How To Catch Largemouth Bass on Lake Travis During the Fall
Fall fishing is very much here! The cooler evenings have dropped the water temps to the low 70's. It was 71 degrees across most of the lake this past week, but expect that to keep slowly going down as we get further into fall. This past week I have fished both the upper and lower end of Lake Travis.
For those of you new to Lake Travis, the lake is around 65 miles long. One thing I love about the lake is how different it feels fishing the lower end of the lake close to the dam, versus the upper end out in the Lago Vista/ Spicewood/ Marble Falls area. The lower end of the lake feels more like just that... a lake. The upper end of Lake Travis feels more like fishing a river. It is more narrow, has smaller coves and creek arms, and the water is more stained. The Pedernales River forks off of the Colorado River at mile marker 37 and winds its way southwest. When the lake is low like it is now you can't drive very far up the Pedernales, it becomes more of a creek. Nonetheless, the runoff it produces tends to make the lake more stained, also the bottom up river has more mud and dirt, whereas the lower end of the lake is more limestone, rock, and sand. Due to the changes in bottom composition the lower end of Lake Travis can get very clear. Currently water clarity throughout the lake is a bit stained, the lower end by Mansfield Dam is still quite clear, but not by our usual standards.
With these current water temperatures the moving bait bite has been very good. On days when we get some cloud cover and especially wind you can catch a lot of fish throwing crankbaits, swimbaits, and Alabama rigs. My biggest tip for you right now is to find rock! Sounds dumb right? I mean isn't Lake Travis made up mostly of rock... yes and no. When fishing the shoreline pay attention to the angle of the bank and what the bank is made up of. More shallow sloping banks are what I recommend you focus your time fishing right now. In addition to this, avoid the banks that are made up of just sand and gravel... with one exception. Banks that are just sand and gravel tend to hold very few bass. Largemouth bass want to be around cover and structure, featureless bottoms like I'm describing don't give them this. The exception though is if the bank has things like stumps, concrete anchor blocks (for docks/ marinas), grass, or brush. This stuff will attract them really well! When fishing though I am always looking for the banks made up of rock as the bass like hard bottoms, plus all this rock attracts other species like sunfish, bluegills, crawfish, various species of minnows, and sometimes shad.
Check out the photo above of my client Brenda holding up a nice bass! Also check out the background, notice how the bank is all rock? Its the same underwater... this is what I am referring to, so look for this type of bank! Wind direction and depth along the bank is also important. I look for banks where there isn't a super steep drop off, but I do want to find deep water (15+ feet) fairly close by.
Now that you know where to start your search let's talk about what bait to throw. Without going super in depth (if you want that level of info consider purchasing one of my Honey Hole Reports) I recommend having a variety of crankbaits in different diving depths as well as a swimbait tied on. Early in the fall I focus heavily on shad patterns, baits with gray, silver, and chartreuse in them work well. Once the water gets into the 60's I start throwing more crawfish pattern baits, so baits with red, orange, and brown will be good. Let this info be of help when selecting what colors of crankbaits to throw.
Choose a bait according to the depth of the bank you are fishing. Often times I will have a squarebill crankbait and a medium diving crankbait tied on ready to go and simply alternate rods as I move along the bank and change from shallow to deep water or vice versa. You want a bait that gets close to the bottom and even digs into the bottom. In some areas of the lake right now there is a lot of grass growing along the bottom. In these areas I select a bait that will stay above it and avoid fouling up the hooks.
I also mentioned swimbaits and Alabama Rigs. Both of these lures can be very effective this time of year. Small 3-4 inch swimbaits or Alabama rigs rigged with the same swimbaits are a staple of mine on Lake Travis this time of year. When there is wind I like o throw these baits, especially the A rig. Wind breaks up light penetration through the water and causes it to refract making it a little more difficult for the bass to get a good look at your bait. They can still find your lure, but I find it makes them a little less discerning and more likely to attach a fast flashy moving bait like an Umbrella Rig. There are days fishing Lake Travis that you can put on a clinic fishing an Alabama Rig in the wind!
The bass fishing on Lake Travis will stay good if not get a little bite better for the next month. Here in Central Texas we are fortunate it never gets super cold, so the water temps rarely get any lower than the mid 50's. Until the water temps dip below 60 degrees the patterns I discussed above will be good.
Baits like jigs, dropshots, and Texas rigged craws can also be productive on days when the fish refuse to chase moving baits. Target the same areas discussed above, just a little further off the bank. Days with no wind, high barometric pressure and sunny skies will make fish move a little deeper and hold tight to cover. While I prefer throwing moving baits, sometimes slowing down will do the trick. Stick to natural colors like Green Pumpkin and Watermelon. There are several other really good different colors I have found to work when scouting recently, but those I will only tell you in my Honey Hole reports! haha
I put a lot of work into these free reports and love sharing info, however I don't share ALL my secrets! haha However, I hold nothing back in my Honey Hole Reports. These are paid fishing reports I update every single week at 6:00PM on Thursdays. You will never be getting old out date information. Each report contains 5+ EXACT spots on the map showing you where I am catching fish with my paid clients. I also break down each spot with info on what baits to throw, colors to pick, conditions to look for, how to position your boat, what time of day to fish it, etc. I put a lot of effort into these reports and pride myself on the info contained in them. If you purchase a report and don't think it was worth your hard earned money I will refund you no questions asked!
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If you are looking for a fishing guide in Austin, TX, especially on Lake Travis give me a call or feel free to book online, I would love to get you out on the water!