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Where did the fish go?

Where did the fish go? Where did the fish go?
By Jim Reaneau

I get many request from emails on, What happened to my fishing hole. Some from out of state and many from the Texas area and a lot around the Lake Fork area. When a lake first fills up cover is abundant. The trees, bushes, and grass will hold fish for quite a while. This cover will last for a while. The grass is the first to die. Then the small bushes along fence rows and road beds will start to decay. The bigger brush will hold it branches for three or four years and then the small limbs will start to fall off. The bigger limbs and tree trunk will last the longest. When the lake starts to fill the fish will get into the new flooded growth. The trees will have leaves that will be under water and provide super cover. This is a fish heaven. I remember when Lake Livingston first flooded and the timber was so thick in the what we called the jungle you could get lost if you didn’t keep up with where you went into the woods. But we would take rods and not cast but just drop a worm or jig down by trees and into brush tops and shake it. This also was happening to lake Fork as it filled. The difference was they raised Lake Fork In three stages. This was great as ever few years there was water flooding new growth. The boat lanes were clear cut but after several years they had new growth in them. You could pull up to any tree and drop a minnow and a crappie would get on your hook.

Now what does all this mean to the fisher man. Think about what I am saying. The lake is now twenty four years old. Yes there are still plenty of trees standing but because the small branches and limbs have fallen and all that is left is the tree trunk. This looks like a telephone pole. There is nothing to hold the fish. Now for the fisherman. I have mentioned many time about putting out brush. This is and old tournament trick. You don’t have to cut a whole tree and drag it out to your favorite spot. All you need is just a good size limb, and every time you go out take a limb with you and keep adding to each spot. Willow trees are very good but will only lake two to three years. Oak will lake longer. The Christmas trees that are so popular may not be the best choice. If you have ever decorated a tree remember trying to plug in the lights in the middle if the tree. The branches were so tight you couldn’t hardly get your hand inside. With this being the case how will the fish get in. They will use them later after the thin branches fall off. Talk to a crappie fisherman and he will tell you he keeps his brush piles fresh. This will keep his crappie hole productive. Why don’t bass fishermen take heed. This will work for the bass as well. Think about all the spots you fish and the fish quit biting or holding in the area. This is probably because the structure has fallen away. As a guide It is hard to brush anything because the fishermen we take out will return to the spot and other fishermen will use them and soon you can’t get on them. I have brushed up areas only to have this happen. But a local fisherman you can brush up and area and only use it when the crowds are lite. Creek channels have bends and they are good areas to brush up. Old fence rows, pond dams, humps, and road beds are great areas to place brush. Don’t put these brush piles in areas that have a lot of traffic. Get some out of way spots. Remember some brush you put out may not hold fish. You will have to do a trail and error. Some of your hard work may not produce. Keep records and then this will help you to know where to place brush. The more piles you have the better fishing trip you will have. Just like fishing any where some days the fish will bite on certain piles and not on others. What I do is fill coffee cans with cement and push a coat hanger into the soft cement making a loop. This is what I tie to. Cinder blocks are good but are expensive. The wire in the cans will rust after a while but by then the brush is there to stay. I have used one gallon milk jugs and cut a hole in the top side leaving the handle, this gives you another tie area. One bag of ready mix makes up seven one gallon jugs. The weight is more than a cinder block and a whole lot cheaper. If you wash off the jugs when you get through filling them then they wont scratch up your boat as you take out your piles. When I first started this article I mentioned tournament fishing. When tournaments show up at a lake most fishermen go to a local hole and when they get there someone is already there. This is why I mentioned making piles. You can brush and area just for you and your tournament fishing times. Next marking your spots is another thought. With the GPS age this is a good way to mark the spot. I use line up areas with structure on the banks and out in the lake but I have lost some spots when the tree in the lake fell and could not find the spot.

With the Mc Donald tournament approaching this is a time to get out and start your piles. Make you several areas so you can move around if the fish aren’t biting one area. The key is to keep adding to this area so it will keep fish around it. .

Look at the ocean, they use old ships and other things to make structure.

So when you aren’t catching fish think about this.

Jim Reaneau

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