Oft-overlooked — Smaller lakes can provide great winter bass fishing

Written by Conor Harrison, Lone Star Outdoor News

Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Falcon International Reservoir, Amistad International Reservoir, Lake Fork, the list goes on and on about some of Texas’ best and most-fished bass lakes.

But anglers also have many options when it comes to largemouth bass fishing in Texas, and smaller, less pressured lakes often can hold the key.

Good luck getting many anglers to talk about a hidden lake — they are not well known for a reason, although biologists did weigh in on a few.

Davy Crockett Lake, Fannin County — Located in northeast Fannin County 20 miles northeast of Bonham, the 355-acre lake has good numbers of bass, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist Bruce Hysmith.

“Crockett probably has really good numbers, but average size is down compared to other lakes,” he said.

The current lake record was caught in 2007 by Chad Richardson on a chatterbait. The bass weighed 12.50 pounds.

Coffee Mill Lake — This 650-acre lake is located 15 miles northeast of Bonham in the Caddo National Grassland Wildlife Management Area. The maximum depth is 30 feet.

Coffee Mill Lake has some big bass,” Hysmith said. “The lake has a consistent gizzard shad population and they only get to about four inches, which is on the small side for gizzard shad. They are small and don’t suffer a winter kill, so they are the ideal forage for largemouth bass. There aren’t as many as in Crockett, but the size is great.”

Lake Nocona — The 1,323-acre lake near the city of Nocona has a maximum depth of 80 feet. Hysmith said biologists would actually rather see less pressure on the lake because the drought has water levels down to where the fish are concentrated.

“I’m not sure how to do it, but we’d like to see decreased pressure on some of these smaller lakes like Nocona or Amon Carter,” he said. “I know many angles practice catch and release, but the hook mortality is higher than anglers think, based on our studies. When you hook and play a fish to the boat and release that fish, it might be a day or two before he floats to the surface.”

Many anglers were reluctant to talk about small lakes because they didn’t want more pressure, something Hysmith said was typical.

“They are sleeper lakes for a reason,” he said.

Other lakes that hold good numbers of bass and might be worth anglers checking out include, Lake Nacinoche, Mill Creek Reservoir, Alvarado Park Lake and Bonham City Lake.