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Consistent Lunker Catches have Put Lake Conroe on the Map as a Big Bass Destination

Feature Story by TF&G STAFF

LISTEN: (6 minutes, 06 seconds)



LAKE CONROE, nestled along the western edge of East Texas, has long been a revered destination for anglers in search of trophy bass. 

With numerous lunker fish recently registered with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the lake has once again cemented its status as a hotspot for big bass. In the following article, we’re going to take you through some of the best strategies for catching them.

Those 2023 Lunker Fish

Before diving into the how-to aspect of Conroe, let’s take a closer look at the 2023 lunker fish. In the lunker bass category for eight pounds or larger fish there were 21 fish registered with multiple fish over 10 pounds.

David Campbell Perciful caught this 13.14 pound bass on Lake Conroe and it qualified for the coveted Toyota Sharelunker program.

David Campbell Perciful caught this 13.14 pound bass on Lake Conroe and it qualified for the coveted Toyota Sharelunker program.
(Photo: TPWD)

Big Bass Strategies

Catching trophy bass on Lake Conroe requires careful planning and execution. Here are some strategies to improve your odds of landing a giant:

Locate Prime Spots: Familiarize yourself with Lake Conroe’s underwater structures, such as submerged brush piles and docks with large man-made brush piles. Use a quality fishfinder to identify potential hiding places for giant bass and remember most of Conroe’s structure is man-made.

Conroe has a healthy bass population and is known to produce giants.

Conroe has a healthy bass population and is known to produce giants.
(Photo: Chester Moore)

Timing Is Everything: Spring is a prime season for trophy bass, as warming water temperatures trigger big females to move to shallower areas for spawning. Plan your trips accordingly, focusing on the months of March through May.

Lure Selection: Your tackle box should contain a variety of lures, including big spinnerbaits, jigs, and large soft plastics. Choose lures that mimic the local forage and don’t forget to throw in some topwaters.

Patient Presentation: When targeting giant bass, take a slow and methodical approach. Cast your lure near potential hideouts and structures, allowing it to sink slowly. Use subtle movements to mimic injured prey, tempting lunkers to strike.

Top Spring Tactics

Spring is a particularly fruitful season for trophy bass fishing on Lake Conroe. Employ these top spring tactics to increase your chances of success:

Bedding Bass Hunt: During the spring spawn, female bass often gather in shallow waters, preparing to lay their eggs. Search for “beds,” clear, shallow depressions on the lake bottom. Use a finesse technique and gentle presentations to provoke protective strikes from nesting females.

Topwater Excitement: Spring mornings are ideal for topwater fishing. Rise before dawn to cast surface lures like poppers and buzzbaits. Prepare for explosive strikes from lurking giants as the sun begins to rise.

Over the years many top bass pros have fished Lake Conroe. Here Gerald Swindle catches a big one near a marina dock.

Over the years many top bass pros have fished Lake Conroe. Here Gerald Swindle catches a big one near a marina dock.
(Photo: Chester Moore)

Post-Spawn Patterns: As spring transitions into early summer, adapt your strategy. Post-spawn bass tend to move to deeper waters and become more finicky. Target them with Carolina rigs with 12-inch plus worms.

The Panfish Connection

The lake has some of the biggest bream to be found anywhere in Texas with one-pound fish not uncommon. Additionally, the crappie fishery is phenomenal with both size of fish and abundance present.

Big perch are a great prey item for big bass.

Studies show that large bass often change their dietary preferences to larger fish. Calorically, it makes more sense to eat a one-pound bream instead of chasing 100 shad.

With the bass, bream and crappie often inhabiting the same man-made cover on the lake, Conroe’s giant bass don’t have to go far to grab a giant protein-rich meal that sustains them and helps them grow to epic proportions.

Additionally, this panfish fishery offers excellent opportunities for families and serious perch aficionados to catch a mess of fish for the frying pan.

But beware, if you tie on a shiner to catch a slab crappie, a lunker largemouth might just take it from you.

Scientific Insight

A seven-year study of Lake Conroe shows some interesting aspects of the bass fishery here.

The research findings unveiled an intriguing aspect of the angling world: the role of underwater vegetation in shaping bass behavior. When Lake Conroe boasted lush, natural cover, smaller bass were less inclined to indulge in piscivore, their fish-eating habits remained subdued until they reached the 140 mm mark.

Yet, the introduction of grass carp, which eliminated all submerged vegetation, triggered a remarkable shift. Most largemouth bass measuring 60 mm or more turned into avid fish predators. This early initiation of eating other fish led to notably accelerated first-year growth in subsequent largemouth bass year-classes post-vegetation removal.

While the changes also impacted the forage fish community’s structure, it’s heartening to note that ample fish prey remained available for largemouth bass both before and after the vegetation was cleared.

These intriguing insights underscore the dynamic relationship between nature and fishing success. Perhaps the synergy of these factors, combined with Lake Conroe’s unique circumstances, has contributed to its esteemed reputation as a top-notch big bass destination. The natural balance of this waterbody continues to evolve, offering anglers new challenges and opportunities for thrilling catches.

Why Fish Lake Conroe?

Lake Conroe has a steady fishery.

The lake is consistently churning out catches of trophy-sized bass and every few years produces a couple of true world-class 13-plus-pound fish.

It’s also a convenient lake to fish, located only an hour north of Houston and within a short distance of George Bush Intercontinental Airport. It’s easy to get there and there are many great accommodations in the Conroe area.

Plus, on top of the bass fishing there is the incredible aforementioned panfish action, hybrid stripers and it’s possibly the best lake to catch a limit of channel catfish in Texas.

Lake Conroe is the total package.


A History of Lake Conroe

The “Post Cards from Texas” segment on Lake Conroe originally aired on 05/17/2009. It was filmed in the months prior to the air date.

—story by TF&G STAFF

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