Lake Washington bass on a consistent bite

Terry Bates with a chunky Lake Washington river bass caught after a recent cold front moved through the area. Bates caught the fish on a Texas-rigged creature bait pitching to the base of cypress trees.

Terry Bates studied the row of cypress trees intently as he worked the cypress knees and shallow water brush in search of a hungry bass. He was dissecting the cover like a skilled surgeon, pitching the crawfish imitation into each piece of cover with barely a ripple.

Wham! Bates drove the steel hook home a split second after a bass sucked in the tempting offering. Bates wasted no time in jerking the bass from the safety of the gnarled cypress knees and structure under the water. After a quick picture he released the bass to catch another day.

Lake Washington warms up quicker than many lakes, and the crappie and bass can be found in shallow water earlier than almost any other public body of water in the state. Even more importantly for bass anglers who like to fish shallow, bass can be caught year-round in the shady shallow waters of the lake.

Bates is a retired fisheries biologist who has spent a lifetime fishing Lake Washington and the fertile delta oxbows, sloughs and rivers. He’s also been a successful tournament angler since the 70s and he’s still locating bass and winning tournaments to this day.

If you want to catch bass on Lake Washington or one of the Delta lakes, Bates can show you when, where and how. As a bass guide he’s as good as any I’ve ever fished with. He’ll even supply the rod and reels and show you how to fish a lure or technique that the fish are biting that time of year.

What to use

I joined Bates on Lake Washington recently and had a great day on the water. The water temperature was rising, in between the cold fronts, but the fish had already moved up into the shallow waters and they were biting, though not aggressively.

Since the bass were lethargic, Bates was pitching the small creature baits and getting bit regularly. I switched to a Bass Pro Stiko and promptly caught a bass after not getting bit for a while. Bates kept working the Texas rigged crawfish and I worked the soft jerkbaits and we both got bites.

About mid-morning, Bates found an area that had bass moving up and they were biting. He’d pitch that bait to trees and wood cover and get bit regularly, but you never knew just which cast would entice a bait.

Watching the master bass angler at work was amazing as he effortlessly pitched and retrieved the lure without a hitch. And occasionally he’d slam the door on a bass, set the hook and jerk them from their hidden lair. We’d take a picture every once in a while, but he releases every bass he catches to grow some more.

“I like to fish spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and Texas-rigged plastics on Lake Washington,” Bates said. “I’ll let them tell me what they want and after we determine what that is, we’ll offer that to them as long as they keep biting.”

What April will hold

As the water warms up, he’ll continue probing the shallow waters with spinnerbaits and other favorite lures and give them what they want. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert bass angler to catch bass at Lake Washington. Just get to the lake and keep your lure in the water and you’ll probably catch a few 3 to 5 pounders, or at least have the opportunity to.

If you want to know more about current fishing conditions at the lake, contact Mike Jones, owner of Bait N’ Thang’s bait shop and boat launch, at 662-822-2087. Or you can reach Terry Bates for bass fishing information at 662-390-3886.

About Michael O. Giles 406 Articles
Mike Giles of Meridian has been hunting and fishing Mississippi since 1965. He is an award-winning wildlife photographer, writer, seminar speaker and guide.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply