Follow Pelicans on Cedar Creek

The water temperature is finally getting down to the point where hybrids are really getting active. As of early December, the water temperature has dropped to 56 to 58 degrees on the main lake. At this point, there are no real numbers of gulls on the lake, but that is OK, there are the birds you can watch to point you to the fish. I never have experienced following loons and – get this, are you ready? Pelicans! That's right, I said pelicans. These birds are great. As in great big! Tom kids me about not being visually acute, but even I can see these birds! Be ready to move and move quickly, when you see them take off. The fish are not breaking the surface but are pushing shad up to the top where the pelicans drop down on them like a U.S. Marine on the Taliban.

The fish and shad have moved into the backs of the major coves into shallow water where the sun has a chance to heat the water by as much as 5 degrees. We are catching fish almost all day. Once you find the fish, they really are staying in that area. When the action slows, that just means they have moved maybe 50 yards or so. The fish our clients are catching are in 15 to 22 feet of water and are real quality sand bass and hybrid with some blue cats thrown in for good measure.

The fish are concentrated to the point that we lost count of the double and triple hookups. The fish are all either full of eggs or milt, so they are probably staging up for the spring run. The shad they are feeding on are only about 1 to 1.5 inches long, so the smaller slabs seem to be working better. Chuck at Fisherman's Wharf Marina (903) 489-0710 has a good supply of these baits on hand, the best information on the fish, as well as nice facilities for a day on the lake.

We are still finding the majority of our fish, including some 9 to 10-pound hybrids, on the east side of the lake from Crappie Island and then north to Lynn Creek. The shad at times are so think our graphs fluctuate between 3 feed and the actual bottom! Just remember to cut your motor well before you get into the fish so you don't spook them.

If you see birds working deeper open water, you may want to reconsider chasing them because we have yet to find the fish out there. I spoke to another angler who said he had found some hybrids in the afternoon out from the first long main point from the dam going into Star Harbor. We were also pleasantly surprised by an 8-pound large mouth just out from the point going into Caney Creek from Star Harbor.

Remember to respect the rights of other anglers and the resource by only keeping what you need. Until next time, fish in the cooler and easy winds.
– Omar Cotter and Tom O'Kelley



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