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By Capt. Dickie Colburn
For the Record 

High Water Yields New Pattern


Last updated 5/25/2021 at 11:10am

“It was fun, but there was a price to be paid in the end,” said Larry Smith. Determined to fish even after finding the launch near his camp on Rayburn underwater, he and his nephew decided to leave the boat on the trailer and wade the flooded woods. “It was just crazy how far off the main lake we were wading in water up to our knees,” added Smith. “We initially tried to stay as dry as possible, but after walking into an unseen ditch or two, we just said to hell with it and splashed around like we were kids!”

When they weren’t playing like kids they were catching bass. “Jason caught one bass about four pounds, but most of our fish were in the two pound class. He stayed with a frog trailer on a quarter ounce buzz bait and I fished the same frog rigged weedless on a 4/0 hook,” reported Smith. Larry either chose the better technique or waded in a more productive direction, but either way he caught and released twice as many fish as Jason. He pointed out that he was able to fish through bushes that Jason

could only fish around. “It started raining later in the morning,” added Smith, “but we were

already soaking wet. Our bigger concern was floating pods of red ants and we both managed to wade through at least one bunch. It is unreal how fast they climb up your back in places you can’t reach!”

So, while that is a pattern I would never have even considered, the downside outweighs the upside for me. I may have to ferret out a usable ramp, but staying in the boat is far less painful. Larry and Jason weren’t the only folks I talked with that had done well fishing flooded timber. “We stayed in rain gear three days in a row, but we caught bass all day long every day,” reported Tom Sands. They stayed

in the boat, but also fished the frog and free-floated a lizard. “We never caught a bass over three pounds, but every strike was a happening.” While all of that was going on, Tim and Zoey Belcher were feeding hand-sized bream crickets on the north end of Toledo Bend. “I can’t believe I hired a guide to bream fish,” said Tim, “but it gave us a good idea of where and how to fish for them. Wouldn’t you know it, we caught them hand over fist less than a hundred yards from our camp the next day?”

Johnny and Christi Breaux have a camp on the north end as well and Johnny said their bream bite has been over the top for a while. “I just like watching the cork go under and there is no better eating fish,”

pointed out Breaux. A morning spent within casting range of a bed of bream is absolutely the

ticket for fishing with kids with a short attention span. When they aren’t catching fish they can also chase down the elusive crickets they have dropped on the floor of the boat. According to Lane Davis, his brush piles are not producing as many crappie as they usually do, but the size is good and he is catching

enough to continue booking trips. He added that they are fishing shiners exclusively and catching at least a few frying size catfish every trip as well. Unfortunately, the trout catching on Sabine Lake has not been as promising and may not be for a while. The marshes are currently flooded and way more water than we need is still headed down both the Sabine and Neches Rivers. As of this morning, it was still raining and the SRA was trying to hold its own with all eleven gates open a foot and both

generators running 24 hours a day. Rayburn is in no position to hold up any more water either as it is well above pool level. The Angelina and Neches are also high and they too, eventually wind their way into Sabine Lake. This is not a good thing for a trout population already in recovery mode.

This is very frustrating for local anglers that have coped with limit reductions and a slow but steady improvement. The greatest fear is not how long this latest glut of freshwater will hurt it, but how long

before the next tropical storm arrives. We have reached a point, however, where it no longer takes a named storm to produce flood conditions!


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