Since we had not been doing much if any good on Whitney, we made a quick trip to Aquilla yesterday afternoon. We had thought the wind was going to be up yesterday so we didn’t get up and go to Whitney, instead we trimmed some trees around the place…. chain saw work. We gave that up about 11 a.m. and took a little nap out on the porch. When we woke up, the wind seemed to be still down, we gave it a quick Internet check and said, “This ain’t bad!” and we hooked up and headed to the lake… Aquilla that is.
Aquilla is about 3 inches above pool, so it is good to go though we like it best when it is about 2 feet high and falling. But, it looks stable currently. The water is muddy or very stained. Like coffee with two cremes. The big news is that the water temperature was 65° when we got down there about 1 p.m. yesterday. The air temp was in the mid 70s. By 3 p.m. the water temp was a solid 68°.
We launched at the Dairy Hill ramp on the east side of the lake. The road to the ramp is in good shape and all blacktop; the ramp is in good shape. We like the Dairy Hill ramp because we don’t like going down that gravel road to the Old School ramp on the west side, even though it is closer. Have to keep the boat and pickup looking good, can’t have all that gravel and dust dirtying stuff up. I don’t know how things were at the Old School ramp, but we nearly had to take a number like down at the tax office to get a parking spot. Not only were there lots of boats out there, the Corps has a contractor crew reworking the restroom… so don’t get to the lake in a bind or you will have to make a trip to the woods. Didn’t look like that was going to be a quick fix; some serious repair work was in progress. I would guess at least a week or so.
There were 3 boats at the dock getting ready to go out for some serious crappie fishing. They were preparing to stay all night…. personally, I think they needed some weapons to keep those big old skeeters off… But, they said the crappie were spawning and now was the time to strike. And, some of our old fishing spots were as crowded as the parking lot. Lots of bass fishermen out there. You would have thought it was a spring Saturday morning. I think the fish must have turned on because those guys were working up a froth on the water with buzz baits and such. We did visit with a couple of folks in boats that had been out there all day. Generally, they said the fish had bit well in the morning, but had shut down as the day went on. One guy said that he had boated TWO six plus pounders in the morning and had several 3s and 4s as well. Another boat told us they had 5 or 6, but they were not elaborating. Everyone was fishing shallow and in the brush.
We had several good bites, but didn’t get them to hook up or they came off. We were primarily using T-rigs. We saw other folks using shallow running crank baits and creature baits as well as buzz baits and spinner baits. Basically, folks were using anything they could throw up in that shallow grass and I am talking about water that was less than 18 inches. Maybe the fish are on the bed, but it is so muddy you can’t see them. And there is a lot of carp spawning or doing whatever they do around the banks… generally making a lot of commotion. But on Aquilla, where there are carp in the shallows, there are bass there as well.
We only fished for a couple of hours, just too tired and the wind did finally come up a bit and it was hard to feel the bite. I am thinking that if there were that many folks on the lake yesterday, the lake is going to look like a Dallas freeway during rush hour come Saturday. But, I suspect that some lucky few will boat some big fish. The minimum length on Aquilla is 18 inches and normally you don’t have to worry about the small fish if you are catching. There are some big old gals in that lake. While we have boated our largest fish on lake Whitney, the biggest fish we have lost have been on Aquilla. I have always thought that my eventual 10 plus that I am looking for will come from Aquilla.
If you are headed down there, you need to make sure your reels have 30 lb test braid or better. Those fish in Aquilla have lots of structure to hide in and to run around. Some days you need 3/8 inch winch cable to get them in the boat. Likewise, you are going to need plenty of lures because you are going to leave some in the lake.
Good luck and keep a tight line.