Fly Fishing Lewisville Lake Part 1 — On the Taint

| April 10, 2015

fly fishing for sand bass in texasDenton is still a place where you don’t have to go real far to get far. Take the Clear Creek confluence with the Elm Fork Trinity “ditch” as I call it.

Of course you already know this branch of the Trinity, the Elm Fork, ties the chain links of Lake Ray Roberts and Lewisville Lake together, with the dam at Ray Roberts being the outflow, and a very convoluted, oft obstructed and these years very low Trinity running down through the Greenbelt Corridor and “flowing” into Lewisville Lake.

Since we’ve been all over the Greenbelt – in past posts here – and since we are concentrating on every single facet, every orifice of Lewisville Lake, we should start at one spot that has the potential every year, for good sand bass and good crappie action. That place is in the taint. It taint Ray Roberts, taint Lewisville either, but it is where you can get a sense that things are changing in the waterway.

On the calmest of times, with no drainage, the Clear Creek can be placid, without flow, and without fish; a backwash if you will, for Lewisville Lake. And if you know anything about that lake, you know it’s some foul backwashing that comes from there.

However, when Clear Creek does its duty, and drains like a North Texas creek drains – during rain “events” in the spring – it can entice fish to begin their migrational spawning move from Lewisville Lake, all the way up to the confluence, and into Clear Creek and further up the Trinity.

NOTE – I am a strong proponent of catch-and-release of ALL fish from Lewisville Lake. These are some of the most tasty species (sand bass and crappie), but it’s Lewisville Lake. I have taken a few fish once they have had time to be fighting creek currents for a few weeks though. I guess, in my mind, I believe they can be purified by constant fresh water circulation. Please consider, at least, moderating your intake of Lewisville fish.

When I said, you didn’t have to go far to get far, here’s what I mean –

If you drive out north of Denton on Loop 288, and take the familiar 428 toward the north, the first road you encounter is [ppw id=”97716048″ description=”Fly Fishing for Sand Bass & Crappie North Texas” price=”.10″]

Hartlee Field Road. Take a right on Hartlee Field, and tell me that isn’t a road yet to be discovered (and developed)! It’s a lovely run out to our destination, and if you are a bicycle enthusiast, this road’s for you. I can’t tell how much traffic there will be at any particular time, but weekday mornings are abandoned.

The GPS coordinate for your parking is N33.264366, W97.060608* and that is a corner that abuts the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center. That’s where you’ll be going in. If you take a look at the satellite, you will see that this little secret is well kept. There are birdwatching trails, and even a trail labeled “Fisherman’s Trail” that runs along Clear Creek for a ways. Cars park there all the time, and your indicators are very well worn.

Depending on the flow, that confluence, at GPS N33.263899, W97.048978*, is an open area that gives you the room to try some strategic fly casting and backhanding into spots that traditionally produce good sand bass action.

We’ve talked about flies for sand bass in the past, and those discussions are best remembered now.

Work areas where the visible flows tail out. Think in terms of female sand bass laying eggs in those flows so that that they are dispersed, and males doing their part there too – so their seed disperses with the eggs into the nooks and crannies that shelter the billions of eggs that may be left in this region.

Remember to use fluorocarbon leaders to get them down to the sand bass, and pick a weight rod that makes for either a) a fair fight, or, b) a quick catch and release (perhaps into some good grease). Also remember you may lose a few flies on unseen branches as happened to me. Expect to leave a few flies behind. 

When I was working the sand bass a couple of weeks ago, my fly was doing a current driven dead drift, and not even on the swing. And that’s why you want to use circle hooks on the Clousers you tie. There are times when my line was slack and drifting, and when I took up the slack a fish was on. I guarantee that circle hook is what kept these fighters from coming unbuttoned.

And one thing I have always noticed with sand bass is that they seem to lose interest in a color if you fish that spot hard enough. So CHANGE COLORS if they stop feeding. Feel free to also experiment with weights of your fly as well – finding the depth in the column is important! It’s hard to know how deep those holes are unless you’ve seen them with no flow (or worse yet, no water in them).

Another cool aspect to this action is that it translates to catching the vaunted crappie, typically a couple of weeks after the sand bass run comes off its prime. The crappie spawn bite is a bit different though. Things need to be slowed way down when it comes to your retrieve, and if you want to catch A LOT MORE crappie, absolutely switch to a circle hook on those Clousers. Colors for crappie? White, chartreuse, pink or yellow – all are good colors and combinations of these colors can be killers. Remember to keep notes for yourself as to which colors work because it could be just about ANY combination, but certainly not EVERY combination.

One other quarry to watch for is gar. The same spawning instincts kick in for spotted, short nose, long nose and alligator gar when these flows are doing the right things. Catching gar is the opposite of good sand bass action. It takes extreme patience, strategy and effort – at least that’s what it takes for me!

*GPS coordinates taken from dropping Google Map pins on the locations. Feel free to correct them if off. They should still be very good numbers.


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Category: Culture on the Skids, Fishing Reports, Fly Tying, GPS, Hot Spot, North Texas, On The Road, TECHNICAL, Technique

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