High water angling
by Mike Gerry
Every winter we get plenty of rain here in North Alabama and one thing we can count on during the winter and spring months on Lake Guntersville is the rain. With the rain comes the run-off that generally means high, muddy water.
The tough part of this is what to do to find fish; where do they go and how can we catch them. The answer is not simple at all, and I can tell you that I am not always successful, but here is what I try to do!
The first thing I do is start working different depths, all that we learn tells us that the fish push shallow as the water comes up. While this is basically the case, it also depends on the conditions of the water like water temperature and mud lines along with the time of year it is. So, you can’t always count on the fish moving up in depth, especially if it is in the middle of winter where the water temperature is cold; it is also not the case if the water is already high and just turns to a soupy mud look.
I start at the 12 to 14 foot depth in the winter months and work break lines up to about four feet of water and then bang the shallow, muddy banks. Current also has a lot to do with to where the bass move. I have found that the stronger current areas push the bass away from the current because the bait changes their location and bass wear out trying to sustain and suspend in heavy current.
Do not be fooled, as the reality is that the bass are just moving away from the stronger current but not really changing depth. The key is how to find them while they make these moves. To me, it is kind of like any other sport because here is where we start fishing transition areas. Areas that are similar in depth but allow them to get some relief from the current. This can be something as simple as a stump where the backside hides them from the current. Fishing high water can be as simple as finding transition spots in similar water depths, fishing flats off the current areas, looking for current breaks and working as many different transition spots as you can find.