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txchaser

Breaking down a small lake from the shore (40 acres)

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I'd love to learn more about how to figure out this lake.

I know 100% I need to slow down presentation and go back to basics. The depth/fishfinder almost makes it harder; "hey i just looked there and theres no structure and no fish, why would I fish it? 

 

What does a fountain do to fish behavior in the winter? Other seasons?

What does the 20ft drain hole in the NW corner do for behavior across seasons?

What questions should I be asking myself or the lake?

Where are the bass when the concrete isn't warm? 

 

Legend:

Brown lines are cattails, currently cut to water level by park mgmt.

Green are surface or near surface weed beds. 

Spotty green are subsurface weeds. 

The image is a lot bigger than the box below if you click on it.

 

Commentary and learnings so far:

Water more tannic than muddy. Bottom often is oak leaves, at least 5' from the shore. 3-4' visibility.

 

Few small laydowns here and there, like 6" max diameter.

 

2lb (GP fat ika "magic rigged", mine, 12" hops, pause about 10 secs), and a couple of 5lb (smokin shad swimming fluke, unknown color googan bug, neither mine) caught in the ingress on the west, near the concrete retaining walls after some warm days. Few more bites in that zone but nothing I could hook up with. All seemed well-fed. History of the lake seems to be lots of soft plastic catches in better seasons, mostly senko and lizards t-rigged. 

 

Two hits just north of the drain hole, one ate the blade off the spinner bait, one ate the back off a fluke.

 

Have seen no baitfish, but I did see a heron hanging around near the mouth of the west ingress in the weed mat. 

 

Yellow/orange is from a deeper depthfinder. I labeled a few places with depth for context, and there's a legend on the lower left of the image. 

 

I've seen the very occasional fish on the finder, although some of the spots on the bottom might be a fish jammed up on it? Was hoping when I found the 18' deep space I'd see them bunched up in there somewhere. But I ran out of battery and hadn't seen anything yet. 


Water steady in the 52-56 range on the surface, depending on recent weather. 

 

Very little structure in the lake. So far it mostly looks like a big bowl. Some interesting depth changes are visible in the topo stripes below, like the shallow point after a deeper trench. Reasonably steep near most edges so far, probably 5' deep within 10' of the bank.

 

East seems pretty trashy. Not sure whats under there but this lake seems to eat most things with exposed hooks, at least on the north and east. Probably doesn't help that I'm trying to stay on the bottom given the season. 

 

The north shore and the two points on the north shore and NW shore look pretty interesting, in the summer. Ghost town right now though.

 

 

Untitled.thumb.jpg.88a5ca6d603df50cddeebcf2599602af.jpg

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  I have never fished a fountain  but it should oxygenate the water .  

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The first place I would try is the area between the drain and the cattails.  I would think that food would fall into the water from the cattails and be pulled toward the drain.

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10 hours ago, Bankbeater said:

The first place I would try is the area between the drain and the cattails.  I would think that food would fall into the water from the cattails and be pulled toward the drain.

 

 

Thanks. That’s an interesting point. It’s pretty much like a bathtub drain that’s 20’ across. Now I’m curious if there are shad chasing plankton that’s getting pulled in that direction since it is skimming mostly off the top of the water. Floaty stuff on the other end of the lake seems driven by wind; I wonder how far out there is an effect. 

 

 

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If you can reach the fountain there's likely a large concrete block holding it in place. There was one in the pond I did casting demos in at Cabela's in KC. I could get bit almost every time I could bump a bait into the block that held that fountain in place. It was the only thing in that mostly featureless part of the pond, plus there was lots of oxygen and the water was a little cooler there during the summer months. 

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16 hours ago, scaleface said:

  I have never fished a fountain  but it should oxygenate the water .  

 

We have them in some of the lagoons I fish and they actually provide cover for the bass since they float on the surface. I've had good luck tossing chatterbaits around them.

 

The only thing you have to watch out for is that there's usually a rope attached to it so that it can be pulled in and serviced. There have been a few times that I've snagged a lure on that rope line.

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Probably 200-300 yards to the fountain. But I have been eyeballing a kayak so we’ll see. 

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Can’t speak much to this time of year, just when it warms up in the later Spring through the Fall. I’m intrigued by the point SW of the fountain. To the SE of that point it looks like there is a good amount of cover (weeds, cattails) but it would still be fairly close to the deeper water of the main lake. 

 

I would try casting some type of topwater along that bank around the cover. 

 

Also, I would try the first deeper water coming in from the inlet. I would assume it is the area west of that same point. I have had success with larger bass getting as close as possible to an inlet without getting too exposed in shallow water. 

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The fountain is a aeration system to prevent severe thermocline issues depleting DO levels and usually located in the deepest water availble.

Where did the 40 acre size come from?

Keep in mind if your sonar unit is a traditional down looking the signal return size area is only 1/3rd the depth; 15' deep is 5' diameter or a small area to see fish that move as you approach. Use your sonar to determine depth or depth changes, hard to soft breaks and water temperature breaks.

Small lakes usually have dermasel prey for bass not pelagic bait fish like Shad. The bass are feeding in and around cover areas or wherever the prey is more abundant.

Structure is everything that makes up the lake bottom excluding decaying debris. The concrete shore reinforcement to prevent soil erosion is structure that creates an edge where it stops underwater that bass like to use to hunt crawdads. Man made structure like the areation fountain attracts both prey and bass.

Cattails are cover that create a vertical wall with a few pockets that bass use if it's deep enough.

Go fishing, shouldn't take very long to determine where the bass are located.

Tom

 

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Thanks @WRB

Thanks @FCPhil

On 1/24/2019 at 1:19 PM, WRB said:

Where did the 40 acre size come from?

 

 

Good catch, I went back to the city web site and it is the park that is 40 acres. 

 

On 1/24/2019 at 1:19 PM, WRB said:

Small lakes usually have dermasel prey for bass not pelagic bait fish like Shad. The bass are feeding in and around cover areas or wherever the prey is more abundant.

Should I infer a) bass are likely going to be feeding more near the shore than hanging in middle, barring some underwater cover out there that attracts gills? b) shad patterns/colors may be less successful than greener or gill-ier patterns/colors?

 

 

 

Interestingly most of the 4+ lb from the lake have been on paddle-tail smokin shad. Person catching reported that he used to fish watermelon colored swimmers but the bass inhaled them too deeply, and that senkos were somewhat unproductive for him over a long period of time.

 

Appears that most of the fish from the lake this 'winter' have been larger, but very infrequent.  Winter is in quotes because our temps are so volatile some of them are in full spawn in the back of the creek now. From nearly freezing last night to mid-sixties today. Texas!

 

Water clarity more than doubled in the last few days and I could see to the bottom in the spot that most of the recent catches have been. It was a ghost town, and I found nothing I could get a bite on on the west and north shores. Lockjaw I guess. I would think it was just me, but five other anglers in different spots with (likely) different baits got the same no-result result. 

 

On 1/24/2019 at 1:19 PM, WRB said:

Cattails are cover that create a vertical wall with a few pockets that bass use if it's deep enough.

That's what I fished today, spinnerbait, watermelon/red fat ika, crawdad TRD finesse in brown with belly flake. Will keep looking. I decided to put up the depth finder today so I could focus on fishing and stop trying to multi-task. I'm wondering if it should have been the other way around. 

On 1/24/2019 at 1:19 PM, WRB said:

Keep in mind if your sonar unit is a traditional down looking the signal return size area is only 1/3rd the depth

Has a wide mode too that is 1x depth/width. Should I leave it on narrow/hi-def?

 

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I would target the fountain if you can reach it. The water is gonna be oxygenated and it will either be shallow water around it or have a concrete slab like @Bluebasser86 said. 

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Just now, LxVE Bassin said:

If would target the fountain if u can reach it. The water is gonna be oxygenated and it will either be shallow water around it or have a concrete slab like @Bluebasser86 said. 

Thanks. Will have to get a kayak to get out there. But that's on the table now, the inflatable kayaks are kind of interesting. 

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The creek/culvert is full of 2-4" bass fry (huh?), and a small gang of 1 lb'ers (expected). North texas weather makes for a train wreck of a spawn season I suppose.

 

I can guess why decent-sized (4-5lb) are being caught in the spot between the creek/culvert and the main body, on paddletail swimbaits - some loose snacks make their way out to the nice warm spot. That same place (far NW) also has a submerged drain pipe (3') that may be good cover, in addition to some nearby weed beds and oddly placed submerged concrete.

 

I did notice around an hour before sundown that many had apparently been holed up in 2' incoming drainage tubes that are submerged. I guess it makes for good cover, but I can't say it would have occurred to me that they would call it home.

 

The dinks would eat any TRD I threw at them, bubble gum, cal craw, GP, GP goby, I kept changing to see if there was any color preference. But they were utterly disinterested unless it was within about a body length of them. Clear water, rocky bottom, 1-2' deep. Very skittish to splash or visuals of me, so pitching to a bank and dragging off into the water or far overshooting the target worked best. Chart and Houdini (sortof a baby bass pattern) 360GT swimbaits were ignored.

 

I suppose that means they aren't really active/feeding? Air temps 60-72 degrees for the last few days, and enough sun to warm the creek/culvert substantially.

 

Can I imply anything from the dink behavior about the larger fish in the main lake (that's likely much colder)? 

 

Also fished the SE point today, didn't map it though, pressed for time. Appears to be 45 degree or steeper bank, down to the bathtub bottom, also leaf-covered. Scattered shore weed beds, no other apparent cover or structure. Drug or bounced GP swim senko was ignored.

 

Hopefully this isn't polluting the forum with what's a bit of a trip report, I thought I'd just get my observations and questions down as I figure this lake out.

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On 1/23/2019 at 11:26 AM, Bankbeater said:

The first place I would try is the area between the drain and the cattails.  I would think that food would fall into the water from the cattails and be pulled toward the drain.

I fish a large pond with two fountains on it. The only fish I catch near them is off the ropes that lead to the fountains. One does have a drainage tunnel that is a great spot that also has cattails. 

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