When water temperature hits mid-50s, bass start to put on their feed bags
Fisherman Andre Oliver of Eunice knows where he’ll spend a lot of time targeting bass in February.
Oliver trailers his boat to Indian Creek Reservoir, a few miles southeast of Woodworth in Rapides Parish. He has been visiting the 2,250-acre lake since he started bass fishing 15 years ago; his first trip was the day after Christmas.
When the prespawn gets going, the bass fishing can be good to great, he has learned. Past February outings have netted him plenty of 4- and 5-pound bass, as well as a healthy number of 6-pounders to keep him coming back for more.
“The only other lakes that I have fished that would be just as good at this time would be Toledo Bend or Kincaid,” he said. “In February they start moving up on the grass, moving from the creek channels to the flats and on the secondary points.”
The transition coincides with longer days and warmer water, he said. The sooner the water warms, so it is consistently in the mid-50s, the sooner the prespawn bite should be on. A few 70-degree days help.
“Get those 70-degree days and a little bit of cloud cover, and you can smoke ’em,” Oliver said, adding the most ideal times are during the warm spells or three days after a cold front.
What to throw
Much of the time, all he needs to tattoo the lake’s bass is either a Luck-E-Strike Rick Clunn STX jerkbait or a Rayburn red Rat-L-Trap. With the jerkbait, which works 4 to 8 feet deep, he prefers the golden shiner color when it’s cloudy or shad (silver/black) color when it’s sunny.
Of course, Oliver has some choice backup baits, such as a green pumpkin/purple or smokin’ shad Zydeco Shad. He also relies on a Carolina-rigged finesse worm or Zydeco Shad, or a ½-ounce watermelon/candy Funkbuster football jig with a blue crab Crackin’ Craw.
Indian Creek’s water clarity most of the time is 2 to 4 feet. The key during prespawn is to fish grassy flats.
“In February, the best grass comes up from the bottom 2 feet. You don’t want it too high, and very little won’t do you any good,” Oliver said.
The jerkbait bite usually happens in early February, followed by the Rat-L-Trap bite. Rip that lipless crankbait through the grass and hang on for the hit, he said.
“When they’re on, between those two baits, you don’t have to throw anything else,” he said. “It’s fun, too. You can catch some really solid fish.”
Fishing pressure is usually pretty low in February. Beginning in March, he said, fishing for bass on their beds can be awesome.
Some historically red-hot areas include The Hatchery, a creek that ends near the Booker Fowler Fish Hatchery, the Twin Boat Lanes areas under the two bridges, and main-lake points south of the dam, he said.
Oliver cautioned boaters that there is standing timber on the extreme upper and lower ends, and they must use the boat lanes to navigate safely. Otherwise, the lake is open for the most part, he said.
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