Fishing & Boating News

On the Dock with Rick Smith

Spring Spawn

by: Rick Smith,

White bass
Photo by courtesy of 3-stexasoutdoor
(Mar. 16, 2011 - Temple, TX) Fishermen, grab your rods and reels! The spring spawn has started in Central Texas and now is the time to hit the lakes and rivers. As the waters warm up, the white bass will head up river and the crappie will move into the shallows. After an unusually cold winter, the fish will be hungry and will strike at just about anything you throw at them. The black bass are forming their spawning beds with the larger sows typically spawning first. This is the reason you are hearing about so many ShareLunker 13 pound plus females being caught.

Jon Boyd of Salado was fishing up the Lampasas River above Stillhouse Hollow Lake last week and caught so many white bass he had to let some go to stay at the state mandated 25 fish limit. He says he was using a Roadrunner jig with a yellow tail. He tried other colors, but the yellow tail worked best. Similar reports are coming in from Lake Belton, especially above the highway 36 bridge on the Leon branch of the lake. Crappies are also being caught with the whites, but the best crappie fishing seems to be in the shallow water using live minnows. The Stampede Creek area is reported to be especially productive.

Lynn Barnett of Gatesville prefers fishing above Lake Waco on the Bosque River. He's having really good success with catching his limit of whites and over the years has found the Bosque to be his favorite spot. Lynn recommends an aluminum boat with portable outboard motor to get far enough up the river to catch the larger fish.

Colorado Bend State Park
Of course the legendary white bass run in Texas is above Lake Buchanan on the Colorado River around Colorado Bend State Park. This area, better known by you old timers as Gorman's Ranch and Lemons' Camp, has produced record catches for generations. Spending spring break camping out at this rustic out-of-the-way backwoods is very popular with young and old. I remember trips to the river when I was in high school with my buddies and we always were able to bring back lots of fish. One word of warning though, if you plan to camp you had better make reservations, as much of Texas has discovered this favorite fishing and camping destination. Reservations may be made on-line at the texas.reserveworld website.

Fishing is easy with or without a boat as the water is shallow enough in many parts of the river to wade fish. The whites, often called sandies or sand bass, are plentiful as they move up the Colorado to spawn. It's amazing to see thousands of fish as they swim up river with the sunlight glistening off their bodies. Any kind of tackle will do, but for the most fun use a fly rod or light spinning tackle. Spinners, colorful lightweight jigs and metallic small slabs all work well. Take extras as you will lose lots of lures on the rocks. Many fishermen prefer live bait like Arkansas Shiner minnows.

The water is fairly cold this time of year, so if you plan to fish without a boat, take waders or high waterproof boots. There are just basic supplies at the park; plan on taking most of your provisions. There is a small general store in the town of Bend (no gasoline), but it is 10 miles of mostly dirt roads from the park.

For more information you can call the park at 325/628-3240. Note that due to the dry conditions there is currently a burn band, so no wood or charcoal fires are allowed. Containerized propane stoves are approved for cooking.

If you don't have all the necessary gear, then you may wish to participate in the Texas Outdoor Family workshop being held at Colorado Bend State Park on Saturday & Sunday, March 26-27. This adventure in primitive camping is easy as all you need to bring is your family and the hosts will bring the gear. The website for complete details is the website. If you can't make it to this event then check the TOF calendar for the next outdoor workshop at the website. You can also give them a call Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm at 512/389-8903 or via e-mail at

Discover outdoor Texas; you'll create memories to last a lifetime!