Dec 15, 2023 – Almost exactly a year to the hour, I experienced one of my most memorable days on the Forebay. I had been reminiscing about that incredible day all year, eagerly anticipating the possibility of reliving a similar adventure this December. Despite the slow fishing experiences throughout November and recent reports suggesting that the Forebay’s activity had dwindled, I embarked on this day with a glimmer of hope that conditions would take a dramatic turn, placing me once again amidst swift currents, sizable schools of threadfin shad, and the exhilarating sight of aggressive stripers darting beneath diving birds.
I decided to set out half an hour earlier, launching just after sunrise. The weather conditions were ideal, with a touch of fog in the air, and the signs were promising as I observed birds actively working the water. My gaze fixed upon the commotion in the middle of the west side, where I saw fish breaking the surface and birds in a frenzy. I quickly steered my boat towards the action, but the boiling activity was elusive, constantly shifting. My sonar revealed the presence of substantial fish schools beneath me.
I began my efforts by casting a three-inch threadfin shad fly in white and brown, but to my surprise, I received only tentative nibbles and brief strikes. For some inexplicable reason, the fish were showing little interest in attacking the fly. I quickly downsized my approach and experimented with different colors. I eventually switched to a 9-foot leader with 15lb test line and managed to coax a few fish to bite, but their aggression remained subdued. It was an unusual sight – blitzing fish that were unusually wary of flies. Perhaps the breakneck pace of their feeding made them difficult to target effectively. I could watch my fly passing through the fish, with some following it but refusing to strike. I tried various retrieval techniques and different fly patterns, but I only succeeded in landing two fish from the schools and had a handful of frustrating strikes that didn’t hook up. This was far from the typical scenario I encountered when diving birds signaled feeding frenzies.
Around 11:00, the action suddenly diminished, leaving me to explore the customary fishing spots in search of a stationary school of fish. Eventually, I located a group of large fish resting on the lakebed. I patiently presented a variety of flies to them, but unfortunately, luck was not on my side, and I couldn’t entice any bites. With no signs of improvement, I decided to head to the main lake around noon.
Perhaps the event that is most important in the forebay for a great day in December is the current at check 12. There was substantial current coming in from the powerhouse today with no fish anywhere around. Also the rain makes the water a bit more murky and perhaps the fish key in on the bait with a little more enthusiasm knowing its harder to swim down. And that is why the forebay is more situational than seasonal.
I launched my boat at Dinosaur Point, greeted by the stillness of the lake, and made my way to the Bay of Pigs to focus on fishing the rocky shoreline along the dam. The water level had receded, making rocky shorelines scarcer than usual. I did manage to find some rocks on the eastern side of the lake and successfully caught half a dozen fish by casting right up to the bank. It appeared that a few fish were still prowling the shoreline for minnows, despite their diminished numbers. As the clock struck 3:00, I called it a day, having reeled in a total of 8 fish.