The lake is in great shape with plenty of water running about four feet below high pool at 168msl.
Fishing in the winter means that we should take some extra precautions just in case we fall overboard. If caught unprepared, falling into the water can cause hypothermia causing catastrophic consequences. Being exposed to extremely cold temperatures begins to wick heat away from the body in a matter of seconds. Even in southern latitudes, where the water doesn’t approach freezing, hypothermia is still a threat, as even water as warm as 50 degrees Fahrenheit can cause mild to severe hypothermia.
Be cognizant of the weather before heading out; don’t take any unnecessary risks. Always wear a lift jacket at all times while on the water. Keep an extra set of insulated clothes and a survival blanket in a water- proof bag on board. Keep some water proof matches to be able to build a fire on shore if necessary. Be smart; enjoy your trip but be prepared.
In January the water temperature usually drops to the lower fifties and forties moving the bass into deep water. Their metabolism slows down and they become less active, feeding less and conserving energy. The easiest way to locate the bass is to locate the baitfish. Look for balls of shad on your LCR in deep creeks, sloughs and along the river channel. When you locate the shad the bass are usually underneath just off the bottom or suspended. If the bass are on the bottom, they will orient themselves close to some type of structure, brush-tops, lay-downs, stumps, ledges, drops or humps. A jig, jigging spoon, Texas rigged plastic or drop-shot fished vertically can be very affective in triggering a strike. If the bass are suspended, a fluttering spoon or tail spinner cast out and counted down and retrieved with a pumping motion can also trigger a strike. Once the fish have moved into deep water, the strong northern fronts don't affect them as much as they do when the fish are in shallow water. Remember when fishing cold water; down size your lures and fish slowly.
The Crappie will be ganging up on the ledges of the old river channel. Either drop your own brush or look for natural cover where the Crappie will bunch up. This is where your side scan sonar can really pay off. Cruise the river close to the edges and drops and you will see the cover and brush and if any fish are stacked up.
The White bass will be feeding heavy and holding on the north end of the old river channel sandbars. Concentrate on the inside bends of the river channel sandbars. Usually, the Whites will start migrating into the river proper towards the latter part of January to begin their spawn. Numerous lures can be productive; slab spoons, Road Runners, tail spinners, shallow diving crank baits and Rattle-L-Traps.