It took a while. But, finally, there is some optimism for area anglers.

“Well, Stillhouse has remained really slow,” said Donnie Mathes, a 30-year game warden at Fort Hood. “But some of the other small lakes have been picking up. The small fish on Fort Hood are being caught. That’s where people are catching the fish.”

The last two months, overall, have been brutal.

“Fishing is still not great yet, even on Fort Hood,” Mathes said. “But it is getting much better. Every evening when the weather drops into the 70s, it makes those ponds better and better. All it takes is for the water to get a little cooler and the fish will get more active. One cold front would help. A few cold nights in a row would be a huge help. We’re getting closer to October when things should get much better. We’re not very far away.”

Mathes said live bait works best at Fort Hood.

“People are fishing on Fort Hood for catfish or perch, and some even for bass,” he said. “Those people should be using live bait: minnows, worms or some kind of catfish bait. Stinkbaits work.

“And then, they just have to be a little patient, that’s all.”

Mathes said Belton Lake is seeing some improvement.

“White bass and hybrid fishing are pretty good right now at Belton,” Mathes said. “But Lake Waco has been better than both Stillhouse and Belton, so there’s another strong option for people.”

Mathes predicts October and November will be kind to area anglers.

“Fishing will not only be good in October and November,” he said, “it could be good a little bit into December, too.”

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

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