West Point: Level: 2.9 feet below full pool. Temp: 50-52 degrees. Clarity: Stained to muddy across the entire lake.
Bass: Fair. Guide Keith Hudson reports, “Not much change so far as we move into February. So far there hasn’t been much drastically cold weather, and a stained lake has kept many of the largemouth shallow. Expect the largemouth bite to continue to be fair around any shallow wood or brush, rip-rap rocks or around baitfish schools. Shallow-water baits such as ChatterBaits, square-bill crankbaits and topwater baits such as Zara Spooks and Pop-Rs should continue to work. Spinnerbaits and jig ’n pigs are also producing some bass around wood structure. It’s a good time to catch a big bass even though the numbers are not that great in February. One of the main keys to this type of shallow fishing is to look for the schools of shad. A ditch or creek run helps to hold shad in an area. If the colder weather finally moves in and the water clears, expect more fish, especially spotted bass, to stack up on structure such as humps, ledges, roadbeds and brushpiles in 15 to 20 feet of water. Drop-shot worms, jigging spoons or a copper-colored jig ’ n jigs are good choices for deeper mixed fish. As usual, for specifically targeting spotted bass, try a Zoom Finesse green-pumpkin worm around rip-rap, brushpiles or rocky banks with blowdowns. Another good spotted bass technique during winter is drop-shotting directly in brushpiles in deeper water.”
Linesides: Fair. Keith Hudson reports, “Downlining with shad or bass shiners is still fairly effective as the water cools. Bigger fish suspend under the smaller schoolies in the 15- to 25-foot range and can be caught using the live bait. The mouths of Yellow Jacket, Wehadkee and Maple creeks and in the main river channel near the dam have all been producing some fish. Target drop-offs near the channel or the tops of humps. Trolling with mid-depth crankbaits, Alabama Rigs, bucktail jigs and vertical jigging with spoons has all been producing in these same areas. The key is finding a little clearer water. A few stripers are mixed with hybrids, and white bass continue to school on top. Expect the topwater fishing to be the best very early and very late or on overcast days. The schooling fish are mostly less than 3 pounds or so, but there is an occasional big one mixed in. Gulls and loons are showing up now to help pinpoint the schooling fish, as well. I expect the size to continue to improve as the water continues to cool down.”
Crappie: Fair. Keith reports, “Surprisingly, some crappie are being caught in the shallows on minnows under a float, especially in the afternoons. Blowdown trees in 5 to 10 feet of water are still holding some crappie, as well. Concentrate on trees that are close to a creek or river channel. Some fish are being caught by drop-shotting minnows over or near deeper brush. Expect the shallow bite to turn off in the event of an extended cold snap, or it will get even better with an extended warm trend. Trolling for crappie usually kicks into high gear soon. Whitewater and Yellow Jacket creeks almost always seem to turn on first for the trolling bite.”