As many of you know the LCRA finally opened Lake LBJ back up to recreational boating last weekend. Today I finally got the chance to drive out to Marble Falls and see what the lake was like and see how the condition are. Sadly I must say the lake took a beating... I do think it will recover a lot quicker than I imagined, but it isn't its former self.
In my professional opinion I would classify the water as "doo doo brown". The water looks like mud, I have never seen it so stained. There are also hazards all over the lake. I mean it, keep your eyes glued to the water line and I seriously wouldn't recommend running fast on that lake at night. There are full size trees in areas of the lake that used to be perfectly safe. Any of the shallow hazard areas have logs and timber washed up. What was scariest was a point in about 20 feet of water with a large tree stuck to the bottom that would be super easy to run into if you weren't paying attention.
There were docks washed up in places they don't belong. I even found a sunken speed boat still in the water with its bow sticking up. There is also plenty of tiny floating debris in the water... it wouldn't pose much of an issue to your hull, but keep in mind sucking it up your lower water pick up on your outboard engine.
There are some goods and bads though... some areas of grass are just fine. A few I checked on had plenty of grass and should recover well. Other areas I know of seemed to be washed away and may take a little more time to regrow next spring. Another thing I noticed, which I could be mistaken, but there was an area of the lake in a hazard area which I am very familiar with. I ran aground and hit my lower unit skeg on the bottom there. I realize its shallow there but I have never done that before and I was driving right over a way point. I think the sediment built up there another foot or two.
I never ran further than Applehead Island, so I can not speak for the upper end, but I have heard its even worse. If you have fished up that way let me know how you did and what the condition are like! Another local guide told me there are new sandbars up there to keep an eye out for.
But what you really want to know... how was the fishing! Well I won't lie to y'all, the fishing sucked. It was a blue bird sky day and the water looks like crap, but excuses are like... well you know the saying. I had a couple of bites off mid depth points, and caught a couple under docks. I didn't find any type of pattern and didn't even bother taking photos of any of the fish.
What would I recommend... go to Lake Travis! haha I joke, LBJ will be fine and I'll be back out there soon. If you must go out there I would of course throw a Senko, LBJ bass love stick baits. Try a darker color like a dark brown, with that nasty water I recommend dipping the tail in some chartreuse Spike It. A light football jig or flipping jig for under the docks would also be good. I did have some success going more finesse with a Zoom trick work Neko rigged with a 1/32 oz Tungsten nail weight in the tail. The slow fall is key, but its just heavy enough to still work fast and you can still skip the bait.
The water around Horseshoe bay was between 59- 61.4 degrees today (The higher temp was around 3pm so it had warmed up a bit), so keep that in mind too when choosing baits or presentation styles.
Get out there and graph around! I ended up finding a few more brush piles and I found one of my favorite piles had been moved about 50 feet away... goes to show the power of those flood waters even down deep!
It'll be interesting to see how the lake recovers after the draw down this winter as well as to see how much of the new timber in the lake is removed. You can count on the LCRA removing any sunken trees that are navigable hazards, but I'm sure plenty of other stuff has sunk to the bottom that will end up being a new home to some big bass!
I have a guide trip tomorrow morning, so check back here Wednesday evening for another report on Lake Travis! Travis is still fishing good despite the recent cold weather. If you have an itch to go fishing give me a shout... this time of year I'm practically the only one on the lake with the exception of maybe a couple other anglers and fishing guides. Seems like those wakeboard yuppies from Austin don't like the cold water. I have openings this weekend and next week, so have a great Thanksgiving and then get back to fishing!