Lake Conditions: Lake Pardee recently opened to the public on 2/17, after 4 months of season shut down. The lake is at near full pool with all the recent rain and the runoff has caused it to be dirty with less than one-foot visibility in the main lake, uncommon for the usual clear impoundment. Water temperature at launch (0800) were a chilly 49 degrees and by the end of the day, I was able to find water in the 53-degree range. It was a chilly morning with temps in the low 30’s increasing to the low 50’s by days end (1430), partly cloudy and a NW wind from 5-10-mph.
How We Caught Them: I started by idling to the 5 mph buoys looking for bait and any sign of fish depth locations. Unable to pinpoint a good starting depth I started on a long point with an adjacent flat that usually holds smallmouth bass. I began fishing in the 30-foot range dragging a dark tube as the water was chocolate milk. Without success, I left that area and went to a rocky point to target northern Largemouth(common to Pardee). I used a deep-diving rip bait in bright colors and with a long pause in 12’ of water, I landed my first fish a 3-pound largemouth. Not having much confidence in the rip bait I went back to dragging the bottom but in 10-20’, and I was able to find a pattern that would last all day. I found Smallmouth on the flats using a tube with fish up to 3.5 pounds (Pardee has a strong population of small mouth). In between chasing smallmouth, and whenever I found clay and chunk rock with deep water close I would target largemouth bass with a brown jig. Several of the fish were coming out of the deep, evident by their pale color as they chased crawdads. My best fish was a 7# largemouth on a jig coming out of 17’ of water on the main lake.
Tackle Box Gear Used: I was throwing the tube on a Dobyns DX743SF paired with a Shimano 2500 and spooled with 20# J-Braid to a 7 lb Trilene fluorocarbon leader. The jig rod was a Shimano CRC-72HA with 12# Trilene Fluorocarbon.
ProCast fishing Guide/Instructor John Loverin