Hugh Gillis PFA: Level: Full. Temp.: 56-58 degrees. Clarity: 44 inches.
Bass: Good. Some anglers are having success with Texas-rigged plastic worms, however most fish are less than 14-inches long. Bass fishing should improve with warming temperatures, and some larger fish should start showing up soon. Last year, suspended jerkbaits (golden-shiner pattern) offered an exciting March bite.
Bream: Good. Fliers are being caught with minnows and worms. This bite should remain good until they spawn sometime in March. Some nice bluegills are being caught with red wigglers and meal worms fished on the bottom in eight to 10 feet of water. Some nice shellcrackers — 1-lb. and better— are mixed in. This bite should improve and move more shallow with warming water temps in March.
Crappie: Slow. Numbers of crappie are still on the low side, and crappie catches will be spotty at best throughout March.
Catfish: Fair. A few catfish are being caught by anglers who are fishing for bream in eight to 10 feet of water. The catfish bite will improve with warming water temps in March and April.
Marben PFA: Level: All ponds are full. Clarity: Some of the smaller ponds are slightly stained from recent heavy rains, but most ponds have visibility of 30 inches or more. Temp.: 52 degrees.
Bass: Plastic worms fished along creek channels and drop-offs are producing a few fish. They are quality size with most being in the 2- to 4-lb. range. Marben regular Gene Jenson said March is the time to catch one of the big bass that this area is known for. “Target shallow water with spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, suspending jerkbaits and jigs for buck bass, and the deeper structure close to spawning flats for the big females. On cloudy days and during low-light conditions target the largest stumps and laydowns. When the sun is out, there are typically more bass on laydowns than there are on stumps. On Fox Lake, work the outside weed lines and steeper banks with Carolina-rigged lizards,” Gene said.
Crappie: According to Gene, crappie fishing should be awesome this month. “If the weather continues to be warm with no heavy cold spells, the crappie should move shallow mid to late in the month,” he said. In Fox Lake, use jigs with a chartreuse color combination and target the brush and shallow grass around the old lake area. On Bennett, the best spots have always been along the southwest bank, Gene said.
Bream: Some nice catches of large bluegill have been reported by anglers fishing with crickets and mealworms on the bottom in Margery Lake.
Paradise PFA: Level: All lakes are full pool. Temp: 58 to 60 degrees. Clarity: Lightly stained.
Bass: Good in lakes Bobben, Patrick, and Russell. Kevin King and his dad Mark King fish Paradise regularly. Kevin says, “I’ve done pretty good on the green pumkinseed Baby Brushhog and the blue/chrome Rat-L-Trap fishing in about four feet of water.” Bass are beginning to bed, and unless the weather makes a drastic change, the bedding should peak around the last week of February and the first week of March. Jig ’n pigs and red-and-green lizards are doing well. Postspawn fishing should be great beginning about the middle of March. Postspawn bass feed aggressively. Try fishing red, tequila-green, and pumkinseed six- to seven-inch plastic worms in Lake Patrick, Tacklebuster, Beaver, and Horseshoe 3.
Crappie: Fair. Crappie are biting in three to four feet of water using 1/32- to 1/16-oz. float-rigged jigs. They have been hitting blue/white, black/green, and chartreuse jigs in Patrick, Russell, Paradise, and Horseshoe 3. Lake Patrick and Lake Paradise have been producing good catches of 1- to 1-1/2-lb. fish. The 1 1/2-inch yellow and white Southern Pro Bait Lit’l Hustler jig has been proven to work well at Paradise PFA.
Bream: Fair. Bream fishing has been a little slow but is starting to pick up. Best bait has been red wigglers and pond worms fished just off the bottom at four- to six-foot depth. Some nice redear have been caught using red wigglers suspended just off the bottom. Bream fishing is usually best from March through June. Last year, in early spring the hotspot was near the small islands on the east side of Lake Patrick.
Channel Catfish: Fair. In Lake Patrick use pond worms and mullet gut. Catfishing should begin to pick up by the end of March once the water temperature moves above 65 degrees. Try fishing in Lake Paradise straight out from the ramp around the standing timber and along the south end of the lake from the spillway to the double gate.
Rocky Mountain PFA: Level: Both lakes are at full pool. Temp.: 48 degrees. Clarity: More than 36 inches.
Bass: Fair. Bass have been slow, but there have been a few 9-lb. fish caught in the last couple of months. March and April have been great in the past years. On sunny days concentrate on the rip-rap dams.
Crappie: Fair. In the past years, March has been exceptional with many limits being caught. Crappie should start moving into shallow water soon. Use minnows around standing timber and use jigs around the rip-rap. One hot spot is around the fish-attractor buoy on West Antioch Lake just south of the boat ramp.