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Standing Timber


RHuff
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How does one particularly go about approaching a stretch and fishing it thoroughly? We have a couple of local lakes up here Stonewall Jackson and Lake Moomaw in Va that has a few areas of timber. Do you look for the ends or "points" on the stretch like you would a field of lilly pads? Do you flip each individual tree like you would weeds or laydowns? What do you do if the stretch of standing timber is massive? How do you know the good from the bad?  Just looking to improve on a few of my weakest areas this winter. 

 

Does anyone ever fish a wacky rig around them? Flip jigs around them? Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, or crankbaits? 

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1st look at a Navonics lake map to determine the bottom contour. Look for structure elements like points, creek channels, humps-high spots and any saddles areas. 

Now look at the standing trees near the good structure features. Those are usually your better trees to target.

Tom

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Think of it this way 

 

Structure attracts em, cover tells you where they're at. 

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51 minutes ago, Catt said:

Think of it this way 

 

Structure attracts em, cover tells you where they're at. 

If you had to to put a number to it, about what percentage of your structure fishing has been connected to cover of some sort? And how do you feel about that percentage? Do you think it should be higher or lower than what it is? 

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Live on the WV / Va state line and have to assume you mean Stonewall in WV. Not familiar with a lake in VA with that name.

 

I fish many lakes in WV with standing timber and haven't found anything better than Spinnerbaits, swimjigs and swimbaits on an underspin. 

 

I really like a wacky rig for skipping docks or for focusing on limited cover.

For a plethora of standing timber, much prefer moving baits to attract active fish and go from there.

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3 hours ago, RHuff said:

How does one particularly go about approaching a stretch and fishing it thoroughly? We have a couple of local lakes up here Stonewall Jackson and Lake Moomaw in Va that has a few areas of timber. Do you look for the ends or "points" on the stretch like you would a field of lilly pads? Do you flip each individual tree like you would weeds or laydowns? What do you do if the stretch of standing timber is massive? How do you know the good from the bad?  Just looking to improve on a few of my weakest areas this winter. 

 

Does anyone ever fish a wacky rig around them? Flip jigs around them? Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, or crankbaits? 


 

I’m not a standing timber expert so won’t comment there. I’ll just note how much I miss that lake (stonewall Jackson). We fished it the first couple years it was open in the mid 90’s before I went off to school. One of my dads top 3 bass of his life came there (a 9+). We never fished the standing timber, rather focused on the lay downs and other cover. 

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2 hours ago, Catt said:

Think of it this way 

 

Structure attracts em, cover tells you where they're at. 

 

Well said! 

1 hour ago, Bird said:

Live on the WV / Va state line and have to assume you mean Stonewall in WV. Not familiar with a lake in VA with that name.

 

I fish many lakes in WV with standing timber and haven't found anything better than Spinnerbaits, swimjigs and swimbaits on an underspin. 

 

I really like a wacky rig for skipping docks or for focusing on limited cover.

For a plethora of standing timber, much prefer moving baits to attract active fish and go from there.

 

Correct! Stonewall Jackson in WV.. loaded with timber and big bass. I wish the WVDNR would have managed all lakes in WV as hard as they did that one when they first started…

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1 hour ago, LrgmouthShad said:

about what percentage of your structure fishing has been connected to cover of some sort?

 

100% is connected to cover, maybe not actually touching it.

 

1 hour ago, LrgmouthShad said:

? And how do you feel about that percentage?

 

Excellent 

 

1 hour ago, LrgmouthShad said:

Do you think it should be higher or lower than what it is? 

 

I'm good 😉

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58 minutes ago, Catt said:

 

100% is connected to cover, maybe not actually touching it.

 

 

Excellent 

 

 

I'm good 😉

Nice to hear. I think in that structure fishing video series you sent me, Albert Collins and Glen Freeman both agreed that they prefer to fish structure without brush piles etc.… interesting to get another perspective and also helps to bring context to other posts you’ve made. Of course there’s other offshore cover. Grass or standing timber. I like starting with a Texas rig or jig when fishing structure now simply because they do not hang easily and I can feel out any cover with my first dozen casts or so. Thanks for your response, been meaning to ask you

 

 

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I have never bass fished stonewall. That being said do not over look the weed edges that drop off and the rocky shore lines. A lot of those trees are in 10ft and more of water.  There is also tons of bait. I would fish a suspending jerkbait in that timber as well. Or like was stated above spinner baits. I would work the point all the way in cast shallower first then on the way back out try the deeper side.

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Look for structure elements like Tom mentioned. Also, if you can determine the specie of trees, look for areas where there are two or more or where one ends and another begins.

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I fish standing timber a lot.  And it can be a waste of time if you're not careful.  

 

As previously mentioned, look for structure on or near that cover.  That's always a good start.  Look for trees out by themselves.  A grouping of 100 trees of nearly all the same size, tightly packed in with one another is a great way to waste and afternoon.  But if you must, concentrate on the ones near the edge and any that stand away from the others.  It's almost never worth your time to get in between the trees unless there are structural changes underneath.  But if there's a channel that runs through the lot, fish any trees that come up to that channel.  Bigger trees amongst a bunch of smaller ones are a good bet as well.  So are ones with lots of branches under the water, or a different type of tree, especially if it's the kind that might have exposed roots.  Horizontal cover is worth 10x's vertical cover.  And a single tree, all by itself is worth more than 100 trees tightly packed together.  Even if it's just 25 feet away from that 100-tree forest.  Basically, anything that sticks out or is different is good.

 

As for what bait to use?  Well that depends on a lot of things.  But anything you can pull through there without getting hung up is a good bet.  Sometimes pitching a jig or T-rig at the trunk is a good idea.  Sometimes swimming a weightless worm through it catches them.  Sometimes a spinnerbait or squarebill pulled through the branches works.  It largely depends on the mood of the fish and the type of timber you're targeting.  Lots of small branches won't work for a squarebill, but a few larger, thicker ones might, as an example.  During the summer and winter, I'm more likely to throw a jig or shaky head, as they can be worked slower than a spinnerbait.  And in the fall when the bass are targeting baitfish, I'm mostly throwing a squarebill.  

 

In my local lakes with lots of standing timber, I've fished them enough to know which trees hold bass and which don't.  So I'll see other guys come through and try to cast to each and every tree once.  Meanwhile, I'll just concentrate on the few that I know are worth my time and try several casts to each before moving on.  And I'll skip all of the others that aren't worth my time.  I'll even circle back around to the same tree a few hours later.  I've been to lakes with probably 1,000 trees in the water, and only 10-20 were worth your time.  

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Look for current or wind.  The bass will be positioned behind the trees in ambush mode waiting for a meal to come by.

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I was told this piece of advice by someone who is good at a local place here that is loaded with timber to the point it has a HP restriction to prevent accidents and they said much of what was said here to the tune of imagine the timber isn't there find those same spots you'd fish then use the timber to help locate the fish on that same structure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a spot that has a massive area of standing timber, but it’s all shallow weeds, milfoil and Lilly pads!   How’d you guys fish this? Assuming pick apart flippin, pitchin, punchin, and froggin 

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2 minutes ago, Mr. Aquarium said:

I have a spot that has a massive area of standing timber, but it’s all shallow weeds, milfoil and Lilly pads!   How’d you guys fish this? Assuming pick apart flippin, pitchin, punchin, and froggin 

 

start with frogs or toads over the top (because I like topwater fish, so if they are going to eat that then that's my preference).  Depending on how thick the grass is a swim jig horizontally through it and a texas plastic dropped into holes.  

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5 minutes ago, casts_by_fly said:

 

start with frogs or toads over the top (because I like topwater fish, so if they are going to eat that then that's my preference).  Depending on how thick the grass is a swim jig horizontally through it and a texas plastic dropped into holes.  

I haven’t fished it in years due to a fish kill during a brutal winter in 2015. But these local swimbait “heros” have been hitting it and catching big fish now. So I gota get back there again! 

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7 hours ago, Mr. Aquarium said:

How’d you guys fish this?

 

On 1/14/2023 at 8:01 AM, flyfisher said:

they said much of what was said here to the tune of imagine the timber isn't there find those same spots you'd fish then use the timber to help locate the fish on that same structure.

 

Structure is the bottom shape of body of water, the cake if you will. The timber is the icing on the cake, the vegetation is sprinkles on the icing. 

 

Which one would you choose, cake with no icing or cake with icing & sprinkles?

 

It nice to know how to identify different types of trees but y'all missed the real reason why. Conifers don't grow in the same bottom composition as hardwoods do. Hardwoods tend to grow closer to the creek, cypress, tupelo, gums grew in lower swampy areas. 

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Our lakes only have trees that are indigenous underwater.

Oak tress range from scrub small trees to Sherman oaks over 100’ tall. Oak trees and most hard woods don’t decay under water. Pine , Sycamore, Cottonwood trees are also indigenous and they do decay underwater. Willows and cedar are smaller and last a long time underwater.

We don’t have a lot of standing timber in most SoCal lakes with the exception of oaks trees. 

Harris creek in lake San Antonio is a exception, about a mile long stand of standing oak trees populate this creek arm.

90% of the bass are located where you would expect them of the trees are not there; channel swings and points.

Tom

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11 minutes ago, WRB said:

SoCal lakes with the exception of oaks trees. 

Yeah, I don't mean to Hijack the forum but I've been using jigs well, what do you also use for the oaks out here? Always want to learn from the master of socal :)

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I'm the opposite of Socal but should be similar.

Shallow timber, you won't beat a Spinnerbait.

Deeper standing timber, I can't find a better bait than swim jigs and swimbaits on an underspin.

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I was having lunch with the Action Tackle hangouts and was invited to fish a tourney at ”Antone”  (San Antonio) because his boater had problems. I agreed and told this guy not too familiar with Antone other then the north end river end and south dam area.  He says we got the bit wired on spinnerbaits in Harris arm.

Harris arm is near the launch ramp and sounded good to me. 

Everyone takes off up and down the lake leaving Harris arm alone! Perfect we race onto the Harris and it’s a forest to standing trees. I see 2 cows standing in the middle of the arm and I’am WOT! Shut it down immediately. Ask where is the spinnerbait bite? Answer his partner scouted it out.

Put the TM down and move out to the end on the point the cows are a standing on. The channel drop off 30’ with a few trees on the end. We won that tourney at that spot.

Tom

 

 

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