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Lake Eufaula bass have moved into creek and river channels


The winter draw-down oCo-anglers compete for the love of fishingf Lake Eufaula has forced the lake's bass to leave their summer homes in the grass and move out to the creek and river channels where the fishing's red hot.
"The fishing's the best it's been all year," says Jackie Thompson, who has fished the lake for 34 years and guides more than 150 days per year on Eufaula. "As the water cools down, the shad are moving to the edge of the grass."

Besides large schools of largemouth bass, Thompson also catches good numbers of hybrid bass. Thompson locates the fish by trolling a 300 series Bandit crankbait along the edges of creek and river channels.

"Once I get a bite, I put out a buoy and cast to the school with either a crankbait or a 1-ounce Ledgebuster spinner bait," Thompson explains.

Thompson has found that bass in the fall prefer a blue-and-chartreuse crankbait, and for a spinner bait, he prefers a silver-bladed spinner bait with a white-and-chartreuse skirt.

"We're catching largemouth that weigh 1-1/2- to 6-pounds each and hybrids that weigh from 8 to 12 pounds in an afternoon of fishing," Thompson says. "If the current's being pulled through the lake, you can catch as many fish as you want. On my last two trips this past week, I could have caught 50 bass or more if I'd wanted to catch that many."

To have the most success while fishing this month, don't go out on the lake until the current comes on, which Thompson says usually occurs at Lake Eufaula from 11:00 a.m. until dark. If you're fishing at Eufaula, your catch probably will be one-third largemouth and spotted bass and two-thirds hybrid bass. Hybrids have a limit of six fish over 16 inches and 30 fish under 16 inches.

"For people who enjoy eating fish, hybrid bass is hard to beat," Thompson says. "Our biggest problem is catching little hybrids, however, the lake seems to be full of the big ones. You can have some exciting catch-and-release right now."

Late in the afternoon, just before dark, the largemouths and the hybrids start pushing the schools of shad toward the surface, and that's when the top-water action really heats up, which makes finding the schools of fish much easier.

Right now you can catch crappie at Eufaula, mainly at night, but as the water cools down, daytime crappie fishing will pick up. If you've hoped the hot weather will end, the lakes will cool down, bass fishing will pick up, and you're looking for some string-stretching, drag-squealing, exciting fall fishing action, you'll enjoy Lake Eufaula on the Alabama/Georgia border now.

Sept. 22, 2005