Lake Travis Fishing Report - September 2022
During the heat of summer I find there is usually a short period of time when Lake Travis fishes tough. Not that you can’t catch them, but you have to work hard for them. A good indication of this is if you follow my Instagram account and see me posting a lot of photos from my trips at Lake Decker! Haha
If you follow me on social media you probably have noticed that has not been the case the last couple of weeks, I have been on Lake Travis a ton! The fishing out there has been consistently good and we haven’t even had a solid cold front to cool things off. The topwater bite in the morning has been a lot of fun. Crankbaits fished in the same places I fish the topwater plugs have also been very productive.
Right now we are in the early stages of what anglers refer to as the “fall transition”. This is the time of year when the water temps start dropping from their summertime highs and some fish start moving up more shallow. One thing I always remind clients is that not every fish in the lake bee lines it for the bank. Fishing deep will still be productive and a consistent way to catch bass on those days when its bluebird skies with little wind. I know we’ve already passed up the “first official day of fall”, but keep in mind this is Central Texas. Our weather has a tendency to stay hot for a while longer, so the true “fall fishing” bite is a few weeks out. Let me break down the bite I have been on in two ways, fishing shallow and fishing deep.
Huge Lake Travis Largemouth Bass
Early in the mornings and late in the evenings there has been a solid topwater bite. Honestly I have been throwing a little bit of everything as far as baits, but a chrome pop-r and a whopper plopper in a shad color has been consistently getting bit. One key to to the topwater bite is finding the right kinds of banks. Avoid bluff walls and steep banks, you will have more consistent success on the more gradual sloping banks. The big difference between a productive bank, and one that will only produce a few bites is structure. Bass are ambush predators and want to be around cover. Look for more gradual banks that have rock, stumps, brush, or grass on them… the more of these things the better. As the lake level gets low on Lake Travis there are a lot of places that set up well at first glance, and on a map look fishy. But upon further inspection they are mostly sand and gravel, these areas generally don’t hold too many fish.
Largemouth bass choked on a crankbait!
Weather plays a big part of how fish behave and what baits will work better to catch them. Once the sun has come out and it starts to warm up the bass tend to back off the bank and move a little deeper. Now on those overcast or stormy days this will change, but lately the weather has been pretty stable. When it's like this, backing off the shoreline and picking up a crankbait can produce really well. I alternate between a squarebill and a medium diving crankbait. I switch between them depending on the depth of the bank I am fishing. There is also a type of grass called “chara” that grows up shallow, it’s an annoying stringy grass that doesn’t help attract fish but rather fouls up your hooks more than anything. Sometimes you come across areas where there is a lot of it on the bottom, this is when I will switch to a shallow diving crank such as a squarebill in order to avoid it. Stick to shad pattern baits until the water temps get down into the 70’s, then start throwing some crawfish colors.
Lake Travis Bass caught on a topwater lure
As I mentioned early in this report, there are still plenty of fish living out deep. I have caught fish from 10 feet all the way down to 35 feet. With that said, focusing on the 10-20 foot depth range has been the most productive. Areas of structure such as rock piles, small ledges, or grass not far from the shallow areas I described early, will hold fish. A good ol’ Texas Rig has been working great lately. A green pumpkin Zoom baby brush hog is an excellent choice right now. One tip though, if you are fishing on the upper end of the lake where the water is a bit more stained, consider adding some chartreuse dye to the tail of your bait. I find that little bit of colors makes it stand out and get a few more bites. Whatever bait you are throwing, slow way down with it and keep it in contact with the bottom. Until the water temps drop a considerable amount, a slow presentation with your soft plastics will work best.
Coves with creek channel bends, or banks with rocky veins and drop offs will be a good place to start your search for bass. While it’s still early in the fall, spend most of your time at the mouth of the coves all the way to about half way back. Until it gets a lot cooler I will not bother fishing any further back than half way into the coves. Finesse jigs, shakey heads and drop shots are also baits I will have tied on this time of year, especially on those days the fish are being a bit finicky and want something small and slow moving presented to them.
Lake Travis bass caught on a brush hog
The fishing is good now, but the best fishing of the year is still ahead of us! As soon as a couple cold fronts roll through and you see the water temps drop several more degrees the fish will get moving! Fall fishing is a blast, not only can you catch them on a variety of patterns but I typically see high numbers and a larger average size fish. Spring is my busiest time of year, but October/ November is a close second. If you do not have a flexible schedule and have a particular date in mind that you would like to get out on the water, consider booking now, the further in advance the better!
Austin, TX Fishing Guide
If you have a boat and fish Lake Travis on your own, consider checking out my Honey Hole Reports. These are paid reports that I update every Thursday at 6PM and include 5+ EXACT locations on the lake where I am catching fish with my clients. These reports give you all the info on what baits I’m throwing, colors to use, conditions to look for etc.