John Jefferson writes a weekly outdoors column for the Victoria Advocate.

Allen Christenson, Jr.

Allen Christenson Jr. guides on Lake Travis and is pictured with a recent 6-pound, 10-ounce bass taken with a green pumpkin trick worm on a shaky head jig. He has had three bass over 6 pounds break his line in late September fishing near boat docks and becoming entangled with dock cables.

Many boat ramps across the state are closed, and more could be in jeopardy unless we get a “flat rock rain” that will add runoff. Until that happens, lakes like Buchanan and Travis in Central Texas and others are receding and becoming dangerous to navigate due to newly exposed rocks with more just under the surface. It’s happened many times before.

Prior to hitting the lake this fall, it might be a good idea to check with the lake’s operating agency to make sure the boat ramp you want to use still reaches all the way to the water. Many now don’t. Does this affect fishing?

Not fishing, itself; it just affects being able to launch boats and then motor through the rocks near shore. The fish are still there and in a biting mood since the atmospheric and water temperatures are cooling. This, in fact, makes fall my favorite fishing time of the year.

Bass and other game fish have moved back out of their summer habitat in deep lake waters and into creeks and inlets of shallower water. This is a good time to cast parallel with the shore and work your lure or bait slowly to the boat. I’ll start the day with a topwater lure. And don’t overlook boat docks.

These are likely hangouts for largemouth bass, especially after sunup.

Be polite, though, and pass up occupied docks with a wave and maybe a ”howdy.” There are plenty of other docks. Civility is still appreciated.

An alternative to closed boat ramps and damage to your boat from rocks that weren’t there the last time you passed that way is to hire a guide. Many guides keep their boats moored on the lake upon which they guide or have their own secret place to launch. And most know from day to day where the new problem rocks are.

Allen Christenson Jr. is one of them on Lake Travis. He works out of the Lakeway Marina at the resort.

Christenson knows the lake as well as anyone. Max Milam is similarly credentialed on Lake Buchanan as a striper guide. Both keep their boats on the water of their respective falling-water lakes.

Allen told me recently that the cooler weather has helped fishing and sent me a picture of a fine largemouth he caught in six-to -ten feet of water weighing just under seven pounds. He and his clients also had five break-offs on bass over six pounds, all in shallow water. They’re biting.

But the most unusual thing Allen told me was that a 13-year-old boy caught an 8.75-pound gaspergou on his birthday, baiting with Canadian night crawlers. The lad left the fish with Allen, who became curious about why the fish had such an overly swollen stomach. So, he performed a necropsy (an autopsy).

The gargantuan “goo’s” stomach was chock-full of zebra mussels. Others have told me carp and catfish also eat them.

Wouldn’t it be cool if they could eat enough to control them.

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John Jefferson, “Woods, Waters and Wildlife” columnist, may be reached at 512-219-1199 or on his website, johnjefferson.com.

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