Hybrids and Stripers – We are in a period of transition for the Hybrids and Stripers. The pump back bite we enjoyed in the late Summer and early fall has dropped off and the night time fishing docks with lights has slowed down.
The good news is we are starting to see the gulls dive down and pick the shad (bait fish). The bait fish are abundant now and in large schools easily seen on the Lowrance HDS12 on my boat. The schools are all over the lake and I have seen the largest schools in 20 feet of water about halfway down below the surface.
The best fly set up to catch the fish that are usually just under these schools of bait is a small clouser dressed with some pink on top of the fly. This fly sinks quickly and can be used on an 8-weight rod with an intermediate or sink tip line and a 9 foot, 10 or 12 pound leader.
The “main event” for stripers and hybrids is coming soon as cooler temperatures come in. When this happens, we will fish mid lake to the dam looking for the birds. This is top water fishing and is a blast. The setup is a floating line, a 10 pound leader, and a wiggle minnow. The retrieve is a constant strip, sometimes done with the fly rod under your arm and using both hands to strip line back in.
Crappie – Oh my, it is off the charts right now. I have used both down lines pushing jigs tipped with minnows and ling lines pulling behind the boat. The latter has been the most effective. I am using 2 1/16 jigs and because these fish are so big, 8 lb test. I have been catching up to 20 in 4 hours mostly large to very large crappie. Several in the 2 pound range recently. In terms of color, a blue / chartreuse curly tail has worked best.
I love fishing this time of year, jet skis are gone, fewer boats on the water, and the bite will be good until late March.