During the winter finding fish can be difficult and getting them to bite can be even tougher. In this article I am going to go over a cove on Lake Travis and break it down into 6 areas I would look at if I were on the lake fishing. When scouting for guided trips or practicing for a tournament, a topographical map of the lake is invaluable. Lake Master and Navionics are two of the most popular map chips you can purchase and upload to your graph and are very helpful when looking for new fishing spots.
This is a cove on Lake Travis that has a well defined creek channel. On Travis this is actually somewhat uncommon. Lake Travis is made up by the impounded Colorado River and lots of flooded canyons. This equates to a very deep lake in most areas and coves that the bottom shape forms a "V". The middle of these kind of coves can often be over 100 feet deep, which is not ideal for finding bass. I find that in coves such as the one pictured above, the well defined creek channel makes for more predictable spots that hold bass.
In this article I will discuss the top 6 places on this map I would look for bass during the wintertime, what baits I would pick, and how I would fish it.
#1- Creek Channel Bend
During the winter bass tend to move deep, however during feeding windows brought on by weather, barometric pressure, temperature, and wind, you will find that bass will move shallow to feed. This spot is as far back into the cove as I would bother looking. Venturing all the way to the back of this cove would be a waste of time during the winter.
As indicated by the close together contour lines, there is a steep drop off here. During a warming trend after cold weather I wold expect bass to move up relatively shallow in this area where the channel makes a bend. Since there are docks in this area I would also expect to find most of the fish up tight to the docks.
A flipping jig and a dropshot would be good baits to pick apart the docks here. A Texas rigged craw or Senko would be a good bait choice to fish down into the channel and target fish holding deeper.
#2- Outward Facing Creek Channel Bend
This part of the creek channel is another that I would look at if I was making my way back into this creek. Before fishing it I would graph it and look for any signs of life. Personally I would expect pin #3 to hold more fish, but this spot would definitely be worth a look.
A deep crankbait would be an ideal search bait to start with. Chose a model that will get down to almost the depth at the base of the channel drop off. You want to grind the bottom and cause a lot of commotion to draw a reaction bite. If you do get bit here slow down. A Carolina Rig or a football jig would be a good way to fish slow and deep and work the spot thoroughly.
#3- Ledge/ Channel Bend
This part of the creek channel forms not only a bend, but also a ledge. As indicated by the tight contour lines, there is a steep drop off here. I love spots like this because the fish don't have to move far if they want to position themselves shallow to feed. Lethargic bass that are sitting down in the creek channel will move to the top of this ledge and use it as an ambush point to hunt for prey like bluegill, shad, crawfish, and other species of fin bait.
An area like this is a prime spot to fish fast and cover water. The two baits I would throw here would be a Storm Wiggle Wart crankbait or a Keitech swimbait on an underspin. The Wiggle Wart is a great cold water crankbait and works well around ledges like this. Start by making long casts to the top of the ledge and working it into deeper water. Lots of stops and starts with the bait will help trigger bites. A Keitech swimbait rigged on a 3/8th ounce underspin is another bait I like to throw when I am trying to cover water and am casting up shallow but letting the bait get down deep. Once you have retrieved the bait far enough back to the boat to get out over the drop off, take your reel out of gear and feed it line. Let the bait sink out several feet and start your retrieve again. I would fish this way all along where I highlighted with the red line.
#4- Tapered Point in the Creek Channel
I included this spot to actually tell you a place I probably would not fish. At first glance this point extending out into the middle of the cove looks pretty enticing. However, from my experience guiding on Lake Travis, slowly tapered points like this general don't hold a lot of fish. The topography of Lake Travis is mostly rock, and areas like this are made up of small chunk rock and gravel. Unless someone sank a brush pile here or a sailboat sank, there isn't really a lot of structure for bass to hold to. It would be more likely for fish in this area to move up under the nearby marina rather than staying out off this small point. You may catch a transitory fish here as they move in or out of the cove, but without a steeper drop off I wouldn't expect to hammer them here. With that said, I would absolutely make a pass over it with my electronics on my way back into this cove. Only if you see fish on your graph is it worth your time to make a few casts.
#5- Ledge Near Creek Channel
This spot sets up very similar to spot #3, however it is a lot deeper here. With the lake being low, the water level is actually quite a bit lower than what is indicated on the map. This spot is one