Highlands Fishing Report: Jan. 2017

By: Ly Nguyen

As the New Year brings in some fish to the beds, fish will still be found staged-up just off the grass edges in most lakes. Grassy Island on Lake Istokpoga continues to produce fish and a real lunker frequently cruises the area. Hard topwater lures such as the East Texas Big Bass lure, similar to the Devil’s Horse, worked with a stop-and-go do well early. So do soft plastics like the weedless frogs, flapping shads, Horney Toads, bigger cut tail worms, all cranked at a medium-steady retrieve. Rat-L-Traps and spinner baits have been producing around the grass edges as well. Or you can fish a plastic worm and catch fish all day along grass edges, open pockets, cuts, grass clumps, etc. For those who like to flip & pitch, Istokpoga is a noted weedless jig lake and the Medlock Jig or similar style jig produces some massive strikes. The best soft plastic colors I’ve found are Junebug, Red Shad, Green Pumpkin, Watermelon, Watermelon/Red and Candy Bug.”

Lake Jackson continues to have several hungry “wolf packs” of schoolies cruising just offshore. Just look for the bait attacked at the surface and throw any baitfish replica you like. Once the little lake is back open for action then I anticipate an increase in bigger fish. Be patient this time of year as any cast could land you that fish of a lifetime. January rings in that time of year from now until April where the giant fish make themselves easier targets while in spawn.

Lake Placid and Lake June have been spotty at best during December and as the water temperatures drop, fish will be searching for a comfortable thermocline to hold to. Using your electronics to find holding fish is the key for these lakes. The ‘community’ brush piles are seeing lots of pressure and bass holding to these structures are getting skittish. If we get a string of warm days then hit the shallows and look for bedding fish.

Across the area, the Crappie fishing has been very good. Several fishermen have reported nice catches by using their electronics to locate and stay on the fish. Best baits remain live minnows though jigs can be very productive. Remember to set you first string of poles at different depths to help zero-in on the feeding fish. When you find the feeders, be ready for fast action and multiple hook-ups.

The month of January is known for radically changing weather patterns including cold fronts and windy conditions. The key to success during this time is to know your lakes and which wind direction favors which lake. Highlands County has plenty of fishable lakes and some perform better under different wind patterns. So learn your lakes and don’t be afraid to try some new places. Also don’t overlook the canals that feed into the lakes. Some are quite deep and provide good fishing and protection from the wind on those days when offshore conditions are a challenge.

January marks the start of another season for the Highlands Bass Anglers Tournament Trail. Anyone interested in joining a great group of people feel free to contact us at 863-381-2310. Don’t miss your chance at some fun on the water and the chance to take home some cash!

Have a great time on the water.

By: Ly Nguyen