I won't lie. It's been a bit hard over the last few weeks to find good quality fish. Numbers, for the most part, haven't been that hard to come by. The recent cold snap is beginning to drop water temps into the 50s and the fish have responded by moving into shallower waters as they look to feed heavily with winter coming in only a couple of months.
As such, catching fish isn't too hard if you're in the right spot. Finding the big ones, however, is another matter. On a trip to Angostura Reservoir this week, finding fish didn't seem to be a problem. Catching better ones through large schools of shad baitfish was.
I joined up with a couple of friends for our first trip to Angostura since June before the heat of July and a large hatch of shad turned off the bite. Reports of a good walleye bite had been filling our ears all week and it was time to give the lake a shot.
It was a very crisp morning, initially requiring us to don some heavier coats or Ice Armor to ward off the chill. When we arrived at the spot and began jigging and trolling, seeing fish on the bottom wasn't hard, but finding some fish to bite was a bit difficult as the sonar showed massive schools of shad, some 8 feet thick in the water column.
The clouds of shad were everywhere it seemed. Matt managed to catch a few as we trolled around a ledge that ranged from 18'-22' and we tried to stick in that area without going over the drop. Other walleyes would follow, though size was the issue with fish in the 13"-14" range. Steve even managed to catch a largemouth bass in the area, which I thought was a bit of an odd place to find a bass in water that deep with no visible structure around.
We headed off to fish around the dam for smallmouths as I'd heard others catching them in the rocks. Well Matt caught the only smallmouths there, but yet again, they weren't the biggest ones either. I did manage to catch a good eater size one (if we were keeping any), but other than a bunch of lost jigs and some small bass, quality fish were hard to come by.
We did discover, however, that the fish wanted live minnows over plastics despite my trying several different types and styles of them. We tried one other spot near the main body of the lake and found lots of shad schools again and a few more small walleyes before needing to head back to town.
While we couldn't call the trip a total success, we did catch a number of fish and we enjoyed an extremely nice morning on the water. Not often you get clear skies and no wind on Angostura, plus once the sun came up, it turned into a very nice fall morning on the water. Couldn't have asked for better fall weather to be on the water. Next time we just need the bigger fish to show up!