone provide some of the best crappie fishing in the state, they share the number one spot as my favorite but, Cedar Creek, Lavon, Richland Chambers and little Coffee Mill Lake in Northeast Texas and Houston County Lake near Crockett, Texas are great places to dunk a minnow for good eating papermouths.
    There you have my take on the best places to fish in Texas. I can almost guarantee you already have your personal favorites. We’re blessed with great fishing in the Lone Star State. So, pick a species, then a lake and “Go Get em’!

    LUKE’S OUTDOOR TIP OF THE WEEK- When fishing near bottom for catfish, try placing a small floater about six inches up from the hook. Here’s how to rig: Place an egg sinker on your line, and then tie a swivel below. Next, attach an 18 inch leader to the bottom of the swivel. Attach the small float six inches above the hook. This rig floats keeps the bait suspended a few inches up from bottom, making it much easier for catfish to position the bait in their mouth. This rig, nicknamed the “Santee Rig”, was originally designed for drift fishing but it’s equally effective when fishing stationary for catfish.



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  2. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Remember, this is just one old outdoors writers picks.. Chances are good you have your own 'hit' list of lakes for catching catfish! lc

  3. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Back to the top!