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Lanier Sealy

Fishing in droughts

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Here where I am in Georgia we have not received hardly any rain. It's making the fishing harder for sure! What are some pointers on drought fishing? 

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Haven't had any sizeable amounts of rain up here in Mass either. Some of our ponds are extremely low and all of my local lakes are too.

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Same here it's crazy! It's killing my fishing I'm not having any luck with what I'm throwing. I've had huge success with plastics in the past. That's actually all I throw most of the time it works very well. 

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drought is a bad thing. here in western NC we've had our share in the recent past, 2001, 2002 (High Rock Lake was reduced to a creek) and 2007. i remember seeing Lake Hartwell, on our way to Florida, and was shocked. heck, just last year many ramps were closed on Lake Wylie due to low water levels. but our woes dont hold a candle to what California and Texas has been through. sorry for my carrying on about droughts. i'm a retired water works guy and had to deal with them more than i wanted to. i also love to fish. my best advice is to be very careful out there if you're in a bass boat. use your maps and electronics to do some looking around for bait/fish in deeper creek arms and near main channel points and other structure. also, make notes (way points, maps, pics) of once hidden structure (or construct your own) so when the rains return once again you'll be slayin them like the pros. praying for rain doesn't hurt either. good luck and stay safe.

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We just ended a five year drought up here. We tossed big swim baits in the summer and caught some great fish. 

The big fish are condensed. Take advantage of it. 

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I HATE DROUGHTS!!!  We wrapped up a 100-year drought 2 years ago, and many of our lakes were at 50% volume - a few dried up. :/

I actually don't mind it from a fishing perspective.  You can learn ALOT about where you normally fish!  As "lo n slo said", study the lake when it's down, and mark structure that is normally under water.  I used waypoints from the peak of the drought 4 years ago just this past week!  If you have a long drought, chances are you'll get updated satellite imagery on Google Maps which can also be very telling.  Soak it up!  Maybe even take pictures.

Then go fishing. :)  You have a lot less water to cover, your fish are more concentrated, have less shoreline cover, and often, your water is clearer.  It should be pretty easy to predict where fish are holding.

  • When water is dropping, fish pull out... so look more offshore 
  • Drought is usually associated with heat, so look for the classic summer areas where water could be cooler or have more oxygen (shade, grass, current, fresh water, etc.)
  • If you're not fishing deep water, you should be near deep water.  "Deep" is a relative term that differs across all bodies of water.
  • Look for structure that fish move along as they establish their comfort zone (points, steep banks, bluff walls, channels, etc)

As gloomy as it seems (droughts make me depressed), you will get rain again!  We've been well above average the past two years and have all but forgotten about the drought.  Hang in there - your lakes will fill up again and then you'll have all kinds of new shallow growth to fish!

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Here in Cali, man made and natural, sorry for getting a little political. But, it makes us angry. We are lucky to have our cement canals. They are always producing. Our lakes are low and might get low again. I fish plastics for most part. 

One positive note, when lakes and pond drop, go out and take pics of the lake. I have found great little spots and details on structures. 

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California has been devastated by drought ponds completely dried up small lakes drained to be used for other purposes. We have gotten some relief this year with El Niño but it's over and who knows what is ahead. Fishing is tuff in lakes where many fish died. My best advice for fishing in a drought means taking longer drives where the drought hasn't impacted that much it's worth it. I heard Georgia has some Great Lakes to fish.

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Yeah it's bizzare! We were well above average with rain last year then it's like Mother Nature flipped the switch on us! I can completely understand Cali and Texas and what they have been through as I have relatives in both states. I don't typically fish lakes I have my private pond but it's down significantly and will admit I've caught a few hogs from the drought. 

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When a lot of the local reservoirs got low here in NorCal fishing actually improved for me because I'm a shore guy and I had much more shore access.  In some cases I had 100% shore access and could walk around the entire lake.  The fish were still the most active early morning/late night, and were in the same spots you'd expect if the water was high - cover, structure, points, dropoffs, stumps, creek channels, etc.  Part of it was having to "re-explore" even a familiar lake to see what became exposed with the lower water levels, since a lot of prior structures were now bone dry.

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