Did you ever show up at the lake in mid-summer after a few nights of passing storms and the water is up way beyond levels you are used to fishing this time of year? It just happened to me not long ago on a lake close to home. Mid-summer is usually a pretty stable time of the year to bass fish. Spring rains subside and the fish get past their rapidly changing springtime spawn cycle, consequently developing more of a groove in their daily habits. Many anglers also develop a groove to intercept those summer bass doing both the traditional deep and shallow routines. But a good angler has to be willing to pull a 180 from the conventional when summer storms rapidly change the conditions. If you see a sudden rise in water during the summer, here’s what to do.
Those deep bass see opportunity to feed on various forage with the influx of new water and newly flooded cover, and literally come out of the (deep) woodwork, no pun intended. In my experience, two of the best places to look first are shallow stretches of bank adjacent to where you know good populations of offshore fish normally reside. You may not find a bass in all the flooded cover on your first pass, but you’re likely to find one or two quick pull-up spots the deep bass have moved to, and if the water keeps rising, then they’ll keep coming and will expand their feeding zones. Good locations may be a series of docks near a deep point, or simply a bank with a lot of lay-downs and buckbrush that’s usually high and dry in the summer until the rain comes.
When I was faced with that quick rise in water I mentioned, I scored by fishing the backs of short pockets and drains where water was rushing in to the main lake. Drainages like these are easy focal points for deep bass to move to because the water coming in draws the bait like a magnet. Conversely, sometimes the backs of longer creek arms on inland reservoirs are much more of a commitment for an offshore bass to move in a short period of time. And many times the big creeks get highly off-color after big storms, rendering it difficult to fish effectively. I feel the short pockets and drains are ideal because they offer bass a good place to feed that doesn’t require them to travel too far from deep sanctuaries, and a faster escape route back to their normal deep water haunts as soon as the water begins to drop back to normal summer levels.