Lake Nottely Fishing Report May 2012
Nottely: Level: 5.5 feet below full pool. Temp: 60s. Clarity: Light stain.
Stripers: Guide Josh Garrison reports, “Conditions this month have been a bit strange. The spring river run has been long over, and it is not uncommon for the fish to move back down the lake and scatter out a bit, but this year the scattering is absurd. The stripers are literally everywhere from the river to the dam, in the creeks, anywhere you can find a wet spot. The main reason for this has been due to a continual spawning of the blueback herring from one end of the lake to the other. The entire surface of the lake has been covered in small schools of spawning bluebacks circling around. The spawn is so strong that every time you bring a surface bait in you will have three to 30 bluebacks following it trying to mate with it. This has provided the stripers easy pickings for when and where they want to eat. The key for anglers is to find the heaviest concentrations of herring schools in the easiest places for the stripers to target them. Deep areas around shallow shoals provide easy access to these baits with deep water for the fish to ambush from. However, you will likely not mark any fish on your Lowrance even in the areas where you are picking up the fish. This is mainly because the fish are coming up for such short periods of time to ambush this easy prey. Use every advantage possible with these scattered fish. If there is wind, get on the windiest spot on the lake. If it is calm, simply watch for the topwater action. The artificial bite has been tough, even on surfacing fish, but try smaller topwater baits like Sammys, small Redfins, Zara Spooks, etc. It is really easy to tell if you are doing the right thing. If you don’t have bluebacks following it in, you are on the wrong presentation or somehow might be in the wrong spot. For live bait, almost any typical striper presentation of bluebacks can work. We have been catching fish on freelines, planer boards, downlines and even pitching to them. Many times you will have fish blow up around your bait, but it may not be yours they are after. Leave your bait out longer than normal, and if a striper hits one of the other baits schooling with yours, feed it slack for as long as you can and often times they will come back for yours. Even with the tough conditions, April gave us our first 50-plus-lb. striper caught in 10 years out of Lake Nottely. This fish was caught by one of our clients on a guided trip on the big end of the lake during these exact conditions. The key is locating these areas where all the smallest of factors come together.”
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