Area lakes haven’t been crowded with anglers over the past week, according to outdoors expert Donnie Mathes, a 30-year game warden at Fort Hood.

“There haven’t been that many people fishing and I am surprised,” Mathes said. “Maybe a lot of the people who enjoy the outdoors are out hunting because bow season has started.”

Of those that are fishing, bites have been limited.

“There is a contingency of bass fishermen that fish all the time but they’re not catching much right now,” Mathes said. “I expected fishing to be a lot better by this point in the year than it has been.”

There is room for optimism.

“The water temperature is definitely dropping,” Mathes said. “So it won’t be long before the fish start moving shallower and toward the creeks more — and then they’ll be easier to catch.”

Mathes said there has been some action at Belton Lake as of late.

“There is some schooling fish out there,” Mathes said. “Black bass are schooling and white bass are schooling in the mornings. When you can catch them schooling it’s a lot of fun, you catch fish in a hurry.”

Driving out of the area may prove fruitful.

“I recently was fishing at Lake Limestone and there were plenty of fish being caught out there,” Mathes said. “They are biting better there than here. It’s a different lake. Those fish, generally speaking, are more shallow than the fish over here. I was catching fish in waters less than 10 feet.”

This weekend, Mathes and angling partner Tim Rake will compete in the TNT Tournament of Champions Invitational at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

“We have as good a chance as anybody,” Mathes said. “The last few weeks we haven’t been doing that great. So Tim and I went out and fished on Monday and Tuesday.

“I wouldn’t say we found any fish but at least we have a plan for the big tournament.”

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

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