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Article 16 - Pond Levees #13566158 05/21/20 01:36 PM
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Donald Harper Online Happy OP
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Article 16 – Pond Levees

Fishing pond levees is something that everyone seemed to do during the first 5 years of a new lake being impounded. They were after the Sows that were put in the ponds for future stocking of the lake. Most of the fish were 8 lbs and up. The new lakes had as many as 10 or more of these holding ponds containing the Brood Sows. Most of those ponds were built specific for that purpose and did not undergo the time that it takes for heavy cover to grow on the levees. Although they were very productive back in those early years of the lake when the water came up to cover the levees. As the water rose near the top of the levee a cut was made with a backhoe to let all the fish out of the pond and into the lake. This notch or cut is about all that these types of underwater ponds have going for them; as the opening setting in 15 ft of water provides great Funnel Points on each side of the opening. The levees do block the creek channel or drain that they were constructed in. This helps in keeping the ditch from silting in as fast over the years. You will find that the contour of the channel to be excellent from the levee out toward deeper water. Bass will also use any rise like a levee to push bait against to feed; but they will not take up resident there and will not be there on a regular basis. The Bass will be a short distance away in the cover along the ditch banks and visit the levee as a food source is needed.

Concentrate on finding the old mature ponds that were built by the ranch owners many years before the lake was impounded. These are the ones that we are looking for. You will find that everyone of these dams are different in structure. Each construction depended on the size of the pond, depth of the creek and the earthen material in the area that they were constructed of. Farmers and Ranchers got together to help each other on such projects with teams of Mules and pond scoops to get the job done. The even dredged problem areas in the bends of the creeks that might cause flooding of the crops. You will find piles of this rubble on the creek channel banks that will provide high ground for Bass to use. Finding these ponds is the easy part with the electronics and maps that we have today to locate each of them. You can be assured that all the brood ponds are at the same depth over the whole lake; but the mature ponds will all be at different depths and some are extremely deep. The heavy wood, brush and the area rock used to secure the structure, all provides habitat for all species of bait that will use them. The levees all represent the end of the line for fish that are migrating to the backs of these creeks and run into the dam during the spawn and forage searches. Give each one of them that you find a good look with the depth finder and the best ones I have found have 25 ft of water at the base of the levee. With a 15 ft tall levee that puts mature growth on old trees and brush just under the surface. Many time you will even have a straight line of visuals sticking up above the surface.

Because levees vary so much in heavy cover, depth under the water and slab rock used for erosion; none are that easy to fish. Many of these tanks are so old they are silted in to the top of the levee on the pond side. Your bait selections all depend on these factors as well as the weather conditions and the season. Wind is not your friend here as the boat position is vital to being successful. The best position is always parallel with the structure if possible. If the water is shallow on top of the dam then spooking the fish will be your main concern if you get too close to the levee. At this point other techniques must be used to try to catch them. The big Bass holding waiting for the water to warm in the cover at the base of the slope or deeper are lethargic; but will eventually move up to the top of the levee to spawn or feed. Go directly to the heaviest cover on the dam at 10 to 15 feet. The first lure in the Spring for me is the jig fished as slow as possible. Keeping the jig in the strike zone when the water is still cold is most important. Go with the Black/Blue jig in stained water and the Pumpkins/Melons in clear water. Always use your trailers to pull everything together to match the forage and the thump that the fish are looking for. Switch out your trailer often until you get the combination needed to get the bites. The jig to me does it’s best work when it is at rest with a living rubber skirt. The strands of the skirt continue to move while at rest much longer than silicone.

Levees that are not as heavily covered with brush will allow for a short Carolina Rig with as light of a weight as possible. The Big Brush Hog will be as good as it gets for a huge Bass producer. When fishing any sliding weight rigs in heavy cover, it is not good to loose that separation as it slides away from the bait or swivel. When I pull the rig up into a bush that may be 5 ft off the bottom, I want the weight to stay put when it touches a limb and not fall over the branch and slide away loosing contact with the rig. I peg all weights when fishing heavy cover. I am not a fan of the stoppers. The rubber ball sitting in front of the weight grabs onto wood and feels just like the bite when a fish just loads up and sits there. Stoppers are not a problem if every bite was a vicious strike; but they are not. Fishing on slack line has been the most productive method for me; so the fish feels very little resistance. Watching the line at all times though is a must. When you take up the slack and this is just a couple of seconds of slack line; you are feeling for the load or resistance of the fish. Without the bobber stopper I have learned the difference in a limb and a bite; therefore I am not sitting the hook on everything that feels like a bite. As I pull the rig up into the bush and it hangs a limb, it is best to just let it sit in the bush. Bass are very territorial and will not accept the critter being there for very long. Many times in the Spring if they think it is not a threat and is going to leave she will let it go away.

Despite the fact that these pond levees have all the best stuff going for them to house big Bass; many fisherman do not bother to find and fish them on a regular basis. They are just another gold mine to me. You can’t become successful in catching Bass on underwater dams if you don’t fish them. It is also important to fish as many as you can in one day that are sitting in different water depths. I usually spend at least one hour on each dam before leaving for the next one. It is not a matter if there is not a bite on the levee; but which one is holding the fish that will bite. There is always that little something different about the next one you go to. The brush may be heaver, the dam may be taller, the rock may be different and even the area at each end of the levee leading to the shallow is very important. It is finding the spot that has something different going for it that will produce your big fish for the day. Fish slow and be patient; as the next one could be the spot.

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Re: Article 16 - Pond Levees [Re: Donald Harper] #13566165 05/21/20 01:41 PM
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Donald...I'm sure i speak for lots of Anglers when I say thank you. Your selflessness in helping and teaching others is very commendable and appreciated. You have a vast knowledge and insight and I appreciate you sharing.

Re: Article 16 - Pond Levees [Re: Donald Harper] #13566302 05/21/20 03:24 PM
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Another Great post!! Once my travel ban is lifted I'll go get on Pines and use that mapping card I bought from ya!


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Re: Article 16 - Pond Levees [Re: jbw3] #13566945 05/22/20 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jbw3
Donald...I'm sure i speak for lots of Anglers when I say thank you. Your selflessness in helping and teaching others is very commendable and appreciated. You have a vast knowledge and insight and I appreciate you sharing.

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Re: Article 16 - Pond Levees [Re: Donald Harper] #13567130 05/22/20 03:35 AM
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A great series of post! Thanks for sharing. cheers


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Re: Article 16 - Pond Levees [Re: jbw3] #13567322 05/22/20 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jbw3
Donald...I'm sure i speak for lots of Anglers when I say thank you. Your selflessness in helping and teaching others is very commendable and appreciated. You have a vast knowledge and insight and I appreciate you sharing.



This certainly sums up my experience with Donald.

Re: Article 16 - Pond Levees [Re: Donald Harper] #13567785 05/22/20 06:34 PM
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Thanks again Don!


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Re: Article 16 - Pond Levees [Re: Donald Harper] #13568585 05/23/20 11:54 AM
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Excellent read! Thanks again


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