Bass Fishing in Sloughs and Backwaters
Kevin Felts 05.29.18
Typically, the best bass fishing will be in clear water lakes, such as a Lake Sam Rayburn. Lakes provide a wide range of habitat, food sources and water depth which helps bass flourish. However, if someone wants to get off the main lake and into the sloughs and backwaters, there may be some good bass fishing there.
Why get off the main lake?
The main reasons why I fish sloughs and backwaters is to avoid a lot of the boat traffic and shade is readily available. When the weather starts getting a little hot, pull up under some cypress or willow trees, tie off a cool off.
Everything in this article is going to be subjective to local conditions. Some people like fishing on the lakes, while others like fishing the creeks, rivers and sloughs. All I can do is offer my opinion based on previous experience.
The types of lures bass hit in the backwaters can be hit and miss, this is just like anywhere else. One day they may hit top water, the next day crankbaits, the next day an artificial worm with a Texas rig, and the next day they may like spinner bait.
Since the bass found in the backwaters will typically be smaller than those found in lakes, try using smaller bait.
I have seen perfectly still mornings where the water was like glass, and the bass ignored a tiny torpedo, yet they hit a shallow diving crawfish crankbait.
Having used numerous types of lures over the years, it seems these backwater bass hit crankbait, spinner and Texas rigged worms, with shallow diving cranks seeming to edge out the others.
Then again, I have seen bass hit black and green tubes for crappie fishing. There have been a few times when my company and I were trying to catch crappie with tubes around stumps, and we were catching large mouth bass.
Water Depth and Temperature
As the days get hotter, the bass will move into deeper water. In the sloughs and backwater this may mean the bass head out to a river channel or to the a lake. It seems when the water reaches a certain temperature, the bass move to deeper water, thus cooler water.
However, if there is a hole, say where channels intersect, the bass may collect in the deep water hole.
In a certain slough I fish in there is a deep water hole where two channels intersect. Every summer that hole can be counted on to deliver a couple of bass.
Other fishermen swear where the main river channel drops off is the best fishing. As the water heats up, the bass will move from the shallow water of the creeks and sloughs to the lake or river. So right where the channel intersects the river or lake is supposed to be some of the best fishing around.
One advantage the lake has over the backwaters is water clarity. It seems unless there has been a big rain, the lakes are typically clearer than the backwaters.
Going from one slough to another, and the only difference being water clarity, the clearer water seems to land more bass.
Less rain fall, means less silt is washed into the water, which means the water is clearer.
Then again, I use to work with a guy who swore fishing after a heavy rain and up on the flooded banks was the absolute best bass fishing ever. If there was enough rainfall to flood the banks, he would be in there fishing those banks. He claimed the rising water pushed bugs out of the leaves, and bass would go into the flooded areas to feast.
Personally, I like fishing the sloughs because there is less traffic than on the lake. Plus, if I want to take a break, just pull up under a cypress tree, tie off, and relax in the shade.
When it comes to fishing on lakes, the sun and heat are unrelenting. There are places to tie off, but they seem fewer and further in between than in the backwaters.
Less fishermen also mean less competition. There have been times when I spent three hours fishing a slough, and did not see a single other person. Besides the fishing, the peace and quiet is worth the trip.