Dissecting lowland bass fishing reservoirs

Finding bigger bass on a pressured reservoir often means finding off shore structure. This can seem like a daunting task if you are not a local to the lake. With a few little shortcuts you can be finding your own off shore honey holes in no time.

Finding bigger bass on a pressured reservoir often means finding off shore structure. This can seem like a daunting task if you are not a local to the lake. With a few little shortcuts you can be finding your own off shore honey holes in no time. I hope to give you a little knowledge that makes your task of finding that “secret spot” a much easier task.

First, while you are driving to the lake, take a good look at the topography of the land. What you see above the water is what is now under the water. Pay particular attention to the open fields. Do they have terraces? Which way do most of them run? If there are no terraces, look for the drainages in the farm fields. I have learned that in one area most of them tend to be built the same way. Look at the roads you are traveling on how are the ditches built? Seems like a lot of useless info doesn’t it? I know what you are thinking but I will attempt to explain why it is so important.

First of all the most fertile land in an area is usually what is now under water. It was more than likely where most of the farming was done before the lake was impounded. When you come to a big barren flat on a lake and are scratching your head as where the fish would be, the knowledge you gained on the way to the lake can make a world of difference. First of all if the flats you are on were steeper farm country at one time they will more than like have terraces. There are a couple of trick I have learned about fishing them. There will always be a depression on the up hill side of a terrace. This is the first place fish will move to when moving off a flat after feeding. Second is if the terraces were not properly maintained they may have spots where they are blown or washed out. This can be a fish magnet! Finding these blown out spots is much easier if you paid attention to how the other fields were terraced in the area on the way to the lake. They will usually blow out where the most water would have gathered. There are many times too when the terraces were allowed to grow brush on them, this can often be great cover on an otherwise open flat.

These same concepts apply to the drainages. They will often be placed in the same places that you were able to see when you were driving to the lake. They will often be overgrown with brush and can be the first place a bass moves when the weather changes. One last thing to remember about looking for sweet spots on flats; if the area was used as a pasture for grazing livestock, you will often see just one small group of trees in the flat somewhere, these were usually left for shade for the livestock and often you will find a small pond and damn somewhere around the trees, usually within 100 yards. This is a great spot that is often overlooked.

Road beds are another excellent place to look for sweet spots. All places on a roadbed will not hold fish but there can be a few select spots that can hold a mother lode! With roadbed fishing, most of the time I am not fishing the actual road but am fishing the ditches on the side. I will idle down the edges of a roadbed looking for deep spots and irregularities. One little trick that is good to know is that when two roads cross each other the uphill side of the intersection will have a deeper depression. Also look for places that a small drainage or creek crossed the road. A lot of times there will be brush and trash piled up on the uphill side of the drainage.

Old farmsteads and houses get fished fairly hard but there are places around them that very often get overlooked. Idle around and look for old cars, piles of fence post or old livestock pens. These are all often over looked. But my favorite piece of structure that can often be found is the trash pit that once went with the house. It will usually be within what was easy walking distance of where the house was located.

Another great place to find fish is old cemeteries. They were usually built in soft ground and had rocks and headstones brought in and will be the only hard cover in the area. Some of these old cemeteries had all the graves exhumed before flooding of the lake and left many hills and depressions in a small area that are perfect ambush habitat for bass. Many of these old cemeteries also had rock fences built around them and they can be a bass haven.

One more very underused place that you can get extremely helpful and detailed information about the area you are fishing is the U.S. Government Farm Services Agency Office for that area. They will have contour maps of every acre of land under the reservoir. Also if your reservoir was built in the last 20-30 years there is a great chance they can dig out aerial photos of the land before it was flooded. There is a huge amount of info that can be gained by contacting the local FSA.

See you on the water!


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