Spring Reservoir Water Levels and How it Affects Your Bass Fishing
Water levels in a reservoir dropping an inch or two overnight does not normally affect the bite, however a drop in level of a foot or more overnight can change things drastically making bass hard to locate. Professional Anglers agree that rising water is good, as bass will move shallow to feed, however spring rains can quickly overfill a reservoir and in my area of the south, the TVA must lower the lake to control the water level.
Bass being structure oriented predators and like cover for ambush and security especially in stained to murky water and by relating to submerged objects the predators have ambush points and feel a sense of security. Anglers must take the time to study the structure of a lake before the water level falls to be consistent anglers. Look for points that will stay submerged near deep water, brush piles along channel banks and secondary banks are where bass will gather when the water is dropping. This is where your Humminbird side imaging and 360 imaging are so helpful in locating the bass reacting to the changing conditions.
When water levels drop from a hydroelectric drawdown, to control flooding or even due to a doubt, anglers can see structure and cover that was not so visible when the lake was full. Mark the structure with your GPS and mapping software. Also take a few photographs or shoot some video of the area for reference later on. Understanding structure and how fish relate to it is a very important factor in becoming a competitive tournament angler. Knowing where fish go in different water levels separates a lucky angler from a great one. Think about it this way, professional guides and tournament anglers must be consistent in their fishing to make a living. The knowledge of water level can be as important as knowing what color lure to use, water clarity and weather conditions.
Anglers that understand a draw down not only need to understand structure but they must consider the effect of the lower water level on the bait fish as well. Dropping water levels will force the bait to congregate deeper often moving to the mouth of a creek or a cover and in the main lake they may be found relating to a ledge or a steep bank. Points that tape out and get deeper are also a bait fish hang out, and where there is bait there will be bass.
Bass are creatures of environment not creatures of habit and understanding this fact is vital. It takes bass a couple of days to stabilize during abrupt changes in water level, temperatures or water clarity. Pre-fishing for a tournament anglers often see changes in the spring from storm fronts and heavy rain. Top anglers understand that the changes in atmospheric pressure directly affect fish as weather patterns change. These are the “secrets” that make anglers successful. Knowing what bait to use is only part of the puzzle, knowing where and at what depth to throw it completes the mystery.