BRETT HITE: Sorting Out the "New Lake" Effect - Major League Fishing
BRETT HITE: Sorting Out the “New Lake” Effect
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BRETT HITE: Sorting Out the “New Lake” Effect

Image for BRETT HITE: Sorting Out the “New Lake” Effect
Brett Hite is experiencing "new lake" conditions on some of his most familiar local Arizona fisheries. Photo by Garrick Dixon
May 19, 2020 • Brett Hite • Angler Columns

This break between tournaments has me itching to get back and compete on the Bass Pro Tour, but I’ve been making the most of my time and fishing as much as I can around home here in the desert.

It’s been so long since I’ve been able to fish the local lakes during the spring that it’s almost like fishing new fisheries. I’ve been spending most of my time on Bartlett, Roosevelt, and Alamo lakes, which are all within a two-hour drive from my house in Phoenix, Arizona.

If there’s one positive in all of this pause in our lives, it’s that I can finally fish my home lakes when the fishing is good. And I have to say, the fishing has been excellent lately. Last week, we had a day where we caught 70 bass on topwater. That’s one of the best days I’ve had in a while and it is hard to beat a great topwater bite.

The “New Lake” Effect

Besides the fact that I haven’t fished these lakes in the spring in what seems like forever, the lakes have also changed quite a bit. This year, we’ve had very high water. Our lakes around here are all reservoirs and fluctuate every year, but they’re now chock-full and sitting at 100 percent of capacity.

This really helps the fishing because everything is flooded, and there are trees and brush everywhere you go. On desert lakes, when the water’s low like it has been for the past few years, there just isn’t much cover, and we typically spend our time with finesse tactics.

Not this year. I’ve been able to catch them like I love to do, and that’s with topwater baits and flipping and pitching trees. There’s so much cover that it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where the fish are.

What I’ve learned over the years is that you just have to fish fast and cover water until you find them. Once you do, they’ll often be stacked up.

Another positive for the high water and newly flooded bushes is that the spawns are going to be incredible, and the fry will be more protected. This should help the fishing for the next few years. It’s a common occurrence every time we get a good water year and we get to experience this “new lake effect” and all of the benefits.

It’s all part of a cycle on these desert reservoirs and right now, we’re on the upswing.

Keeping Busy

Besides fishing as much as I can, I’ve also spent quite a bit of time organizing my garage and getting my tackle more organized. I just put up slat board, and that’s been an excellent way to inventory all of my gear and dial it in, so I’m ready when we get back out there.

No doubt, these have been crazy times for all of us, but I’m thinking of the positives from it, slowing down and getting some things accomplished around the house. Plus, if there was ever a year to have this happen, this year’s been pretty good because of how awesome the fishing has been in Arizona.