Bass Fishing Tips and Techniques Lake Ouachita

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.3/4 oz Green Pumpkin Craw

Remember this is not a time of year to fall in the lake, you won't last long in the cold water. If you fish alone be sure and wear you life vest and have a way to get back in the boat. Let someone know where you plan on fishing.

Housley Point and the two islands off the point, Hotdog and Hamburger Islands are surrounded by moss and is the area where several January and February tournaments have been won. The Southfork of the Ouachita River, Denby Point, Shangri La, Twin Creeks, the area around Little Fir and the Highway 27 bridge area and Muddy Creek are always good places to fish during cold months.

February:
February on Lake Ouachita has often been one of the better months for Bass fishing.  Warm rains are possible and If you are lucky enough to fish after one of these rains look for mud lines in the creek areas. In the following days after the first warm rain use a spinnerbait or a jerkbait.  Use Deep-diving crankbaits fished on the outside edges of the grass. Black/blue jigs will also producing along the outer grass line. Rat -L-Traps fished over tops of grass beds will pick up bass, green pumpkin or white spinnerbaits fished along the outside edge of the moss will work. Try main lake points in water 20-30 feet deep.

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.

March:
The month of weather fronts on Lake Ouachita. If you are persistent and keep putting the bait into the water, a bass will hit it. Strong winds are common from the fronts during March You will need to adjust to the wind and weather with crankbaits, jigs and Carolina rigs. Crawfish colored crankbaits, black and blue jigs and Carolina rigged craw worms and lizards are all catching bass. Spawning and sight fishing will start up in mid to late March. In the Spawning areas don't forget you polarized sun glasses. During light wind times go back to lighter lures and slower presentations for more bass action. Best lures are lipless crankbaits, spinner baits and Carolina rigs. Start fishing fishing in eight feet working crankbaits and Carolina rigs on bottom of minor creeks, drains and ditches work out to 10 to 15 feet.

Crappie anglers will find fish in the mouths of coves and the backs of creeks use small crappie jigs tipped with Crappie Nibbles. Live shiners are will catch crappie on deep points near spawning grounds. Look for depths of 10 - 20 feet, Use light line (6-8 pound test) and a spinning rig or spin cast with a sixteenth ounce jig.

April:
Mid March to Mid April may be the best overall fish catching period on Lake Ouachita. You can catch bass on almost any lure made. What you should do is concentrate on your strong techniques and your favorite way to fish.

In April, it's hard to make a bad choice of lure. Bass move shallow, looking to feed and looking to spawn, and anything, from sight-fishing to power-fishing to finesse-fishing, can prove as effective as anything else. The key ingredient that anglers must find is water that matches their individual techniques.

Those who like to swim big spinnerbaits through flooded buckbrush and burn crankbaits along chunk rock banks near creek channel turns are likely to find that the many creek channels will prove most productive. Look for areas of the river where a creek channel makes a significant bend and begin targeting pockets and coves in this section. If the lake is flooded and buckbrush abundant, a spinnerbait or buzzbait can be hard to beat.
Normally the fish will move from deeper to shallower water they will sometimes suspend on the points at 10 to 15 feet, going down to the bottom at those same depths to feed on crawfish." When the bass are out on the points like this, hard-plastic jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits and suspending crankbaits are proven winners. A little wind will help these patterns immensely; if there's no wind, a presentation more in the finesse category is required.

You may also want to try the back of creek arms and pockets to see if bass are still pushing shad back there before the spawn. In early spring, it's not uncommon to find bass pushing shad into water less than a foot deep. When they are on the feed in shallow water you can load the boat in a hurry. Use lipless and shallow running crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

Remember taking a more subtle approach will catch as many big bass, and bass in numbers as does the method of quote "power-fishing". Baits like 4-inch hula grubs, 3-inch curly-tail grubs on darter heads, and 4-inch finesse worms on split-shot rigs consistently fool Lake Ouachita's bass in April.

Don't forget that not all shallow bass during the spawn are actually spawning. Only a percentage of bass in a lake will spawn at any one time - which means that many bass not actually looking for beds roam the shallows. Fishermen often pass over these bass because they don't think they can catch a fish like that if they aren't "locked on" to a bed.
While it may be true that catching fish cruising shallow water can be a challenge, it's not impossible. The key is to throw smaller offerings as you make long casts well ahead of the fish in the direction they're moving. A split-shot rig really excels at catching cruising fish so do small soft-plastic jerkbaits rigged weightless. Soft-plastic jerkbait is also a good choice this time of year, you'll probably catch more bass on the finesse worm and split shot, fishing a soft-plastic jerkbait in clear water an provide more excitement, because it's a technique that let's you see the fish as they bite - and often it's a technique that produces larger bass.

Another finesse technique of merit involves a simple 3-inch or 4-inch curlytail grub on a 1/4-oz. darter head. "Put the boat over 20 to 25 feet of water and cast towards the shore, work the bait back 5 to 25 feet deep with a slow swimming motion sticking with colors that mimic baitfish. Colors like smoke, salt and pepper, and pearl all produce well with this technique.

August:
Large mouth bass can be caught with frog style baits and grass jigs. Fish flats and points for best results. Texas rigged worms, grape, strawberry and red bug colors fished early morning and late afternoon or after dark on main lake and secondary points. Spotted bass can be caught on live crawfish fished off points humps and near brush 15 - 30 feet deep. Walleye can be being caught near brush piles on main lake points. Try jigging Silver spoons in depths of 20 – 35 feet. Striped Bass anglers should use Live Bait (gizzard shad or big trot-line minnows) fished around main lake points and rock bluffs near or in the river channels on eastern end of the lake Stripers will be schooled up around 35 feet night, early morning and late evening will be best. Bream can be caught around structure with crickets or worms. Try main lake and secondary points 15 -25 feet deep. Crappie can be caught over brush piles and standing timber 15 - 30 feet deep. Pinks and crappie jigs will work best. For Catfish try cutbait, night-crawlers and live bait in pockets and moss flats 15 – 25 feet deep.
 

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