Nearly every lake in the country has feeder creeks. Some flow for miles before entering a reservoir and others turn into a trickle just beyond the lake’s normal pool level.
Whether large or small, feeder creeks offer some of the best bass fishing in a lake almost any time of the year. You can easily find all kinds of streams on a topographic map, but locating creeks that consistently produce bass requires some on-the-water study.
The water conditions and bottom structure of creeks usually mimic those of its relative reservoir. A stream flowing into a clear, rocky highland reservoir usually contains clear, cool water and a boulder-strewn or gravel bottom. Creeks dumping into a turbid, silt-laden lowland reservoir feature stained to muddy water and a mud bottom. Highland streams flow swiftly through the hills, while the lowland creeks slowly meander through the farmlands and prairies.
Defining Feeder Creeks
The creek’s features determine whether it produces bass year-round or just during certain seasons. The best year-round creeks usually contain some depth (at least 4 to 6 feet), channel swings and chunk rock and peal gravel bottoms. Other productive year-round creeks include those that flow when it rains and have defined channels running at least 100 yards from the mouth of the creek into the lake. Creeks containing plenty of baitfish, cover along the shore such as log-laydowns and shade trees lining the banks will also hold bass year-round. It just takes one or two laydowns to hold a large concentration of bass in a creek.
A peak time for creek fishing occurs when rain runoff enters the lake. The runoff puts more oxygen in the water and during the spring it tends to warm the creek faster. However, you should avoid feeder creeks affected by runoff from a heavy spring rain that muddies the water too much or melting snow runoff which tends to drop the water temperature in the creeks.
Fishing Shallow Feeder Creeks
Since creeks are such small bodies of water, you can usually catch bass shallow year-round in the feeder streams. If there is any shad activity and good flow in the water, the shallower you fish, the better. If baitfish are inactive, you might have to concentrate on deeper water or any big standing timber close to the bank.
Heading up feeder creeks will help you narrow down the water into a couple of choice spots for catching either a quality bass, or multiple fish.
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