Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Patterns
Seasonal Movement Patterns Of Striped Bass in Lake Ouachita.
Spring – March 20 / 21
During the spring time Striped Bass are preparing for the spawn which occurs when the water temperature reach the 60 degree range. On Lake Ouachita starting early march Striped Bass can be found moving into the back of creeks. As a rule fish head up stream to spawn and with this in mind your chances hooking the larger fish will be found in the west end and north side of the lake.
Summer – June 21
In the summer you can find fish settling into a pattern that will school fish together. The hotter it gets the more tightly bunched up they become. Once a thermocline develops fish stack up at or just above it. Oxygen levels become depleted below the thermocline and you’ll seldom find fish below it. Mid Lake to the Dam is where the highest concentration of fish will be found.
Fall – September 22
Mid lake is your best bet early in the fall and later on as the water cools the action will pick up further upstream. Fall is another transition time for the fish. Sometime in September the lake will turn over and the thermocline will dissipate. Fish can be found from the surface to the bottom in fall. Be mobile and ready to adapt to the changing patterns dictated by the fish.
Winter – December – 21
The Western third of the lake is better during the winter months. Fish will be concentrating on smaller baits as yearling shad from 1 to 3 inches will be the predominant forage. Concentrate along the main channels especially where sharp breaks occur. Live bait is the preferred choice of presentation.
Fishing Techniques For Striped Bass on Lake Ouachita
Down lining is a practice used primarily in presenting live bait at determined depths to suspended fish or fish that may be holding near the bottom. The rig normally consists of four components attached to your main line. The first of these is a sinker that ranges from 1/4 to 3 ounces in size depending on the water conditions your fishing. Next to attach to your line is a two-way swivel. The swivel is used to keep your line from twisting and fouling up your rig. A plastic bead is sometimes placed between the sinker and the swivel. This done to prevent the sinker from rubbing on your knot and weakening the line. Third down the line is your leader. The leader ranges from 2 to 5 feet in length. The pound test is relevant to the area and size of fish your targeting. On Lake Ouachita the most range is 8 to 15 pound test. Last to be attached is your hook. Hooks are more a matter of personal preference and the size is usually associated to the size of bait on hand.
Free lining is an effective technique to employ when Striped Bass are feeding higher in the water column. For fish that may be holding at or near the surface-no weight is attached. This simple set-up is nothing more than a hook of appropriate size to the bait freelined behind the boat 50 to 100 feet. Fish that may be holding slightly deeper may require you to attach enough weight to reach the fish. The most common weight used is the split shot. Easy to attach and remove from your line the split shot allows you to adapt to depth changes of the fish. Use a swivel on the line to keep it from twisting. Freelining is also very effective when coupled with the use of planer boards. The boards allow you to cover a wider path of water and present more lines at various depths to locate fish.
Trolling is a method that’s easy to use and eliminates the need for live bait and the accessories used. Trolling is done freelining or with use of downriggers. A detailed description of al the trolling practices used can be read from the members articles link. Here you’ll find very informative articles written by some top anglers who have mastered the art of trolling for striped bass.
Casting is a favorite technique for those that prefer the one-on-one combat much the same as bass fishermen. Top lure choices include red-fins, jumping minnows, crankbaits, spoons and bucktail jigs. Locate fish and cast to them keeping your baits above their level. Experiment with color and size to determined their preferred lure choice.