Lake Travis Bass Fishing Report- September 2021
The bite on Lake Travis has been fair lately. With hot weather and warm water temperatures, its pretty typical for the bite to slow a bit. Warm water holds less dissolved oxygen and slows the metabolism of largemouth bass. This doesn't mean that they won't bite, or that you can't have a good day on the water! What it does mean though, is that you have to work a little harder for the fish. During this time of year I tend to move around a lot and run and gun. I am the type of angler who rather move to find fish that will cooperate as opposed to trying a million different baits and colors to get them to bite.
Currently Lake Travis is close to 17.5 feet low with water clarity around 8-10 feet on the lower end and 3-4 feet on the upper end. Water temps are around 84-86 degrees, however I did see it as low as 83 degrees the other day early in the morning before the sun came up. Why is that important? Well the end of September is always a transition period here on Lake Travis. This is usually the time of year when the fish start moving and the pattern changes. Those cooler evenings we've been experience are a sign of things to come and tell me that things are about to kick off! I even saw something on the weather channel about the possibility of a cold front next week! That gets me very excited. For this report let's start off with what I recommend fishing if you are getting out there this next week, then we'll talk about what I would have tied on once we start experience cooler fall weather.
End of Summer Fishing
We are on the verge of fall fishing, but are not quite there yet. Right now the water temps are still warm enough that fish are staying deep. Offshore spots such as secondary points and ledges are a prime place to look. I rely heavily on my graphs for this type of fishing. Schools of bass can still be found in these areas if you put in enough time graphing. I will look for these drop offs and bottom contours that are close to a creek channel. In the case of Lake Travis, being as deep as it is, you could be fishing a secondary point thats around 30 feet deep, but have you boat positioned in 80+ feet of water casting towards the point. Keep in mind places like this attract fish as it gives them the ability to move out to deeper water and suspend, or move up shallower if they want. Weather patterns such as small rain storms, fronts, and cloud cover can all make fish change their behavior on a whim. I keep an eye on the weather and barometric pressure a lot to help me make decisions of how to fish.
Here is a helpful website I recommend y'all check out for lake information such as lake temps and the barometer.
Downsizing baits and slowing way down with your presentation can be very effective right now. I have been throwing a lot of drop shots, ned rigs, and small paddle tail swimbaits. For the drop shot and ned rig, fish it slow and make sure you maintain that bottom contact. When the fish are close to the bottom I like these baits since I can keep them in the strike zone a long time and work them subtly to trigger bites from those more finicky fish. Early in the morning, late in the day, or when I find suspended schools of bass, I will throw a small swimbait. A 4" Keitech easy shiner in a shad color rigged on an underspin or a ball head jig retrieved very slowly has been working well. Turn your reel handle slower than you normally would to get more bites. I also like fishing these swimbaits on braid with a long fluorocarbon leader of 8 pound test. Since I am not near the bottom I can get away with the lighter line, and feel it helps get more bites. Just make sure you have your drag set loose enough! (A little tip for you, sometimes I will take scissors and cut off a 1/2 inch of the swimbait head to give it an even smaller profile.)
As far as colors of baits go, when it comes to worms I have my staple colors that I rotate through. Green Pumpkin, Watermelon black seed, Red Bug, and Margarita Mutilator are all solid choices. At times I will change things up and experiment with other colors, but start with these if you are unsure what to throw. As for moving baits such as swimbaits, choose baits that resemble threadfin shad. Anything in silver or grey works sell. I use a lot of Keitech baits and they make a ton of great colors that work well. I am not the type of angler who feels you need a certain specific color to get bit.
Fishing the Fall Transition
As the weather cools and the water temps start to drop into the low 80's and especially the upper 70's, the bite will get good! Did I say good? I meant great! Fall fishing makes guiding a blast for me. Numbers go up, average size increases, its cooler out on the water, and the stupid wakeboard boats aren't out in numbers. If you're really bored, go back through my website and look at previous year's fishing reports from October and November and you'll see what I mean.
During the fall there are two main patterns I focus on. Bluff walls, and shallow sloped rocky banks with nearby drop offs. I will break down both.
During the fall, typically around the second cold front of the year, I notice an influx of bass moving up to the bluff walls to feed. These steep rocky shorelines hold a lot of crawfish and sunfish that the bass are looking to feed up on. I catch fish here during the summer too, but something I notice is that the fish tend to be shallower during the fall. Do keep in mind that "shallow" is a relative term on Lake Travis. I consider 15 feet shallow out here. haha You will find fish all the way up on the bank in a few feed of water and down to about 25 feet deep. Drop shots and jigs are probably the two most used baits I throw this time of year. There are plenty of other baits you can throw but a drop shot will produce good numbers, and a jig will catch big ones!
When deciding which bluff walls to fish, I usually target ones close to the mouth of a large cove. These will be areas fish start to move up to as they prepare to move back inside the coves as it gets colder. From the tip of the point down about 300 yards along the bluff is my preferred area to start. Another thing that changes about how I fish this time of year is that I speed up my presentation with the drop shot. During the summer I emphasize on slow subtle movements of the worm, not so much in October and November. Don't give your worm a seizure by any means, but you can feel free to move it a bit faster and cover more water.
Shallow Sloping Banks
I love fishing these types of banks with a medium diving crankbait. I look for shorelines that have chunk rock and small ledges or rocky veins underwater. Often times you will catch fish in 8-12 feet of water wherever you find those rock veins. These are natural places for fish to sit and ambush prey. I will throw baits like a Storm Wiggle Wart in crawfish patterns to trigger bites. Make extra long casts and cover as much water as possible. You want a crankbait that will get down deep enough to hit the rocks and kick up sand. That erratic action of your bait bumping along the bottom knocking into stuff is a great way to trigger reaction bites. I will also throw a squarebill around shallower rock and brush and fish the same way. Up river closer to the split there are some good areas like this that a squarebill works well on. If I were you I would stock up on red/orange medium diving crankbaits and squarebills now before everyone else does! I always find the colors I like are out of stock at the beginning of October since everyone goes to buy them too. During the fall the big emphasis tends to be on crawfish colored baits, but don't sleep on a good ol' shad colored crank. The bass are still feeding up on Threadfin shad, so a bait in that color can work very well to.