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Dustin Lester 


If there is anything that I have learned while fishing in Oklahoma there is only one constant; that is change. In this monthly article I will be discussing all the different types of changes that we all have to deal with on a daily basis and some hints or tactics that have helped me locate and catch bass.  Whether it is the ever changing lake levels, changing of the water temps, fishing pressure from all of the tournaments, water clarity, or just the normal changing of the seasons I will explain what tips and tactics have helped me adjust and catch fish.  


By Dustin Lester

Bodies of water where bass live hardly remain at constant levels throughout the year. Rising water impacts bass location and behavior. As a result, many anglers have trouble finding and catching bass during these conditions. In the course of extreme rising water levels, here are some tips that have helped me catch fish at these difficult times.

High water is usually caused by long periods of heavy rain, and is a condition most commonly encountered during spring months. It frequently occurs in a reservoir system when water is held back by a downstream dam. Increased current is common during high water, as a result of runoff draining into a lake. Even in a clear lake, the water can turn murky to downright muddy in a hurry during flood conditions. A dramatic temperature shift can also occur, often overnight, which adds one more obstacle you will have to get through. I grew up fishing Oologah Lake with my dad, and still fish it at least once a week. The Northeastern Oklahoma Lake was built strictly for flood control, and in the Spring time it is almost always 3’ to 5’ above normal if not more. It is always muddy in these spring time conditions and the water temperature is always fluctuating.

The first thing I think of when fishing high water is the basics that I have learned from past trips (a) bass are cold-blooded, (b) bass are mainly sight feeders, (c) bass tend to avoid current, (d) and bass are opportunistic predators. These traits will dictate the fish’s location in high water conditions. In the spring , bass tend to seek out the warmest water they can find, which will often be in newly flooded areas of the lake. Since high water is often murky to muddy, many bass will move shallower, sometimes less than a foot deep to maximize their visibility. Bass will stick tight to current-breaking objects or the bank. And many bass will move into the back ends of tributaries and coves, and into newly flooded fields and forests, where baitfish, insects and crawfish are abundant.

Big, bulky, noisy lures have always scored me more strikes than smaller, more realistic lures; bass in low visibility conditions will more easily detect them. I always try and use something in a high water environment that is capable of bumping off solid objects, such as rocks and stumps, without hanging up. My High water favorites are very simple and basic they include a 1/2oz. Weedless Terminator jig black /blue jig with a bulky Gene Larew black/blue diamond chunk trailer; a 1/2oz. Red River spinnerbait white with a single gold Colorado blade. I also throw a 3/4oz lipless crankbait in bone color. Fish all of these baits as tight to cover or the bank as possible, the strike zone may shrink dramatically in high or muddy water.

In conclusion during high water times it came be feast or famine, but just keep your cool, keep working hard and following some of these tips that have worked for me and you very well could be driving home with a fat check or just an awesome day of bass fishing.