Your guide to Lake Travis Fishing. Our Lake Travis Fishing Report is brought to you monthly. Written by Professional Austin fishing guide, tournament angler and owner of Torwick’s Guiding Service, Tyler Torwick. You can contact Tyler by phone (512) 910-7255, or book a trip directly online.
The fishing on Lake Travis has been decent as of late. The fish are still very much in a wintertime pattern, but you can still have some great days on the water! February is always a transition month on Lake Travis. What I mean by that is that the behavior and location you’ll find fish is going to change a lot throughout the month. With spring around the corner the fish are going to be on the move once you see water temperatures begin to increase. This will vary depending on weather and if we get more cold fronts. In this report we’ll discuss both what the fish are currently doing as well as what they will be doing.
As I mentioned earlier the bass are very much in their typical winter time pattern right now. With that said, I would expect to see pre-spawn fish getting active within a week or two unless a cold front comes through. Water temps today were up to 55 degrees in the afternoon. Once you see water 59 degrees or higher you can expect a change in the bass’ behavior. Things are getting ready to bust loose!
If you read my last report I mentioned deep and slow being the key. That still is the most consistent pattern for me, with a few exceptions, which we will get too. Small baits fished deep and around docks is a consistent pattern on Travis during the colder months. Today that was really the key for us, especially fishing isolated docks.
A little tip for you guys… docks can be very good places to find bass, but especially when they are isolated docks. What I mean by this is when you find a stretch of shoreline where there is only one dock on it, that will be a hot spot. If the fish want structure or shade, that is where they are forced to go. This also applies to the first dock in a row of docks when you enter a large cove. Generally the very first dock, closest to the mouth of the cove will be the best. Keep this in mind the next time you are fishing docks!
On Lake Travis there is an abundance of bluff walls. These hold fish almost year round. Obviously there are times these aren’t the best places to be fishing, but for a lot of the year, especially times when fish favor deep water, these can be the ticket. Lately I have been fishing certain areas of the lake following this pattern, targeting bass anywhere between 15-40 feet deep. Slowing down your retrieve, especially on calm sunny days can be the key. There are a variety of baits I throw but especially jigs, dropshots, ned rigs, and neko rigs. Natural colors like green pumpkin have been best, however add some orange to whatever bait you are fishing. I had several bass spit up bright orange crawfish last week. Orange Spike-It dye is a must have in your boat for dipping your soft plastics in. If you don’t have any of that try using red, they carry it at Academy around here. Finding where there are ledges and drop offs along these bluff walls has been one of the best ways to target these fish.
Winter is definitely here and the fish in Lake Travis know it too! Expect to see water temperatures anywhere from the low 60’s to the mid 50’s. Water clarity in the winter is usually very good, so on the lower end of Lake Travis don’t be surprised if you see visibility in excess of 10 feet. With this colder water you can expect the bass in Lake Travis to be a little more lethargic and tougher to catch.
Water temperature is by far one of the largest factors that influence how the bass behave and what they do. Water temperature affects dissolved oxygen levels in the lake, where the baitfish live, and the slowing of the bass’ metabolism.
Largemouth bass are cold blooded and as the fish get colder their metabolisms slow causing them to be more lethargic. This isn’t to say they won’t feed, but they do become more selective and less aggressive. You will notice fish become more aggressive during brief feeding windows rather than feeding all day long.
This year I am making an effort to produce more videos for y’all! Please check out my most recent video on fishing Lake Travis in the winter. In this video I cover my top 5 baits to have tied on.
When the fish are like this I approach them in two ways. Either I fish very slow, or I fish very fast. Jigs, ned rigs, drop shots, and Texas rigs are all good ways to present a bait slowly along the bottom to entice that feeding bite. During the winter I will pause my bait a lot longer than I normally would. Its not uncommon for me to let my bait sit there for 5 to 10 seconds before moving it. One, this helps maintain bottom contact, and two it makes the bait easier for the fish to catch up too. During winter I often fish deep, which on Travis can be 30-45 feet of water. For some anglers this can make staying on the bottom a little tougher, this long pause helps over come this.
For largemouth bass winter time is about survival. Their goal is to expend as little energy as possible, burn as few calories as they have to, yet still feed. A slow moving bait paused on the bottom makes for an easy meal. Another little tip for you to go along with this… if they bite is tough when you are out on the water, try downsizing baits. This is where the ned rig and the drop shot come into play. These small easy to eat morsels are perfect for finicky bass.
As I mentioned earlier, you can also catch bass fishing fast this time of year. Bass are instinctive creatures and will hit a fast moving bait not because they are hungry but because its in their DNA. This bite is referred to as a reaction bite. When I find fish on the graph, especially if they are suspended this is how I like to try and catch them first. A Picasso School-E rig is my favorite Alabama rig to throw this time of year. A crankbait and a jerkbait are also in my top baits. Crankbaits are excellent search baits to cover a lot of water. My video covers a lot of great info about selecting a crankbait during the winter, so let’s skip to a jerkbait.
If you need a refresher, here is a video I filmed last year with a lot of details about how to fish this bait. Give it a watch!
Spring is right around the corner! This is by far the best time of year to fish. I am accepting reservations now. If you want to fish on a weekend I recommend booking well in advance. My Saturday and Sunday trips book up fast!
These recent cold fronts have brought colder water temps, and with it the bass in Lake Travis are changing their pattern once again. Recently I have seen water temps as low as 61 degrees first thing in the morning. Water temperature is one of the biggest factors in understanding how bass behave and where they go throughout the year.
In my previous report we discussed how the fish will move back into the coves to follow their food source of shad. Until the water gets a little colder, they will continue to do so. So expect to find fish up inside your favorite large coves. Baits such as medium diving crankbaits, Texas rigged plastics, and drop shots are all good options to target these fish. With the lake level so low, there is very little isolated cover in the lake such as brush or trees. When the water is low I focus more on man-made structures such as docks, staircases into the lake, concrete walkways, etc. As more and more fish move up to the banks in these coves, looking for cover to cast at is key.
There is also another population of fish that shouldn’t be overlooked. That is the fish that make their home on the main lake. There are seasonal patterns to every lake, but not all fish make a migration to those textbook spots at the same time, or at all for that matter. Coves will be an important place to look for the next few weeks until winter really sets in. However, if you see me out on the lake fishing main lake spots, don’t be surprised. In fact, this past week with the very cold temps, I have been catching more fish consistently deep. I caught a bass November 30th in 61 feet of water on a drop shot!
Lake Travis has an abundance of deep points and deep ledges. These are places that I have been focusing on heavily during my guided trips as of late. During late fall and into winter it is common to find schools of bass suspended out deep off of these kinds of spots. Look for ledges and points that are close to a creek channel and you will likely find these fish. Now with that said, these fish are not easy to catch. I rely heavily on my electronics this time of year. When bass are suspended the $10,000 worth of fishing electronics I have my boat rigged up with are crucial. I recommend graphing these areas and paying attention to your 2D sonar and side scan to identify where the fish are positioned.
As of last month I have a new tool in my boat… Garmin Panoptics Livescope sonar. This sonar returns images in real time and you can literally see the fish moving on the screen. On several occasions I have watched my bait fall down the screen, watch a fish move up to it on the graph, then set the hook…. This technology is incredible. I find that when fishing these suspended fish it is an invaluable tool. I can literally pan the transducer around and see exactly where the schools have moved to in order to make a more accurate cast.
When fishing for these bass I recommend having four baits tied on, a swimbait, an Alabama rig, a jigging spoon, and a drop shot. The first two baits are my search baits when I first pull up on a ledge or point after finding the fish with the electronics. I like to keep my boat as far away as possible and make long casts with the swimbait or Alabama rig and run it right through the middle of those schools of bass. When graphing for them make note of the depth you are seeing them at, it is common to find them fairly deep, which means you will need to give your bait plenty of time to sink to the depths they are at.
My next two baits are for once you have made numerous casts at the schools and are now ready to get directly over the top of them and fish vertically over them. For this I recommend turning on your 2D sonar and Livescope if you have it. Get right over the schools of bass and drop your bait down close to your transducer so that you can see it go down the screen, stop it once you are at the same depth as the fish. For more aggressive and active fish I like to jig a silver ½ ounce jigging spoon around these schools of fish to trigger bites. When they are more lethargic I like to drop a small fluke on a drop shot down to them. Fish it with small twitches of the rod top and don’t be too aggressive with the bait.
As I mentioned in my previous report, my approach to bass fishing has a bit of a scientific twist to it. Understanding their environment and how the conditions affect the fish makes them more predictable. As the water gets colder you will start seeing these fish move out deeper, but why? Well, largemouth bass are cold blooded and as the water cools their metabolism slow. During the winter time the lake has no thermocline and the water is cold from the bottom of the lake to the top of the lake. However, the top part of the water column is the most prone to temperature fluctuations. Freezing temperatures over night can drop the surface of the lake several degrees, whereas a warm sunny day can do just the opposite. Bass like stability; so going deeper provides them with water that is not prone to change a whole lot. This is favorable to them and directly relates to the places they live during these colder months.
As the water gets colder expect the fishing to slow down a bit for the average angler. Beating the bank gets tougher as many of these shallow fish have moved, and you really have to work for every bite. While I personally hate the cold, I love wintertime fishing! There are several ways I have figured out how to catch them and have produced some very big limits this way. Don’t be afraid to get out on the lake and go fishing, you can still catch some really nice fish!
Here in Austin we are fortunate to not have to winterize our boats, and can use them pretty much year around. If you find yourself struggling to catch fish please consider booking a trip with me! I would love to get you out on the water and educate you on how to catch these fish, that way you are successful the next time you are out on the lake by yourself.
The fishing on Lake Travis has been phenomenal the past few weeks! Like clockwork, every year at the beginning of fall, there is a couple week period where the water starts to cool and the fish get active. Fishing gets stupid easy and largemouth feed up gorging on seemingly any bait you throw at them. The past few weeks the water temps have been in the mid to low 70’s. As of this report though, we finally have our first “real” cold front. I’m talking air temps in the upper thirties, the kind of weather where we Texas finally pull out our heavy jackets and coats. This will drop the water temps into the mid to upper 60’s.
So what does this cold weather mean for the bass fishing?
There are a couple things you can expect. First off, while we are experiencing this cold front expect the bite to change and the fish to react to it. In my experience it throws off the bite and makes it a little tougher. This is only for a day or two while the cold front rolls through. These fish rebound very quickly and will continue to feed until winter. Once you see water temperatures down in the high fifties you can expect the bite to slow. Until then, get out there on the water and keep fishing!
So where do the fish go?
If you read fishing blogs, my reports or watch Youtubers, you’ve probably heard that the bass move up into the backs of creeks and coves. Everybody is saying this, but I rarely see anyone explain why the bass do this. Nowadays I feel like so many anglers simply regurgitate the same info over and over. So it begs the questions, why do they do that? Well, it’s to follow their food source!
During the fall there are two main forages the bass prefer; crawfish and threadfin shad. As the water cools you will find these shad moving from deep water, which in the case of Lake Travis will be the river channels and major creek arms. (Remember, arms of the lake such as Sandy Creek or Cypress Creek are as large as some small lakes!) You will find schools of baitfish making a slow migration back into the coves, which in turn attracts bass. Their lives revolve around their diet, so if you find the bait, you’ll find the fish!
These threadfin shad feed on plankton and are moving in search of that. During the summer the warm water and sunlight provide ideal conditions for plankton blooms and an ample food source for these hungry shad. As water temps during the fall drop the main lake cools faster than the backs of the coves, which in turn allows plankton to keep growing. Since the shad move back here for their food source, predator species such as bass and crappie follow.
My approach to bass fishing often involves the science behind it, and not just whatever the latest fad on BassMaster is. Understanding what is going on beneath the surface of the lake, not only with largemouth bass, but also with the other species of fish in the lake, can help you become a better angler.
So what should you throw to catch these shad hungry bass? Well, there are several things I like to throw, but let’s go with my top three.
- Topwater Spook – I love throwing a shad colored walking style bait such as a Zara Spook, Sammy, or Gunfish. Long casts with this style bait, covering lots of water, are very effective. Focus on the mouths of small coves, points within a these coves, and drains along the shoreline in these coves. Look for structure that provides an ambush point for a bass to attack their prey. Typically the topwater bite is best in the morning or evening. However, on overcasts days you can get them to bite it all day long. I especially like it if there is a little wind blowing into the area I am fishing.
- Crankbaits- Medium diving crankbaits can also be a terrific bait to throw at these shad hungry fish. I should note, I also throw this bait a lot in red and orange as well, to imitate crawfish. When trying to mimic shad though, go with natural colors such as chrome, white and black, or something with a little purple in it.
- Flukes and Senkos- a fluke makes sense to try and imitate a shad right? Duh of course! But a senko? Yep, when these fish move up shallow but the bite is a little tough, I like to break out a wacky rigged senko. For this though, I will throw colors like Smoke or Natural Shad. The slow enticing fall of a senko can be deadly even though it is not shaped like a bass. I especially like this bait because it is the perfect bait to fish near docks. Cast it right up against a dock and let it fall. For docks sitting in water deeper than 15-20 feet I will often add a small tungsten nail weight into the senko to make is sink slightly faster. I recommend throwing this on braided line with a fluorocarbon leader. Use braid that is white or yellow as it is easier to see. Watch for a tick in the line or it to stop falling prematurely; if you see anything odd lift your rod tip and feel for pressure… if you feel anything weird don’t forget hook sets are free!
As for the fluke, I like to rig this on an Owner twist lock hook and make long casts with it. If its windy or I want to get the bait a little deeper I will opt for the hook with the belly weight. Fish this bait like you would a jerkbait with a twitching motion of the rod tip, as well as numerous pauses.
These are all excellent options when trying to match the shad the bass are feeding on. As I mentioned earlier though, crawfish are a large part of their diet too. With Lake Travis being so rocky, there is actually an abundance of crawfish in the lake.
A crankbait such as a Storm Wiggle wart or Spro Rock Crawler in a crawfish color is an excellent bait to cover water with and quickly work a rocky shoreline. The same locations as before apply, however you are trying to get this bait down to the rocks and get it to bump into the bottom. Let the bill of your bait hit and deflect off rocks; this will often trigger bites. I will switch baits depending on the depth of the rock I am fishing, so I recommend having several similar colored baits, but with different diving depths.
A football jig or a Texas rigged craw will also work extremely well. If you have ever fished with me you know I love to throw jigs. I even pour my own jigs! A ½ ounce brown and orange football jig with a speed craw for a trailer is a deadly combination. I find year after year my largest fish come off this bait. Fish it slowly around rock and make certain to maintain bottom contact.
As for the Texas rig, this bait is often times interchangeable with a jig. Mix it up and experiment to see what the bass like. For this set up I typically throw a 3/8th ounce tungsten bullet weight and a Rage Craw or Zoom speed craw.
A little tip for your bass nerds like myself… get yourself a crawfish trap from Academy. Bait it up with some canned cat food and leave it out over night. I like to catch crawfish from time to time and see what color they are, in order to get a better idea of what color baits I should be throwing. With the clear water on Lake Travis, throwing something that looks just like what the bass are feeding on can make a big difference.
Spring and fall are my two favorite times to fish here in Austin, TX. Just because the weather is a little cooler and a little more unpredictable, does not mean you shouldn’t get out there and go fishing!
If you are looking to up your game I would love to be your fishing coach! I love teaching new and veteran anglers alike. My approach to guiding is educational, so if you are looking for more than someone who will hand you a rod and tell you where to cast, give me a call.
If this report was helpful and you enjoyed it, the biggest “thank you” you can give me is to share this on social media!
Lake Travis has finally begun what I refer to as the fall transition. During the end of September and the beginning of October, depending on when we first start seeing cold fronts, the lake temps will start to drop. Typically it takes several cold fronts and several days of extended cool temperatures before you see the surface temp of the lake actually start to drop enough to have an effect on the fish.
With this cooler weather I have been seeing the lake temperature around 78-80 degrees. Once you start seeing these temps the bass start to get more active and move up out of their deep summertime homes. During the hottest months of the year the bass go deep to offshore points, humps, ledges, marinas and bluff walls.
Now that its that time of year for these fish to start transitioning you can expect to find some populations of fish moving closer to coves. I recommend looking for large coves and trying the points and sections of shoreline directly adjacent to the point. Creek channels are a major factor during the fall, as these fish will move up into the creek channels and use them to move from the main lake to the backs of the coves. Here on Lake Travis a lot of our coves are very deep and are basically flooded canyons. For coves like this stick to the points and nearby shorelines. However, for coves that do have a defined creek channel, look on the map and look for the places closest to the mouth of the cove that have a bend or ledge. Then find shallow water closest to that! That is a high percentage spot for those fish to pull up on.
The top water bite has been exceptional as of late, and will continue to be a major pattern until December. Typically this is a morning or evening pattern, however on days with lots of cloud cover and wind, you can get them to bite a topwater plug all day long. Recently I had a day with a morning and evening trip… we caught numerous fish, up to 5 pounds, on a spook all throughout the day.
Clients always ask me my favorite time to target largemouth bass on Lake Travis. My answer is always the same… spring and fall. Fall is a close second to springtime for me as the numbers of fish you catch are excellent, and later in the fall you start to see lots of big fish being caught.
Cooler water temps tell the fish’s biological clock that winter is approaching and that it’s time to start fattening up. Come December through February the fishing will slow down a bit as the fish get more lethargic. (With that said, some of the absolute best fishing I have ever experienced on Travis has been during the winter.)
As far as bait selection goes, a topwater walking style bait is hard to beat. Of the various styles of topwater lures a classic spook is my favorite. There are a lot of versions of this bait, a vixen, sexy dawg, spook, rover, dogma, etc are all good choices by various bait companies. I like this style bait since I can fish it fast making it “walk the dog” back and forth, but not fish it back towards me out of the strike zone too quickly. Bone or a shad color is all you need.
A drop shot is also hard to beat. I know I sound like a broken record, but I throw a drop shot with success year around on Lake Travis. A small roboworm or trick worm in something watermelon, green pumpkin, or purple is a sure fire way to put fish in the boat.
The last bait I recommend is an underspin. This is a lead head with a willow blade under it that you rig with a small paddle tail swimbait. I like an underspin over a normal lead head since I believe the flash from the blade helps trigger more bites. A 3.8 size Keitech fat swing impact in electric shad is a deadly combo. I like this bait since I can cover a lot of water quickly and the strikes tend to be very aggressive.
A fishing report can only help you so much. If you would like to get out on the water and learn way more than the internet could ever teach you, consider booking a trip with me and let’s get out there!
Bass fishing in September on Lake Travis can be a very fun time to hit the water! Currently water temperatures are in the 85-88 degree range with temps varying slightly depending on the time of day you are on the water and what end of the lake you are fishing. Water clarity on Travis is generally very clear year round. Currently water clarity is 5-10 feet depending on what end of the lake you are on. The lower end of Lake Travis closest to the dam is typically much clearer than the upper end of the lake closest to the Perdenales split. Increased boat traffic on the weekends can also muddy up the water so be mindful of that.
During the summer month’s fish tend to move offshore in search of stable cool water. With that said, some largemouth bass will make a migration to the shoreline early in the morning and late in the evening right before sunset to feed. I recommend getting out on the lake right at first light and tying on a topwater spook. A walking style plug such as a Zara spook in a natural shad color has been consistently putting fish in the boat! Bone or any translucent colored bait that mimics the color of a threadfin shad will get bit.
Make long casts with your spook across main lake points or ledges adjacent to deep water. When scouting I recommend utilizing tools like the Navionics web app or Google Earth to find new areas like this. Look for creek channels or big drop offs, then find the nearest point or ledge where a fish could pull up to in order to ambush prey. Spots like this are higher probability to hold bass as these fish living out deep don’t have to travel far to find shallow water to feed in. The shorelines of Lake Travis hold all types of forage including threadfin shad, sunfish, bluegills, and cichlids that these bass will hunt for.
Find Fish Out Deep
With water temps this warm expect to find most of your fish out deep once the sun comes out. Ledges, points, bluff walls, and rockpiles in 25-35 feet of water are your best bet. The deeper you go the cooler the water is and the less it is prone to fluctuating with cool evenings or scorching afternoons. With that said, hot surface temps can cause a thermocline to develop in the lake. When a thermocline is present fish will go as deep as the can without going below it. A thermocline is essentially a divide down deep in the lake between the cooler dense water and the lighter warm water. When this phenomenon is present the cooler water below the thermocline will hold very little dissolved oxygen.
Knowing when a thermocline is present can help significantly in figuring out how deep to fish. Knowing how to determine when a thermocline is present is something I cover during my guided trips.
As far as baits go, I recommend a dropshot with a small straight tail worm such as a Roboworm, a Texas rig with a curl tail power worm, or a Carolina rig with a creature bait such as a lizard or baby brush hog. These three rigs will cover a wide array of spots on Lake Travis. During this time of year bass also tend to hang out in schools out deep. It is not uncommon to graph a point and come across large schools of bass close to the bottom. When fish are spread out or hangout higher up off the bottom I also like to throw a deep diving crankbait. A Strike King 6XD or 10XD, depending on the depth, is a great bait to cover water and get down to these schools of fish.
About Torwick’s Guiding Service
My name is Tyler Torwick, captain here at Torwick’s Guiding Service. I am the former team president of the Baylor Bass Fishing Team and fish competitively in several tournament trails in Central Texas. I also live near the dam on Lake Travis and fish the lake over 200+ days a year.
My passion is fishing and I love teaching others how to fish. My two favorite trips to guide are trips with children and my “coaching trips”. If you have young children now is the perfect time to introduce them to the sport of fishing and get them hooked on the sport that you love! For trips with children I recommend a half-day trip. My focus is to keep them busy catching fish, learning about what we are doing, and engage them to prevent them from getting bored or fussy. We will focus on learning how to cast, how to present different kinds of lures, and how to fight a fish back to the boat.
For my coaching trips I like to approach the trip as if we were practicing for a fishing tournament. We will cover things like bait selection based on seasonal patterns, ways to more effectively fish deep, what to look for based on current conditions etc. We will also go in depth about how to use your electronics to find fish. We will go over how to set up your graphs, what each sonar frequency does and when to use them, and how to interpret what you are seeing on the screen. I also am a big believer in not fishing “spots” and fishing a pattern instead. I will teach you how to figure out a pattern as you are on the water and how to build on it throughout the day in order to better predict what the bass will do, rather than just hitting the same honey holes over and over. I guarantee that this alone will be worth the price of a guided trip! If you fish Lake Travis often this can be the difference between having a good trip every once and a while, to consistently going out and catching fish.
At this point in the season, you shouldn’t be looking in the creeks at all. In my opinion, it’s a waste of time. I’m either at the mouth of the creek arm, fishing main lake points, or I’m offshore looking at deep contours. Also, I might focus on very main lake bluff type areas. Big fish become very migratory and predictable, while smaller fish can be found in the backs of creeks, year ‘round. Big fish have greater metabolic needs and leave nursery type areas to follow oxygen saturation and open water forage. The biggest fish want the best possible combination of cover and favorable environmental conditions. Thus, in middle of the Summer you need deep, cool oxygen rich water that carries a substantial food base. This will likely consist of threadfin or gizzard shad schools.
We are now officially in the heat of the Summer. Time to buckle down and focus, because the easy fish have been picked off. The premium is now placed on utilizing electronics to discover condensed groups of fish on select pieces of offshore cover. Also, the timing for fishing these locations is important, as the heat will cause the fish to suspend and become inactive. Of course, the early and late bite are the times that you want to capitalize on. You may see a brief feeding window open up during periods of increased wind or temporary cloud cover. My go to Summer techniques are swimbaits, carolina rigs, shaky head worms, and drop shots. I mainly throw my moving baits, like crankbaits and top waters, in the mornings and evenings. However, the swimbait, which is also a moving bait, can work during the day when the wind picks up. I’m generally going to start looking for fish in the 20 ft range during this time of year.
June 1, 2020
The early summer transition has absolutely begun to take place. While the fish aren’t out on the deepest structure in the lake, they have made a significant move to the 1st major break. Depending on the water clarity, I would focus on the 15-20 ft depth range, near isolated patches of rock. Of course you can always catch fish relatively shallow, but I believe the quality bite is out a bit deeper. You can’t go wrong with a shad colored deep diving crank bait and a carolina rigged lizard or ribbon tail worm, in some variation of watermelon or green pumpkin. Also, in the heat of the day, you might wacky rig a finesse worm on light spinning tackle and target docks with plenty of shade.
May 1, 2020
The majority of Lake Travis bass have now transitioned to post spawn. I am now looking at primary points at the front of the spawning creeks with a deep water channel swing nearby. Deep docks with numerous cross members and a low platform are probably the best. Also, deep timber off of these points can also be good. I would recommend setting aside a rod with a topwater tied on so you can fire out to schooling fish off these points. But, good techniques for deep points can be deep diving crankbaits, carolina rigs, and even jigs and Texas rigs. It’s mainly about how high in the water column the fish are positioned and their level of activity. Once you determine these factors, you can select a presentation to suit the specific situation.
April 1, 2020
We are still in the season of the spawn. Although, things have changed slightly. There are now two separate and distinct approaches one can take. The first approach would be to fish shallow for females that are close to beds. The second, to fish for bass that are using staging locations. These slightly deeper, but nearby locations will contain a mix of pre and post spawn bass. However, the bulk of these fish will likely be post spawners. For the shallow bite, I’m pretty keen on the lightweight texas-rigged brush hog. If it’s sunny and clear out, I’ll move to a suspended-type presentation like my drop shot of mini carolina rig. For the slightly deeper bite, instead of the texas rig, I may focus more on the drop shot and perhaps a standard-sized carolina rig.
March 1, 2020
It’s the season of the spawn, the best time of year for the average fisherman to catch a not-so-average bass on Lake Travis.
Focus on protected pockets and stable water. Look for hard targets like stumps and or boulders, with sand and gravel nearby. Key baits this month, when the fish are on bed, are bluegill imitations like square bill crankbaits or small swimbaits. Also, baby brush hawgs can be super deadly, due to the action that the tail and appendages impart. You can never go wrong picking up a spinning rod with light line. When everyone else is throwing power fishing techniques like heavy flipping and cranking or spinner baits, the finesse presentations can be quite advantageous.
The best water temps for spawning fish, in my opinion, would be 63-67 degrees. However, this is just a ballpark figure and there are always exceptions. I do know that access to freshwater and sunlight are important for the spawn. I would place a premium on water quality. Good luck and may the best angler win!
February 1, 2020
In the south, February is the start of great things to come.
There are few hope-giving warming trends that somehow find their way through a calendar of brutal cold fronts. I’m looking to those warming trends as the critical hour for big fish potential.
Often in Southern climes, the biggest fish of the year can come during this month… And I don’t mean your 5 pounders. I’m talking about the 7’s, 8’s, and 9+’s. I think the biggest fish of the year spawn first. While they may not be locked on bed at this time, they will hover in and out of the areas which they will be spawning in.
You have to train yourself to move a lot this time of the year, because you can bet the fish are. They move from creek channel to flat, and back to creek channel, constantly. This is dependent on 3 factors: Moon Phase, Water Temperature, and Barometric Pressure. Be dynamic this time of year. Prime presentations this month are low profile finesse jigs, Texas rigged beaver style baits, and Carolina rigged plastic craws.
January 1, 2020
Happy New Year everyone. My primary approach for bass fishing Lake Travis in January is to employ 1 of 2 strategies. You might give one of these a try this month for some good results.
Strategy 1: Throw small baits and retrieve at an average speed.
Ex: Small Drop Shots, Small Shaky Head Worms, Small Jerk Baits
Strategy 2: Throw large baits and retrieve at a slower than average speed.
Ex: Big Jigs, Swimbaits, Big Worms, Big Jerk Baits
As a general rule, Strategy 1 should produce more frequent bites… While Strategy 2 should draw a larger bite.
There are days that Strategy 2 won’t work, so don’t try and force it. Strategy 2 requires a stable weather pattern, and cold fronts will limit you to Strategy 1.
If you are fortunate to have a stable weather pattern, and you employ Strategy 2, chances are you could catch a giant.
If you are planning on fishing visible cover, look for areas that receive direct sunlight. Concrete, large rocks, tires, and black dock floats all hold heat the best. Also, time your fishing so that the areas you plan to fish have had some time to warm up before you fish them.
December 1, 2019
The late fall/winter period is here. So how should you best approach the change in seasons? The process begins with the fish finder, your underwater eyes. Be focused on creek channels, or the river beds at the bottom of the lake. During the cold months the baitfish congregate in these river channels and move in condensed “clouds”.
On a topographic map these creek channels are generally denoted by a darker color, signifying a deeper depth, relative to the surrounding topography. When following these creek channels, look for areas where they touch close to a shallower point or flat.
During slow periods, the baitfish and bass will relate to the creek channels. During increased periods of activity they will move onto the point or flat. A good starting depth range for an average water clarity could be a break from 15 to 25 ft. If the water appears to be more stained move shallower. If the water appears to be more clear, you might move deeper.
Carolina rigs are always a good choice for a long, lazy approach, for lethargic cold water bass. Flukes can be deadly as they represent the migratory baitfish and can be color matched to be even more effective. Deep diving crankbaits can be good during warm fronts accompanied by either cloud cover or wind. Once again, these lures would be most effective when color matched to the predominate prey species in your fishery.
November 1, 2019
November is my favorite time of the year to fish. It’s quiet, there’s less boat traffic, and oftentimes I find myself in sort of a meditative state. Really, it’s times like these when I’m able to hoan in and focus, making my time on the water count. Fall is notorious for being a time to mimic open water bait fish. Bass are feeding heavily in pods and corralling their prey. Great targets can be points, docks, seams, or any other obvious transition where bass have an opportunity to ambush. My clear water approach begins in 15 ft or less. Conversely, my stained water strategy is to target bass in 7 ft or less. My favorite baits this time of year are rattle traps and mid to shallow running crank baits, during periods of wind or cloud cover. In a post frontal situation, I’ll switch to something like a drop shot or senko. Finally, it’s not only about focusing on a specific target. Look for schooling activity and signs of life, and you’ll eventually find the fish.
October 1, 2019
As we move into early fall, we are finding fish near creek channel swing banks, on the main lake. This type of transition is the first area deep schools of bait fish will pull up from, moving out of the creek channel toward shallower water. During high sun, we am focusing on docks and walkways that provide shade. In low light or more windy conditions, we’re seeking out chunk rock and other irregularities on the bank. Bonus tip: When it’s windy, look for sharp mud lines, they make for great ambush points.
September 1, 2019
Summer conditions are still here and will be for at least the next month or two. That considered, it’s important to focus on offshore locations near deep water access, where fish can access cool water. We’ve definitely noticed that the bite is better near the lower end of the reservoir, meaning closer to the dam. There is more deep water current which transports cool water and oxygen. This current can be regulated by the dam and or resultant from the prevailing wind moving through. We get far more bites using compact baits, especially when the fish aren’t extremely active. We would recommend a small black and blue craw imitation, worked slowly on the bottom over brush piles or grass patches. Best fishing hours are early morning and late evening in low light conditions.
August 1, 2019
It seems the August key depth zone is about 25 ft. This holds true on the mid section of the lake where there is good visibility. We have been getting quality bites fishing carolina rigged lizards and stick baits. The areas we target are near the main river channel that runs through the lake. This is important because it brings cool, oxygenated water and food to the bass. Also, it provides an opportunity for fish to suspend over deep water in a secure environment.
June 1, 2019
We have been catching the majority of my fish on drop shot flukes, on spinning tackle, in 10-20 ft of water. Top water baits have been good for the first few hours of the morning. we’re focusing on main lake points and docks with quick access to deep water nearby. Windblown areas can also be great as they congregate bait fish and other prey species. Carolina rigs with a 4’ leader have been good in the late afternoon. For this rig, We’re using a 7” berkley power worm in green pumpkin.
Transitional areas are important during this time of the year. I don’t want to have my boat positioned too far back into the creeks. Instead, I am looking for the first stretch of deep water out in front of the areas where the fish have been spawning. Drop shots and shaky head worms have been doing well for me. I am focused on water in the 10-15 ft depth range. For the shaky head worm, I am using a 4” zoom finesse worm in green pumpkin. For the drop shot, I’m using a zoom fluke in the albino color.
April 1, 2019
Lake Travis is starting to fish better this month. There are still a few fish on beds and they should be done after this next full moon. That is a good sign as the post spawners are starting to come out and play. You can catch some fish on topwaters using a walking bait like a spook throwing over trees in 5-12 foot of water and over and near rock piles or cliffs to get some good bites. You can catch several fish up shallow but not too many big ones. The bigger fish are still out a bit deeper in 15-30. You can catch some of the bigger fish on jigs and shaky heads using trick worms, senkos and craw worms. Moving baits such as swimbaits and crankbaits is about to get good so keep trying those to get some good bites. Skipping docks will always get you bit as well. Texas Hawgs!
March 1, 2019
Lake Travis is still fishing a little tough this month with a few active days in between. There are a few fish on beds already as well. You can catch several fish up shallow but not too many big ones. If you want big you need to fish 20-50 feet of water. Most of the bigger fish are hitting jigs, shaky heads and Carolina rigged plastics. The water on Travis is getting pretty clear now but you still can’t see fish on beds in deeper water like 15-20 just yet. The time change is on March 10th so the lake is about to explode. Catching them will soon be on more moving baits such as spinner baits, crank baits, swimbaits, etc. It’s about to be a great time to get out and on some nice fish. I still have some dates coming up so get your trip booked soon with Texas Hawgs…
February 1, 2019
Lake Travis has been fishing a little tough this month. There are fish in every part of the water column from a few feet to all the way down to 60+ feet. You can catch some up shallow in spurts and a few decent ones out deep with really slow presentations using jigs, t-rig worms and shaky heads. If you look around some of the deeper ledges and points, there are a lot of fish suspended and you can catch a few of these using jigging spoons. The water on Travis has cleared quite a bit since the flood, but if you can find some dirty water, you can catch fish flipping cover much shallower than in other parts of the lake. The lake is about to explode though with warmer weather on the way so it’s a great time to get out and on the fish. I still have some dates in spring coming up so get your trip booked soon with Texas Hawgs…
January 1, 2019
Lake Travis has been fishing well this month. You can catch them right on the bank out to 35-40 feet of water. The ones up tight to the bank are chasing shad so a small swimbait/swimjig, shallow crankbait and even a spinnerbait can get you bit. You can usually see these super shallow fish blowing up in schools on the bank. Be quick though. They move out and down the bank pretty fast. Deeper fish can be had on Texas rigged worms and shaky heads in watermelon and green pumpkin colors and some of the bigger fish have been eating a 1/2 oz up to a 3/4 oz jig in either green colors or black/blue with a good craw trailer. Dates for spring are filling up so get your trip booked soon with Texas Hawgs…
December 1, 2018
Lake Travis is fishing good right now. The fish have moved a little since the flooding several weeks ago but we are still coming across some really nice ones. We have been finding numbers up shallow as well as deep. We are catching them on a number of baits such as soft plastics, jigs and crank baits. Some days you can even find some good ones on top waters. I take out anyone from novice to most advanced and a lot of kids as well. It’s a great joy to get your kids into fishing and into the outdoors. That’s one of the greatest gifts my dad has passed on to me and his father to him and I am to my kids. I would love to help you out in doing the same as well with yours so take your kids fishing today – Bryan Cotter – Texas Hawgs
September 1, 2018
Thank goodness for the much needed rain that we have been receiving! As the lake level creeps down on Lake Travis the fishing has been great the last few weeks. With a little less water in the lake, the end result is being able to target the fish a little easier in certain areas. A watermelon red trick worm on a shakey head has been our ticket the last few weeks. We are still starting our mornings with top waters or shad imitation swim baits early. As the fall months near the fishing will continue to be stellar! The night time crappie and striper fishing in still on fire on the lower end of Travis. I had the honor of taking a young man fishing on Labor Day and he landed several bass, two being in the 4-5lb range. Tight lines! – Lee Benton – Fishing Guides Austin
August 1, 2018
As my client found out this morning Lake Travis summer fishing is still strong! We decided to just fish deep today and fish very slow. Our morning started on a deep chunk rock near Starnes Island on the lower end of the lake. We stared seeing action pretty quick with most of our bites coming in the 20-30 foot depth. As our shakey head worm crept over deep rocks our line would just become heavy and swim off. It was a very subtle bite today but a lot of fun! There is still some top water action but not near the constituency of the past few months. I have noticed the fish relating to the deep sloped chunk rock banks as the lake level creeps down. I believe that starting your fishing trip early in the morning this time of year seems to yield more bites and fish. We try and use the shade lines to our advantage and fish where there is a shadow cast on the water. And don’t forget about the night time striper fishing this time of year. We have seen some quality fish being caught near lighted docks at night on a variety of shad imitation baits. Stay cool, and tight lines. – Lee Benton – Fishing Guides Austin
July 1, 2018
The fishing on Lake Travis is holding strong as summer is officially here. We’re still experiencing schooling in the marinas early and sporadically throughout the day. The flutter spoon has been producing a few better bites under the schooling fish! Every now and then you will get a nice bonus bite with a striper latching on! My clients the other morning caught two bass on one topwater bait! We have found the walking the dog baits have been very productive (Zara spook style). The better quality bass have been showing up night fishing with jigs and creature baits. The deeper chunk rock banks have been key for this pattern. Tight lines and have a great July! – Lee Benton – Fishing Guides Austin
June 1, 2018
Ready or not summer is here! With Lake Travis water temps in the upper 80s the fishing is changing a bit from the last fishing repoort. The Bassmaster Elite guys (2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest) showed up to Lake Travis and wacked some big ol bass! Cliff Pace started the first day with 10.5 pound bass first thing in the morning. Several bass over 8 pounds were caught and a bunch over 4 pounds. What does that say about Lake Travis?? The Lake is HEALTHY! It’s no secret the tournament was won on surface baits (see video). Zara spooks, buzz baits, and poppers just to name a few. Now with that being said the bite has begun to slow up a bit with the warming water. In the last few weeks we have been catching fish on surface baits then switching to spoons and drop shots when the schools move deep and suspend. When I get younger children in the boat the trolling bite has been the ticket lately. It’s a great way to let inexperienced fisherman get in on the action and this usually produces several species of fish. Stay cool and tight lines! – Lee Benton – Fishing Guides Austin
May 1, 2018
It’s May and the fishing is really strong on Lake Travis. We’ve experienced sporadic schooling the last few weeks with these fish targeting 1 inch shad. With the gin clear water it’s very important to match the the size of your bait to the shad. We’re also finding the lighter line has been producing a few more bites in the lakes aquarium like water. One morning produced back to back 6 pound bass on a windy point on a weighted fluke. We just happened to pull up on the right school of fish at the right time feeding. A few stripers up to 8 pounds have been showing up in the mix as well. Let’s not forget the night time crappie fishing. Fishing around the right lighted docks can result in good numbers of fish being put in the boat. If you have a chance go wet at line on Lake Travis! – Lee Benton – Fishing Guides Austin
April 1, 2018
Lake Travis water temperatures climbing near 70 degrees mean the fish have made their move out of the depths to the clear flats and shallows of Lake Travis. Lake Travis has something most Texas lakes don’t have….extremely clear water. There are many areas on Lake Travis that you can see 25 ft down (to the bottom) and this really affects how fish are caught now and in the coming months.
A 1/16 oz weighted hook and a watermelon/red fluke has been producing great numbers and an occasional big bass on the lake. On days when we have some wind and cloud cover you can catch fish on moving baits like spinner baits and topwaters. On days with no clouds and no wind you have to really fish a little stealthier and slow down your presentation. On these days our best success has been on deeper flats and drops (the 15-25 ft depth) with a slow falling bait (fluke or senko). I believe this next full moon will push up the last wave of spawning fish.
A typical half day of fishing has been producing between 20-30 fish on average and should continue through the month of May. Pictured below is a young man that caught some good ones in a classic spawning creek on the lower end of the lake. Tight lines! – Lee Benton – Fishing Guides Austin
March 1, 2018
Spring is just around the corner and the fishing on Lake Travis is about to become prime. After an unusually cold winter, the fish are ready for a warm up! This time last year the lake was almost 7 degrees warmer and as you may know this plays a huge role in the fishing. We have been fishing ledges and drops in the 20-35ft depth and having to fish very SLOW… Without going in to great detail the heavy soft plastics, jigs, a-rigs, and slab spoons have been the go to baits this winter for most of us.
We are starting to see bass move to the shallows and this opens up a variety of ways to catch them. Wacky worms, craw pattern soft plastics, and shad/perch pattern baits will be go to baits for a good while. Let’s not forget about the white bass run that is taking place farther up lake (up river) and the crappie that will soon be showing up in the shallows and the marinas to spawn. The whites can still be caught in creeks on the main lake but there is a good number of them up river that can be caught a variety of ways including trolling. A good mess of white bass and crappie make for a great fish fry and table fair. Pictured below is a healthy Lake Travis bass caught on an a-rig on a deep ledge in February.