NOW IS THE TIME!!!
BY DAVID COX
The time to fish Lake Livingston is now!!!
“I fished Lake Livingston back when it was good!” the gentlemen spoke as we were getting into the boat on a recent guide trip. “Just thought I would bring my Grandson here to fish Lake Livingston. I remember the days back in the 70’s when we used to fish here. Man! We used to catch the fish!! Those were the days!” he said. Now back at the marina at the end of the day, the obviously tired but smiling Grandpa said, “Wow!! What a day! We are going to have to do this again. Thank you Dave.” We took pictures of their string of fish and a new generation of Lake Livingston fishermen was born!! The day will come, I thought to myself, when this Grandson will tell his Grandchildren how great the fishing was on Lake Livingston in 2010.
Lake Livingston impounded in 1969, has had its ups and downs. The great days of fishing here in the 1970’s were truly remarkable. Yes, those great days of fishing here will be remembered by many, but now is the time for making some new memories. The past several years, the fishery on Lake Livingston has obviously gotten better and better.
White Bass fishing here now is no less than incredible. Whites are swarming the lake everywhere. Limits of 25 fish per person per day, 12 - 14 inches long are common throughout the spring, summer and fall. Recently, White Bass were stacked up the creeks for their annual spawn. In the summer months White Bass feast on the thriving shad population in the main lake. It is common to see acres and acres of Whites surface feeding on shad. Fast action and easy limits can be taken. The Lake Livingston White Bass record was broken in July 1998 with a whopping 4.12 lb fish caught on rod and reel.
Crappie fishing here now on Lake Livingston has been phenomenal. Considering the past several years, the trend here is that it is getting better and better. The population of Black Crappie seems to be noticeably on the rise as more and more are being caught. As recently as this past January, the term “Crappie Run” was being whispered as pre-spawn Crappie were stacked and being caught in 7 - 10 foot of water. In the past several years, late March through April, Crappie have moved up the creeks to spawn in less than 1 foot of water providing outstanding easy fishing for “saddle blankets”. The Lake Livingston record White Crappie was set in 1999 at 3.01 lbs with the record Black Crappie at an amazing 3.52 lbs, also broken in 1999.
Striped Bass have been slow to come on Lake Livingston. Here in the lake they have never seemed to have taken off as biologist had hoped for. Until, maybe now!! Big Stripers are now being caught all over the lake. For the past several years, I have been catching more and more Stripers incidentally, while fishing for Whites. The past several years, I have caught and released hundreds of Stripers under the 18 inch minimum legal length. Now, in the summer months, roaming schools of Stripers 18 inches and over can be found early mornings chasing shad on the south end of the lake. In the river channel, in the Riverside area, Stripers over 18 inches can be caught trolling pet spoons and jigging slabs. It is common here now to hear of giant Stripers being caught on trotlines. The Lake Livingston record Striped Bass remains at 31.50 lbs set in 1986.
Lake Livingston Largemouth Bass fishing in recent years has not received it’s credit due. While those days of Bass fishing here in the early 1970’s may never be duplicated, come on - give credit where credit is due. For several years now, five fish tournament weights have been increasing. Weights of 5 fish 15 to over 20 lbs are common. Single fish weighing 5 to 8 lbs are reported commonly with an occasional 10 lb fish being talked about around local marinas and tournament weighs ins. Maybe Lake Livingston’s Largemouth Bass fishing will gain the respect that it is due with the news of the giant fish caught here recently. The new Lake Livingston Largemouth Bass record broken in January 2010 at 13.18 lbs smashed the old record of 12.45 lbs which has held since 1987.
Lake Livingston has always been respected for its great Cat-Fishing. This trend continues today. The Blue-Cat here is the dominant catch, while Channel Cats and Giant Ops are common. In recent years, I have noticed a continual trend of more of the big Flatheads 20 - 50 lbs being reported caught. The Lake Livingston record Flathead remains at 114 lbs caught on a trotline in 1976. The Blue Cat record stands at 78 lbs caught on a trotline in 1981. The Channel Cat record remains at 10.10 lbs, caught on rod and reel and was set in 1995.
The Lake Livingston Red-Bellied Peru record stands at .30 lbs set in 1998. I have personally been trying to break this record for years. I don’t remember catching one yet!!
One theory for the “New Lake Livingston” is following the lake being drawn down 4 feet for nearly a year in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita in 2005, a new lake was created. Thousands of acres of vegetation were flooded when the lake re-filled creating natural biological habitat for an explosion of marine life. The fishing on Lake Livingston has been outstanding for years. The past few years has the obvious trend of the fishing on Lake Livingston getting better and better and better!!
Now, as the sun set, casting a reflection on the day fishing with Grandpa and his Grandson on Lake Livingston, I theorized, the time to fish Lake Livingston is now. As time passes, a new generation will be taking their grandchildren fishing and telling them about how great the fishing was on Lake Livingston in 2010.
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