West Point: Level: 5.3 feet below full pool and dropping. Temp: 50-55 degrees. Clarity: Clear.
Bass: Fair. Guide Keith Hudson reports, “Not much change as we move into winter—not much cold weather, and an unusual winter water level drawdown pattern has kept most of the bass shallow. Expect the largemouth bite to continue to be good around any shallow wood or brush or around baitfish schools. Shallow-water baits such as ChatterBaits, squarebill 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. Some largemouth are even showing up on the south end of the lake on gravel or rock banks near the creek channels. 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 the shad in an area. If the colder weather finally moves in, 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 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 spot technique during winter is drop-shotting directly in brushpiles in deeper water.”
Linesides: Excellent. Keith Hudson reports, “Downlining with shad or bass shiners is very 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 also been producing in these same areas. I have been averaging catching 50 to 75 mixed fish a day lately on my guide trips! A few stripers 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 them, as well. I expect the size to continue to improve as the water continues to cool down.”
Crappie: Keith reports, “Surprisingly, some crappie are being caught in the shallows on minnows under a float, especially in the afternoons. The lack of any really cold weather has kept them shallow. Blowdown trees in 5 to 10 feet of water are still holding some crappie as well. Concentrate on trees that are close to the old creek or river channel. Some fish are being caught by drop-shotting minnows over or near deeper brush as well. Expect the shallow bite to turn off in the event of an extended cold snap. Trolling for crappie usually kicks into high gear after the first of the year. Whitewater and Yellow Jacket creeks almost always seem to turn on first.”