High water challenges
by Mike Gerry
Winter in the south is full of challenges, but nothing is as noteworthy as the fact that we get lots of rain and high, muddy, water as it becomes the norm in the south during the winter months.
One thing we can count on Guntersville during the winter and early spring months is rain and lots of it. The tough part is what to do to find fish; where do they go and how can we catch them.
The first thing I do is start working different depths. All that we have learned tells us that the fish push shallow as the water comes up. While this is generally the case, it also depends on the conditions of the water, like water temperature, mud lines and bait movement. So, you cannot always count on the fish moving up in depth, especially if it is in the mid 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 two to four foot depth in the winter months and work break lines out to about 14 feet of water. Current also has a lot to do with to where the bass move. I have found that the stronger current areas push the bass off the main channel because the bait moves, and where the bait goes the bass follow!
Finding the fish in the high, muddy waters is not easy but the key is to cover water until a pattern emerges. Current, mud, and high water can change everything. When you keep your foot on the trolling motor, your chances drastically improve in finding the school of fish you have been looking for.
The key is to use all the elements in your favor. Look for mud lines, water temperature change, bait movement, grass or structure and current breaks. Change baits from search baits to slow moving stick baits and see what holds up and catches fish. This can be something as simple as a stump, where the backside hides them from the current, or finding transition spots in similar water depths, or banging the banks.
Fishing high water can be simple. Try it, it might just work for you!