Texas is abundantly blessed with many wonderful fishing lakes and recreational facilities. Lake Livingston is the last major lake on the Trinity River before it runs into the Gulf of Mexico. It is a great place to go for a family weekend or summer vacation getaway. Lake Livingston is located only an hour’s drive north of Houston. The area is rich in Indian history and it’s common to find arrowheads along the shoreline, around the swimming beaches, islands, etc. For those camping enthusiasts, there is a State Park located on the south end with campsites overlooking the lake. The one thing that separates Lake Livingston from all other Texas’ lakes is that the hotter the weather, the better the fishing!
The Black Bass and even White Bass fishing is really quite good during the summer. Black bass are fairly predictable, in that you will rarely find them deeper than about 5-6 feet, which narrows down the water you have to search. The lake can basically be divided into three fishing areas: The upper end, which is basically river fishing; the mid-lake area, which has an abundance of feeder creeks, timber and flats to fish; and the south end, which has lots of boat docks, bulkheads, flats and sloughs to explore.
When fishing the upper reaches of the Trinity River, the channel is well marked by buoys and is easily followed upriver to some of the premier fishing spots. There are three major creeks on the upper end of the lake and they are Carolina, Bethey and Harmon creeks. It is very common to find black bass buried up in the log jams up and down the Trinity River banks. The log jams may only be in 1-2 feet of water, but they will be right off the main river channel and the bass will be hidden in the cooler, shaded water of the log jams and can be caught by flipping a Texas rigged worm or craw worm with a heavy weight into the thickest of the timber.
Fishing mid-lake north of Hwy. 190 bridge up to the Caney and White Rock Creek areas can also be very productive. Due to the lake being stained to off-colored most of the year, the choice of crankbait colors usually centers around some version of firetiger. Usually shallow to medium running baits such as Bombers, Bill Normans’, Excalibur, Fat Free Shad or Bandit crankbaits will work the best for the water depth you should be fishing. If you can’t find them on crankbaits, don’t hesitate to throw a white and chartreuse spinnerbait, a Carolina rig with a light 1/2 oz. weight or a Texas rigged worm. Besides the two creeks mentioned above, other creeks that you should try in the mid-lake area would be Brushy, Palmetto, Poole’s, Brown’s and Hart’s. The mid-lake area is full of timber and laydowns and you’ll find rocky areas holding fish as well. When running the lake, stay within the red and green channel buoys and don’t run out of the channel on plane, unless you know where your going and even then, be careful, the lake is known for its many sandbars and flats.
The south end of the lake is always much clearer, and some of the major creeks and sloughs to fish are Kickapoo, Sandy, Penwaugh, Alligator, Wolfe, and Indian. There are lots of boat docks with brush piles planted out in front that will keep you busy as well as standing timber, laydowns and flats.
When Norman and I practice on Lake Livingston, we usually take both Boots Follmar Marine Skeeter Pro Staff boats. The reason for this is that we can cover more water in a shorter time frame. Each of us fishes differently; and in separate boats, we can really get a good feel for what’s happening on the lake. Norman likes the Skeeter 202 powered by the 200 Yamaha because it’s a faster and more responsive boat and he can run way up river or down south and leave me putting around the mid-lake area and we both still have plenty of water to fish. I like the 210 with the 225 Yamaha because we have more options on the 210 along with the Lowrance Global 2000, and I also like the extra room. Because we really skip from one spot to another all over the lake, neither one of us could do without our MotorGuide PowerGator which really makes for a nice pleasant day of fishing without a lot of work on our part. We have switches on the console to raise and lower the trol motor and also have switches on the bow for the same purpose. There is no bending down 15-25 times a day, pulling a cord and lifting up the trolling motor. The older we get the more we’re into conveniences and comfort; and, the PowerGator is one item we just won’t leave home without!
Norman and I used to dread fishing Lake Livingston because we just didn’t do very well there, but I have to give a large amount of credit to the guides we’ve fished with over the years on that lake. Professional guides not only know the lake, but they know where and how the fish are and what baits will work for what type of water conditions. The information we gained from fishing with Slade and Randy Dearman has helped us over many years. Dad and son do not fish the same way either, but you could not ask for any more knowledge about that lake than what those two can provide.
Many of you will remember Randy’s B.A.S.S. win on Sam Rayburn a few years back and know that he has been a professional fisherman and B.A.S.S. touring pro for more than 20 years. Randy is sponsored by Stratos Boats, OMC, Strike King, Browning and Flowmaster. His son, Slade grew up fishing Livingston and now competes against his dad on the various circuits and has turned into quite a professional angler all on his own. They live in Onalaska and fish the lake whenever their schedules allow. Without a doubt, they are the best there is on the lake!
Learning some of the key areas to fish and baits to use will do nothing but improve your trip to Livingston. By hiring a good guide, your success and information gained will go with you and you can return another day to duplicate what you did with the guide. Why spend your vacation or tournament day being frustrated because you can’t locate or catch the fish? When you don’t have time to spend hours on hours, days, weeks and years learning a lake, why not invest in the knowledge gained by someone who has already done the homework and is a master of the lake?
Randy doesn’t have time to guide much anymore, but from time to time, you might be able to twist his arm, and if he and Slade aren’t pursuing the professional tournament tours, you might get one of them to take you out. If you would like to book a trip with one of these proficient and expert guides, call (409) 967-0460 or (409) 646-5207. – Lake Havasu
– Lake Havasu