Walter E. Long Lake also known as Lake Decker due to the creek that feeds the lake, is a small power plant lake on the east side of Austin, TX. It is a small lake at only 1,269 surface acres, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in cover. This lake is mostly surrounded by reeds and is full of aquatic grass including hydrilla, milfoil, coontail, dollar weed, and duck weed. Fishing this lake is way different from fishing Lake Travis! With stained water, much shallower habitat and tons of grass it can be a fun change.
In this week's report we'll cover what is working with the current pre-spawn conditions of the lake. Currently water temps on the lake are 58-60 degrees with water clarify around 2 feet in most areas. During my last trip out there yesterday we actually caught 4 fish sight fishing beds. Finding bed fish can be difficult in this lake as they like to get up in the reeds and the stained water makes it hard to see. There are a few places to look though, so spend some time with those polarized glasses on!
Something that is consistent pretty much year around is fishing submergent vegetation. If you are unfamiliar with the lake, scanning the bank with side imaging sonar and you will quickly find the grass. One tip is to look for grass that grows more than just a couple feet off the reeds. Pretty much everywhere there is grass at the edge of the reeds, but the places where it grows way out can be very productive. Those bass like to get down in small patches of that grass and stack up. Its not uncommon to find one small area and pull several fish out of it! If you have livescope on your boat, finding the grass edges can be very productive. Several of the fish we caught last trip came casting baits at the edge of the grass rather than way up in it.
I recommend targeting grass and reeds at the mouth of small coves. Keep in mind there really aren't a ton of coves on Lake Decker, there's more "pockets" than anything. Look for those as the bass will go up into those and spawn. Moving back into those coves will start to get better and better as the water temps warm.
As far as baits go I like to use a chatterbait and a lipless crankbait as a search bait. Gold colored and orange colored lipless crankbaits have been the most productive. When you cast these baits out, let them sink down into the grass before you start your retrieve. Fish them with a medium to medium fast retrieve but keep your rod tip low and let the bait get caught up in the grass. Allowing it to rip free from the grass can trigger bites.
The other baits I have been throwing are dropshots and wacky rigs. I like to rig my drop shots with a small EWG hook or an Owner covershot hook, basically any hook that will let you rig it weedless. I like to use a 1/4 ounce sinker to let the worm get down into the grass, but still be able to work it through the grass. I have also been doing very well on a wacky rigged senko. Fish it slow and let it fall down into the grass. Make sure you are fishing slow! I repeat this since with weightless baits I often find clients fishing way to fast. Its super common to get bit when it's just sitting there motionless. Green pumpkin and variations of that color have been very productive.
I am definitely known as a Lake Travis fishing guide, but I know Lake Decker very well also! If you would like to try something different book a trip and request Lake Decker. (P.S. once the water gets a little warmer it'll be time for a killer frog bite!)
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