West Point: Level: 5.2 feet below full pool. Temp: Mid 50s. Clarity: Stained.
Bass: Guide Keith Hudson reports, “Schools of spotted bass mixed with hybrids, white bass and stripers and even the occasional largemouth can still be caught on jigging spoons and drop-shot rigs on deeper offshore structures. A day producing a mixed bag of species of 50 to 75 fish is not uncommon. Baits such as suspending jerkbaits, unweighted flukes, Senkos and spinnerbaits are already catching shallow largemouth bass and spots. Try to fish these baits in or near any shallow cover or around schools of baitfish in the back of pockets. Fish the open water in the pockets with a 1/2-oz. Rat-L-Trap, a Strike King Lucky Shad crankbait or an A-rig. Crankbaits on rip-rap or chunk rock is also a good pattern for early spring. The shallow bite will only get better as the water warms in February. Remember that the creeks seem to always warm first. The prespawn is just around the corner.”
Linesides: Fair. Guide Keith Hudson reports, “The downline bite with shad or bass shiners remains pretty good. Freelining a live bait will also work at times. Most of the fish seem to be holding 20 to 30 feet deep. The topwater bite is happening now but is still kind of hit or miss. As usual, expect the best topwater bite very early and very late or on overcast or rainy days. Look for gulls and loons diving—this makes it easier to pinpoint schooling stripers. I usually throw a Red Fin or Pencil Popper for bigger fish when they’re hitting on topwater. A 3/8- or 1/2-oz. white Rooster Tail, a chrome C.C. Spoon and the A-rig have also been producing. A bucktail jig is effective, as well. The mouths of most creeks and the river ledges have been holding fish. Trolling with mid-depth crankbaits and Alabama Rigs can be effective in these areas, as well. By late February, a few linesides will start the river run if temps remain unusually warm.”
Crappie: Good. Guide Keith Hudson reports, “If the weather stays warm in February, the crappie fishing will get very good in a hurry. Fishing with minnows or a small jig around brushpiles and blowdowns in 3 to 6 feet of water will produce some big prespawn crappie, especially in the evenings. Fish can also be caught deep on a straight line with minnows around creek channels. Concentrate on trees and brush that are close to the old creek channels. As usual, crappie seem to love shade and cover. Yellow Jacket, Wolf and Whitewater creeks are producing already. Trolling the channels in these creeks with 1/16-oz. Jiffy Jigs will also produce nice catches in February.”