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GREAT SPRING FISHING IN THE BRAZOS BASIN

Spring provides a great opportunity for anglers to catch many fish and possibly haul in that illusive trophy catch.

Many anglers that only fish a few days each year hit the water at this time of year to take advantage of the fabulous white bass, or sand bass, runs that Texas lakes and rivers have to offer.

White bass annually migrate from the deeper reservoirs many miles into the feeder rivers and creeks to spawn. Anglers, on foot or by boat, typically find these white bass easy to catch in large numbers.

White bass are pelagic fish, meaning they live in open water, and like most pelagic fish, prefer feeding on shad and minnows. Use lures that mimic small shad or use live minnows and you will likely have success.

In the Brazos River basin, the Navasota River above Lake Limestone and the various Bosque River tributaries that feed Lake Waco provide great spring white bass fishing opportunities.

The larger cousin of the white bass, the striped bass, or stripers, can also provide for exciting fishing. Many anglers find stripers feeding on large shad only a few feet under the surface as they also make there annual runs into rivers and creeks.

Anglers can use large topwater lures near the mouths of creeks and rivers to catch these giant game fish. It is not uncommon in Texas to catch spring stripers approaching 20 pounds. Lake Whitney provides excellent striper action in the Brazos River basin and no time is better to catch these fish than now.

White perch, or crappie, also make a move to the shallows in the spring. As water temperatures begin to approach 65 degrees, crappie will move into very shallow water to lay eggs. These fish that typically occupy deep habitat can easily be caught during the spring in less than five feet of water with small marabou jigs or grubs. Anglers should concentrate on structures in the water such as trees, large rocks, boat docks or concrete bridge pilings to find spring crappie. Lakes Aquilla, Waco and Limestone offer anglers excellent crappie fishing year around.

Spring also brings the most sought after game fish from the depths into the shallows to spawn. The largemouth bass begins its move to shallow water in late-February and spawns in waters typically less than five feet deep when water temperatures reach 62-67 degrees. Texas anglers typically catch more trophy bass (>10 pounds) in the late-winter and early-spring than during any other time of the year.

As bass prepare to build nests and spawn, they become aggressive toward any creature that might intrude upon their sanctuary. They become especially aggressive toward crayfish and salamanders looking for a fish egg breakfast.

In the Brazos River basin, Stillhouse Reservoir produces many largemouth bass each winter and spring in the 10-pound range, a trophy anywhere in the world.

If you are planning a fishing trip this spring, make sure your fishing license is up to date. Also, if you plan to keep fish for the family fish fry, make sure to understand the size requirements and daily bag limits for each species as they can be different at each water body. You can find this information at the Texas Parks & Wildlife website by clicking here. Good fishing, be careful, and enjoy the beautiful Brazos basin.

David Collinsworth is an avid angler and the business development manager for the Central Basin at the Brazos River Authority.