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 Channel Fishing

Article: February, 2006
Lake Fork Pro Jim ReaneauThis month I am going to try to explain channel fishing. When I started bass fishing one thing I will always remember is go to a creek when all else fails because fish will relate to a channel. Many times articles are written about following a channel. What is a channel? Usually this is a creek or river. But a channel can be a man made ditch that was dredged out. If you look up on the bank and see a small valley between two small hills that feed into the lake this is what I call a foul weather creek. By this I mean only when you get rain do you see water coming into the lake. These areas are a little deeper than the water close by. Again a channel is formed as this may lead out into the lake for some distance. Most of the time you can see a channel when it is going back into coves. But if this is a lake and you are out in the middle how do you find the channel. The best way is look at a good map and use your electronics to find the drop off. As you drive over the creek or river drop a marker. Then criss-cross up a ways and drop another marker. Now use your trolling motor and your front graph and follow it from one marker to the next. Once you feel comfortable with being able to follow it now get your map and look for bends as this is where most fish will be caught. Using your markers will give you a good reference point and you can move them as you move along the channel. Look for humps on the sides as these will be good areas to work a Carolina rig or crank bait. If Your lake is low like ours is now the channels are easy to find and follow. Usually your bigger trees will line the banks of the old creek or river channels. Find the bends and work them with crank baits, jig, Jigging spoons and Texas rig. This is a slow process but can be very rewarding. During the spring the fish will use the channels to get to the back of creeks. As lakes get older the small feeder creeks silt in and are harder to find. Criss cross back and forth and look for the deepest water this will be your creek bed. You may not find a drop off where the creek is but just a subtle depth change. During the spring as weather changes water temp the fish will move back to the edges of the creek. When you study your map look for other ditches, creeks, and drop offs around the area you are fishing as these will be fish magnets. Drop your markers and work these areas very good. Move slowly and replace your markers as you move along. If you have GPS mark the spots that produce best. Remember the fish will move along the channels so your spot may move in a few days or after a season. When the bite is tough along the bank and you are about to give up don’t forget to check out a few channels. You may only catch one but then again you may load the boat. I will always remember Tom Mann when he caught 10 fish that was 100 plus pounds with a little George off a plateau on a river channel. This was in the seventies. So keep this is mind the next time you go out. You can always book a trip if you want to get some first hand knowledge of channel fishing.
Thanks and Good Fishing,

Fishing Tip by EX Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau


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