Fall Bass Fishing on Lake Travis: What To Expect with Fall Finally Here!
Fall fishing is here! I always tell clients Spring and Fall are my favorite times of year for bass fishing in Central Texas. The weather is cooler, the water isn't super hot and the fish get hungry feeding up before winter. I love fishing fast and throwing moving baits when I can.
Lake Travis may not be known for giant bass, but it does have some really healthy fish in it. Just in the last week prior to writing this I've caught two five and a half pounders. Clients often ask what I do to try and target bigger fish when fishing tournaments. On Lake Travis I find the really big fish live in the same places as the little ones. I think of it as a numbers game when fishing, if I catch enough fish I will eventually hook into a big one. Of course there is more to this, but covering lots of water is one way I believe you can eventually catch a big bass. Throwing moving baits like crankbaits, swimbaits, or topwater plugs gives me the confidence to do just that. More casts equals more fish! Certain times of year, such as the middle of summer, require you to slow down. Right now during the fall that is not the case!
If you read my reports regularly you know that I love learning about the ecosystem in the lake outside of just largemouth bass behavior. I believe understanding how the lake changes throughout the year and what the baitfish do is a key to predicting how the bass will behave. I break fall up into two periods, early fall and late fall. Early fall the bass are focused on eating as many threadfin shad as possible, come late fall when the water has gotten cold the bass switch over partially and focus efforts on eating crawfish. This is not to say they stop eating shad, but the crawfish do become a larger part of their diet. Why is this?
During the early part of fall when the days get shorter and we start to experience our first cold fronts the surface temperature on the lake starts to finally cool back down. The phytoplankton in the lake blooms more abundantly in warm water, as a result it blooms best in the backs of coves where the water stays warmer longer than the main lake. The shad make a migration up into the coves and arms of the lake in order to keep feeding for as long as they can. This causes a domino effect where your predator species like largemouth bass start to make the same migration in order to feed on the shad. Understanding this behavior helps me predict where to look for the bass and what baits to throw.
During this time of year I will have several baits on deck at all time and rotate between them as I fish. Topwater baits like a spook or pop-r are excellent baits to throw early in the morning during low light conditions, but even all day, especially if there is some cloud cover. Crankbaits in shad patterns are another staple of my arsenal. I throw a lot of squarebills as early in the fall there is usually quite a bit of grass along the edge of the lake's shorelines, this shallow diving crankbait stays above it, imitates a baitfish perfectly, and allows me to cover a lot of water quickly. When fishing this way play around with colors, I always stick to something that resembles a bait fish, but I will change up colors depending on the conditions. Baits that are white, silver, or pearl are usually good to start with. For example, right now the upper end of the lake is pretty staines, chartreuse sexy shad has been working very well since that yellow color in the bait stands out well. Other baits like swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and flukes are also baits I will play around with. When fishing this time of year you can count on the fish to eat something that resembles a bait fish, so once you figure out a pattern with what particular bait they are preferring, run with it!
Once it has gotten cold and we are getting into the end of fall the shad move back out to the main lake and move deeper. They want stable water temperatures. Shad are very delicate creatures and big swings in lake temp can harm them, hence why they make this move back out deep. While the bass will still eat shad when they can, crawfish are another readily available source of food for them. With all the rock on Lake Travis, there is an abundance of little crawfish. For the most part I find they are light brown with some orange and red in their shells. Once late fall gets here I switch the baits I am throwing, especially the colors. Crankbaits will still be a staple of mine, but this is when the red, orange, and brown crankbaits come out. A storm wiggle wart is a personal favorite of mine during the cooler months. Jigs, Texas Rigged craws, and chatterbaits can also produce very well.
As of writing this report, this pattern is still several weeks out. Current water temps are in the mid 70's, so not too cold. Honestly, the bite has been very good lately and I expect it to only get better. Once winter arrives and it gets cold again with water temps in to 50's the bite will slow. You can still catch them, its just not the easy fishing it is now.
Fishing Spots on Lake Travis
I fish approximately 300 days a year, of those probably 200 are spend on Lake Travis. It is my home lake and I know it like the back of my hand. Admittedly I have a huge advantage over the average angler who only gets to fish on the weekend or maybe one day after work. When I used to work in real estate I remember wishing I was "in the know" like some other fishing guides and was jealous how much they go to fish. It can be tough being dialed in on the pattern if you haven't been to the lake in ages.
I have the solution for that! I offer a paid fishing report that I update weekly on Thursdays at 6:00PM. These "Honey Hole Reports" will give you 5+ exact spots that can be opened in Google Earth showing you exactly where I am catching fish. These reports also include a written description and a video I record for each report breaking down the baits and colors I'm throwing. I also cover conditions to look for, wind direction to pay attention to, how to position your boat, etc. These are NOT community holes, these are spots I am fishing that week with paid clients. I love teaching people to fish and am not one of those guides who are secretive about everything I do. For $14.99 my Honey Hole Reports will get you dialed in on the patterns that are working and prevent you from fishing a bunch of dead water! Save yourself a bunch of wasted time and burnt fuel trying to figure out where the fish went and try one of my reports today!
If you are looking for a fishing guide in Austin, TX look no further! I guide full time and offer all inclusive trips on Lake Travis and Lake Decker! Give me a call or book online today!