Dry or Not, Some West Texas Lakes are Still Lunker Likely
FOR THE FIRST TIME in more than 28 years, Twin Buttes Reservoir near San Angelo has produced a Toyota ShareLunker largemouth bass exceeding 13 pounds.
On March 14, Austin Terry of San Angelo caught the 13.4—pound, 25 ¾—inch Legacy Class lunker on a Santone spinnerbait ½—ounce Red River Special. The big fish was caught in less than four feet of water.
“One of our struggles in West Texas is chronic drought,” said Lynn Wright, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries District Supervisor for San Angelo.
“But despite the low water levels, the bass populations are doing great out here, as evidenced by that ShareLunker. I think a lot of people are going to take notice, and we may see an uptick in fishing pressure up here in West Texas.”
At the time of this writing the following lakes in Texas were undergoing the impact of drought. That doesn’t’ mean the fishing is bad. In fact, when droughts cease, the fishing typically gets better than ever on reservoirs.
These are the lakes a minimum of 30 percent below pool level as of July 27, 2018:
• Abilene—36.7 percent full.
• Amistad—64.5 percent full.
• Champion Creek—49.9 percent full.
• Choke Canyon—25.2 percent full.
• Colorado City—32 percent full.
• Elephant Butte—7.1 percent full.
• E.V. Spence—10. 5 percent full.
• Falcon—29.5 percent full.
• Greenbelt—22.2 percent full.
• JB Thomas—37.9 percent full.
• Mackenzie—13.2 percent full.
• Meredith—37.9 percent full.
• O.C. Fisher—8.3 percent full.
• O.H. Ivie—14.3 percent full.
• Palo Pinto—69.1 percent full.
• Proctor—59 percent full.
• Red Bluff—57.8 percent full.
• Sweetwater—14.6 percent full.
• Twin Buttes—4 percent full.
• White River—14.7 percent full.
Savvy bass anglers know that when reservoirs undergo prolonged drought and then go back up to pool level “new lake effect” occurs. The ecosystem for several years becomes super—rich in habitat and nutrients because of the vegetation that grew on the lake bed during the drought.
The lakes become red hot for a season or two for producing monster bass. Three years ago, Lake O.H. Ivie near San Angelo was going through one of these production spikes. It produced more ShareLunkers than any other lake in Texas during 2010. In fact, one angler caught two on the same day and then after the season closed, caught another weighing more than 13 pounds.
As you can see most of these lakes are in West Texas or in the Panhandle. Once that region gets more rain, expect some big bass to turn up in big numbers. Twin Buttes is already showing promise. It would not surprise us to see the other lakes kicking out some lunker bass—dry or not.
Current Levels for All Texas Lakes
Source: Water Data for Texas
—story by CHESTER MOORE