If you are planning a fishing trip to Lake Ouachita get a contour Lake Map. Learn where the River and creek channels are, Learn where pockets, flats, grass, points and humps are. Lake Ouachita has about 10% coverage of different types of aquatic grasses.
For a fast lesson, charter one of Lake Ouachita's professional bass guides.
A black bass has a normal territory of approx. 1 acre, a lot of bass live out their life span in and around these areas. When fishing the grass look for little points, indentions, cutouts and especially the edges. The Bass will usually be laying right on the moss edge primarily in 12 to 18 feet of water.
In general on bright sunny days, a worm / jig will probably be the best bait, If there is any wind, try a jerkbait. A crank-bait in the wintertime fished slow works if there is water over the moss. Spinnerbaits can be very effective from the surface to very deep water to fishing on the extreme bottom. The three main styles - Colorado, Indiana and willow leaf, each have distinct vibrations and flash.
Fish along the edge of submerge grass lines (hydrilla, coontail and milfoil grass) out from the bank. Knowing the exact location of the edge of off-shore grass lines is vital to fish this pattern successfully. These grasses can be located with your electronics as well as with a depth-seeking lure such as a crankbait, worm rig or a combination of all. Also, a good set of polarized glasses will often-time help if grass is not far below surface allowing you to actually see the grass-line. Bass will relate to the edge of this grass line and will hold there for cover as well as for bait-fish. On many parts of Lake Ouachita this edge/wall of grass is between 6 to 12 feet.
The main factor is water clarity with grass growing deeper in clearer water. The thing about grass beds and the edge of submerged grass lines on Lake Ouachita is that there are fish there 12 months out of the year. They normally will react differently to lures, depending on the season and weather, and will position themselves over / in / around the grass in various manners, depending on the weather, but they will stay in or near the grass. This is where experience comes in when fishing grass as the angler must learn bass behavior.
At times bass will hold / suspend off the grass a ways, while other times they will bury in the vegetation. The challenge is to figure where the bass are holding and choose the proper lure / presentation to get them to bite. The main thing is to learn to locate the grass line and begin to target a lot of your efforts there.
I see so many anglers just aimlessly going down a bank casting toward the shore when most of the bass are either under their boat or behind them. Of course there are times when bass are relating to the bank, but more often in Lake Ouachita they are not. All of the bass in the lake will not be on a grass pattern but there will always be bass on Lake Ouachita's submerged grass.
Use spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, mid-diving crankbaits, Texas Rigged worms / lizards as well as jig n pigs along the edge of grass all over the lake. When the water is cold the key is work these lures slow. A deep pattern can be established in 15-25 feet with deep diving DD22s, Carolina rigs, and football jigs. Watch your depthfinder if you see balls of shad with fish around them, Jig spoons in and around them. The North side of the lake will warm the fastest.
In the springtime:
Bass will move in on the mossy and stump-laden points. Look for the greenest grass on the north banks you can find. Try a Strike King KVD jerkbait over the grass. Try clipping the top of the grass with a 3/4-ounce lipless rattling crankbait in a red crawfish pattern. Use a Carolina rigged worm on the points and work it out to 12 feet depths. Start at four feet using a jig head and small four-inch long worm or the Carolina rig. Bass will spawn in and behind the moss in an open water cuts. Bass in Lake Ouachita will move shallow in the springtime. In back of the creeks fish the channel bends that have a point where the current hits, the current deposits debris and that's where the fish hang out. In the spring, you would fish the points that have the jagged rock exposed with dead worm, crankbait or a Carolina rig.”
Summer bass fishing Lake Ouachita:
When fishing in the hot summer months you may want to limit your fishing to the early morning, late evening and nighttime hours when it is cooler and the bass are biting more. This is when crankbaits and topwater lures can be most productive. Fishing on cloudy days is also recommended because in the heat of the day when the sun is at its brightest, the bass will move out to deeper water.
To find bass in the fall on Lake Ouachita:
You will want to stay close to deep water. In the fall shad start moving up in the creeks and bass will bunch in one place. Autumn bass typically hang on the sheer dropoffs, where a crankbait or Carolina-rigged worm is often productive. When looking for schools of fish in the fall on any reservoir check out submerged creek channels first. Thoroughly fish the entire area with a deep-running crankbait. Once you have located a bend in the creek channel, find a ledge. It may take you half the day to find 2 or 3 schools, but it will be worth it because the bass normally are concentrated on those spots for a month or two in the fall and similarly in the early summer. The fish may move a little shallower or come out a little deeper due to fluctuations in water temperature.” Threadfin shad tend to concentrate tightly in the cooler water, and that is where the bass will be.
Winter as the water cools down further:
Lake Ouachita bass will normally move from the
mid-depth creek channels and suspend. They will be in deeper water 20 to
25 feet being the magic depth. These deep fish will still be around
creek channel swings, but the concentrations will be bigger. Vertical
jig a 3/4 ounce jig or a small spoon. As the month of
January rolls in and the water starts to really chill down the bass can
get very dormant. Still you can have some great fishing days days during
winter. In winter the jigging spoon, tail spinners, big spinner baits,
and the ever popular jig and pig are good baits to use. The water is
getting cold and the fish don’t need to feed as often. Their metabolism
has slowed down and a small meal can go a long way. Deep humps and creek
bends are key areas to work. Flipping a jig around the tree lined creek
channels with a pork trailer is a good big fish bait. Slow rolling big
spinner baits over the humps and out in 25 to 30 foot of water can
produce a big fish. When a fronts start to approach get out on the lake
as this will trigger a feed. A Carolina rigs worked slowly is another
good producer. A lipless crank bait in half ounce can work some magic
this time of year around the grass beds. The key is to work all the
baits as slow as you possible can. The crankbaits can be worked slow and
may work better than all the others on given days. Don’t expect to catch
a lot of fish this time of year. The bite will be slow and on some days
very light. You will have to really stay in touch with your line at all
times. You can have some 20 plus fish days but this is not the normal.
Remember this time of year your electronics can be very helpful. Look
for schools of bait fish. Some times you may have to spool on lighter
line. A warm rain in January or February will raise the water
temperature and stain the water coming in from the feeder creeks which
will move bass shallower with an aggressive feeding attitude.
Walleye can be caught on spoons over brush piles on main lake points. These fish will be staging to spawn. For Striped Bass use live shad, trotline minnows, ¾-oz spoons or hair jigs. For Bream use worms or crickets in 18-25 feet of water. For Crappie try brush in water 15-30 feet deep. Minnows or crappie grubs in Tennessee shad and white are stables. Catfish will probably be slow try cut bait and live bait on jug lines and trotlines.