West Point: Level: 1.7 feet below full. Temp: 72 degrees. Clarity: Clear on the main lake, stained upriver.
Bass: Guide Paul Parsons said the water temperature is just right, and the new moon should have the big females on the bed. Some anglers are reporting seeing some bedding fish. Paul thinks most fish will be in a postspawn pattern by early May, putting them in shallow cover. “They’ll probably be in the shallow brush and blowdowns after the spawn,” Paul said. Texas-rigged lizards or Trick Worms, as well as jigs fished in brushpiles in six to 10 feet of water, will catch bass. “I like a six-inch, Zoom green-pumpkin or watermelon-seed lizard on a Texas rig or a split-shot. Paul said you need to use at least 12-lb. test line, because you are going to be horsing fish out of thick cover. You might use up to 17-lb. test line or heavier for the jig or a heavier Texas rig. Paul swims the split-shot rig over the top of a brushpile. If you throw the Texas rig or a jig, Paul said to work slowly, shaking the lure in place and moving it slowly. “The trick worm is going to be real good in May, too,” Paul said. Paul will rig a weightless Trick Worm to twitch through the brush and tree limbs. “You can do the same thing with a spinnerbait, too.” Paul said. He will slow-roll the spinnerbait and let it flutter every time it hits something. Paul said he will swim the spinnerbait around and over brushpiles.
Hybrids: Paul said the upriver hybrid bite has been a little strange this spring. “The river run is about over, so we’re about to start fishing main-lake humps,” Paul said. Guide Bobby Wilson said he thinks there will be a transition period as the hybrids move back to their summer haunts. Bobby said some aggressive fish could be caught by trolling crankbaits, like the Bandit. Mostly in May, he and Paul will be looking for hybrids on humps, roadbeds and flats. Try live shad over humps where the top is under 25- to 30-feet deep. Paul likes to Carolina rig a live threadfin or gizzard shad. Paul likes a 3/4- to 1-oz. weight and a leader about three-feet long. He uses a No. 2 Kahle hook for threadfins, and a 2/0 for gizzard shad. The bigger bites should come on gizzard shad. Drive over the humps to locate fish, drop a marker on them, get your bait in the water, and move very slowly on the trolling motor. Paul likes to use a marker bouy because he will turn his electronics off. “A good lake map will have the humps marked,” Paul said. “Usually the humps on the lower end are the best.” Paul said to check roadbeds too. Bobby says downlines will be effective, too. He says he will check a bunch of places until he finds fish, and then drop downlined shad to them. “Most of your fish now are going to be 20 feet or deeper,” Bobby said.
Crappie: The crappie have spawned, and they are moving toward deeper structure, according to Bobby. “You can find good numbers of crappie around structure eight- to 15-feet deep,” Bobby said. Check your electronics for brushpiles or treetops, or start checking your favorite bridge pilings. Cast minnows on a Carolina rig as close to the cover as you can. Also, jigs fished around cover near banks can produce. Bobby said if you start catching fish off one particular piece of structure, stick with it. “There might be 50 to 100 crappie stacked up around one little thing,” Bobby said. “They can be fun to catch that way.”