Fishing at Belton Lake

Brian Boettger, of Killeen, shows a fine catch, one of 61 caught and released on a recent outing at Belton Lake.

Courtesy of Holding the Line Fis

Fishing has not been good this past week on area lakes, according to two experts.

“It’s been poor,” said Bob Maindelle, owner of Holding The Line Guide Service. “We are in a slump between spring and summer seasons. It happens every year between the end of the shad spawn and the setup of the thermocline.”

“Fishing is not good at all,” said Donnie Mathes, a 28-year game warden at Fort Hood. “It’s getting hotter and the black bass are done spawning. Those fish are moving out of the shallow waters, going much deeper and they’re harder to find.”

Mathes said catfish are an angler’s best bet right now.

“The catfish are moving around a lot more now,” he said. “You can catch catfish on any of our area lakes. You can use worms, stink bait and a whole lot of other baits.

“For the casual fisherman who wants to go out just once or twice a year, fishing from the bank would work for catfish. You don’t have to fish deep for catfish. They are spending most of their time in shallow water, usually 10-feet or less.”

Maindelle recommends a change of focus for area anglers.

“It’s better now to focus on largemouth bass and sunfish,” he said. “Don’t focus on white bass or hybrid stripers. Largemouth and sunfish are ambush feeders and they are not nearly as tied to the shad as the white bass and hybrid stripers.”

Maindelle said high-quality fishing will return.

“It will be about 10 days until things get straightened out and get better,” he said. “We need some hot, bright days to bring the summer season on.”

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

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