The fish are back.

Well sort of.

“For some people, the fishing has been really good,” said area outdoors expert and tournament angler Ed Cole, of Belton. “And for some, it’s been tough.

“But if you can find the fish, they are biting.”

The recent cooling has been a big help.

“This weather is helpful,” Cole said. “The fish are just like humans: When it’s too hot outside, they just lay around. The cooling of the weather is making the fish much more active.”

Extraordinarily high waters temporarily closed Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir and Belton Lake earlier this year. Both lakes are back open. But the water levels are still higher than normal.

“Well,” said Cole, “if you were fishing in a spot you liked last year and it was 10-feet deep, now, that exact same spot is 20-feet deep.

“So the fish, with that much more water, are that much more scattered. The lakes are fishing much more different now than they ever have. All of this means the usual patterns in the way the fish are set up have been changing.”

Tournament fishing in September, for the most part, has not produced any eye-popping numbers.

“There was a fishing tourney last week in Belton and the winning total was five fish weighing only 16 pounds or so,” Cole said. “That’s a pretty low weight for a tournament.

“But on the positive side, the more the water keeps cooling down, the more fish people will be catching.”

Contact Allan Mandell at or 254-501-7566 and read his column at

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