New Water

Pecos River as it enters the upper Lake Amistad.

Pecos River as it enters the upper Lake Amistad.

I recently competed in a bass tournament at Lake Amistad, Del Rio, Texas.  I had been worried about the logistics of this particular tournament due to extremely low water levels.  Most access to the lake was closed.  There were a limited number of boat ramps open.  As luck would have it, weather changed and the week before this event and the lake got quite a bit of water.  So much that the whole lake rose about 22 feet.  For a lake as big as Lake Amistad, it is a lot of water.  Many an article has been written in countless magazines about how bass will hunt in new water.  The term “new water” is relative and deceiving.  I say this because this time the new water was a bad thing.  We fished and fished the lake hardly seeing any fish on the fish finder.  I had made a few upgrades to the software in  to my finder so I naturally thought it was not working properly or not set properly.  Surely the fish finder should find some catfish or carp as we scoured the lake.  With this in mind, we continued trying to fish this lake and its new water.  This was definitely a learning experience that I hope others will learn from my ignorance (or maybe better described as inattentiveness).

When water floods an area that has been out of the water it changes.  I am not talking about the siltiness of an inflow.  That is obvious.  What is less obvious is that the water fills the area and then after a day or so starts to change.  At first, the water is oxygen rich and quite attractive.  It might even have new food sources floating in it for the fish like lizards and insects.  But after a few days, the foliage on the plants that had grown up around the old water line starts to die.  These dead leaves start to break down and effect the water surrounding them.  The more foliage, the worse the effect on the water.  We should have noticed that there was a musty odor.  It is a dead giveaway that the water may not be  suitable for fish.  The fish will leave.  This time they did.  We fished, and fished, and fished.  Never seeing  anything on the finder.  All the while thinking that they had turned off.  In reality, they were not turned off.  They were somewhere else.

This is simple.  You may be thinking as you read this that why would I bother to write this down.  I am writing this so that others, as thick headed as me, can avoid having a bad day on the lake.  So go find the good water.  Good luck and tight lines.

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