EDIT: LAKE TRAVIS IS OPEN AS OF NOVEMBER 6, 2018
When you see images like this, if you're like me you wonder where the fish go! Some folks tend to think floods kill off fish or wash them downstream. While yes some fish can get moved from one body of water to another, this is really not the case. Fish are good about finding areas out of the current, eddies, current breaks, and coves protected from strong flows give protection to these fish to ride out the flood.
I expect the fishing to be great this fall and PHENOMENAL this Spring! I literally can't tell you how excited I am for Spring. Why is that? Well the increased water levels have flooded all kinds of new brush that will make great habitat for the bass to live in.
Bass are territorial and orient to structure, so when a new tree or bush is submerged it is natural for them to move up and check it out. Sometimes they even make a home out of it. In the case of Lake Travis, we have been low for quite some time, giving the lake ample time to grow new foliage and shoreline vegetation.
During the spring the water should remain high and the bass will have all kinds of places to spawn and for their fry to hide once they hatch. Mortality rates also decline when fish fry have more places to hide from predators. This is great for the long term health of the lake.
Additionally flooded foliage and plant matter will start to decompose when the lake fills back up, spiking the food chain within the lake. All this organic matter is food for mico organisms and invertebrates which in turn are food for species bass feed on such as crawfish, minnows, perch, and shad.
In the coming weeks I would focus on flipping and pitching thick bushes, throwing a buzzbait or frog around flooded brush, and throwing a weedless swimbait around any new cover you find. It will create a transition from a deep to a shallow bite. Pay close attention to the water clarity too. Travis tends to be very clear, which typically dicates natural colors like greens, shad patterns, purples or baits that are more translucent. With all this new water you will likely find more stained water, in this case I would throw more browns, watermelons, and black and blue baits. So if you like to pound the shoreline, this is your chance to catch a big one and a lot of them!
Run off from the creeks will continue even after the lake is reopened and dropped back to full pool. Look for moving water, even if its just a small creek. You will often find bass attracted to this since it has the possibility of washing food into the lake for them to feed on.
I will be out of town this weekend for a wedding, but the lake is currently closed to ALL boat traffic for the time being... perfect time to leave. haha But I expect by next week the lake should be back to normal and the flood waters receding. If you are looking for a fishing guide here in Austin, I specialize in Lake Travis, Lake LBJ, and Lake Bastrop. Give me a shout and lets get you on some nice fish!!!
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