The Coastal Bend experienced a long, cooler than average winter this past season which has inevitably pushed back the timing of the largemouth bass spawn, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials said.
While the amount of daylight has been increasing each day, the water temperatures in the lakes of the South Texas plain have slowly begun to rise as well. This rise in temperature will cause the largemouth bass to invade the shallows in preparation for their annual spawn. It is during this time period that more lunker fish will be caught than at any other time of the year.
Three of the most popular destinations that bass anglers of the Coastal Bend and the South Texas region travel to for a chance at landing a fish of a lifetime are Choke Canyon Reservoir, Coleto Creek Reservoir and Lake Corpus Christi. So, here is roundup of what anglers can expect when traveling to these bodies of water:
Choke Canyon — This reservoir is fast becoming a favorite for many bass anglers throughout Central and South Texas and many anglers from far reaching states have begun filtering in. This is evident from the increased number of anglers and tournaments being held on a weekly basis.
From the results of the latest electrofishing survey, TPWD biologists noted a strong year-class of fish currently in the 11 to 13-inch range that is about to enter the fishery, with several fish over 18 inches collected weighing up to 10 pounds.
Currently, the average fish being caught at Choke Canyon is between 2 to 4 pounds. Anglers commonly catch fish over five pounds on a consistent basis with several Sharelunker (more than 13 pounds) fish caught in the last year. Furthermore, a new lake record was set last spring weighing in at 15.45 pounds.
Coleto Creek — Historically, Coleto Creek has had a strong population of quality-sized largemouth bass. In recent years it has been a popular tournament destination for many bass clubs throughout the entire state.
The latest habitat survey indicated a substantial increase in submersed vegetation now covering 36 percent of the reservoir. This increase in quality habitat should translate to increased abundance and an improved fishery in the years to come.
Lake Corpus Christi — The largemouth bass population in this reservoir, often referred to as Lake Mathis due to its proximity to the small South Texas community, appears to be expanding.
Results from the latest electrofishing survey conducted by TPWD staff, indicated the relative abundance had nearly doubled since the previous survey. This increase in abundance can likely be attributed to a sound management plan that has included stockings in the summers of 2008 and 2009 totaling 919,525 Florida strain largemouth bass fingerlings. This increase in abundance has been supported by reports of anglers regularly catching fish in the 2-4 pound range with an occasional catch nearing 10 pounds. LCC has the potential to produce Sharelunker sized fish witnessed by its 13.50 pound lake record.
Anyone fortunate enough to land a largemouth bass over 13 pounds this spring, remember TPWD’s Sharelunker Program is currently accepting “lunker” fish to be used for spawning and research. At the conclusion of spawning season, and depending on the angler’s wishes, the fish may be returned to the lake of capture for live release or donated permanently to the Sharelunker program.