NAFC Life Member Bill Siemantel was still on a high from being recently inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame when I handed him this map and asked him to help with this installment of North American Fisherman’s Marked Map series. It was no surprise when he immediately started peppering me with ideas on how to approach the article, the lake and everything fishing. That’s just the kind of guy he is, and is a big reason he’d just made it in the Hall of Fame.
It didn’t end there, either.
As in previous editions, we gave him an actual Navionics HotMaps Premium paper chart of a Western bass lake and told him to show NAFC members exactly where he would fish and how he would do it from December through January.
Not surprisingly, Siemantel went above and beyond, marking 40 ultra-specific spots on this fishery—any of which he says could yield the bass of a lifetime. In fact, he marked so many spots space in the magazine didn’t allow us to show all of them. But here online, ah … we’ve got all the space we want. Here is Bill Siemantel’s full list of hot spots!
Click here to see Siemantel’s marked map. His notes for each spot are below.
1. Is one of the best places in the entire lake for structure elements. In this picture the lake is down 40’ and you can see all 3-launch ramps. The set of 3 launch ramps are at the mouth of the Santa Ana River Arm on the east side of the shore. Depending on the water level any one of the ramps can produce monster bass year around on a verity of bait from jigs, crank baits, live bait, to the big trout baits. On the southeast side of all the ramps there are good structure drop offs that angle at a 45 degree with good size rocks and brush. Throwing out along the ledge of the ramps and working you bait uphill will produce the best results. At full pool the last ramp will be over 100 yards away from the north shore and is where some of the biggest winter time bass are caught on a regular basis.
2. Is the old Santa Ana Road running out to the Santa Ana Island. The point where the road enters the lake is an excellent area year around for big bass and other spices of game fish. On the west side of the road there are some scattered rocks but the key is to work both edges of the road. Light line is going to work well here with split shot RoboWorms in 4”, small crank baits and top water in the summer time. Work the roadbed out into the 18’ to 25’ depths.
3. Is a very subtle point with a ledge on the west side near a small cove with a wash coming into the lake. The wash comes right along the point and out into deeper water. This is an excellent summer spot for bass on plastic worms and top water lures. Think big jigs in the area especially after the rain, when the crawdads work their way up the wash and back down, attracting the bass.
4. Is a shallow shoreline in Wadleigh Arm. It is an excellent summer spot for large mouth bass. The fish will hold in the cabbage, which grows in this area. They will normally be on the deep edge of the cabbage, where the bottom turns to mud.
5. Is directly south of area 2. It consists of two large oak trees on the side of the roadbed. One of them is called “Pauline’s Tree” and it can be found in 30-35 foot of water. When the lake is full, follow the road out from 2 until your depth finder lights up, in this picture the lake is down 29’ and you can see the top of the tree. If you look behind Pauline you will see the roadbed entering the lake on the north shore and at full pool the water level will be past the two small docks on shore and start at the black top. When you graph don’t be afraid to go further than you think into open water to find your honey hole. This tree is a good bet for numbers of bass throughout the year but can pay big dividends in the winter months spooning over the top of the tree. Long line trolling a big trout bait over Pauline has put numbers of 10 pound fish in the boat in the winter.
6. Is a road running east to west off “Arrow Island”. When the lake is down, there is a small ledge in 8’ to 10’ on the south side of the road that holds bass from June to November. Jigs worked uphill into the funnel are deadly.
7. Is the S.W. Point of Arrow Island. This point has a lot of cobblestone rocks going from 0 to 40” of water. Because the crawdads are always there this is a year around spot. Jigs, Drop shot, cranks, and Big Baits will have their time here.
8. Is a brushy point on the east shore that slopes rather gradually and the crashes into 45’ of water. This is a good spot to quickly catch numbers of bass from 1 to 3 pounds. Drop shot rules here
9. Is a cove with a point at the mouth that is similar to 8, and a ledge running down the north side that holds good numbers of crawfish throughout the year. This is also a place the trout will rome around the mouth of the cove and working big baits on top water can produce some incredibly strikes. In the spring do not pass this place up for sight fishing bass up to 8 pounds.
10. On this point the water will drops from 5’-10’ sharply into 25’ of water. This spot has rocks and gravel and some small bushes directly on top of the point. Combination of jigs and drops will work here.
11. Consists of two sunken islands at the mouth of Dead Horse Canyon, These islands top out at 23’ when the lake is full. A good way to find them is to position your boat so that you can see the white sign at the rear of Dead Horse. This lines you up so that you will come up out of 60’ of water into 23’. Monster Tubs and Big Baits have rules here for years.
12. The first two points on the north side of Dead Horse are probably the only really good spots in the whole cove. These points are rock with a lot of brush. These spots can produce at any time of the year. The best angle is to fish up hill with jigs or worms.
13. Is a series of ledges and shoreline near the barrel boom that produce trout on the troll with lead line to bass on live crawdads or big baits year around.
14. In the southwestern part of the dam area, dropping into some of the deepest water in the lake, this is an excellent spot for bass. From spoons, split shot, jigs and carolina rigs, this place has always delivered.
15. Is on the west shore going into long valley. This is all gravel with a lot of brush and weeds and there are a lot of small cuts and ledges to attract fish. This area is excellent year around with crank baits and drop shot.
16. Is a rock point with 3 major drops on it. In early spring and early winter this is a great bass spot. The best bait here is a jig during both times.
17. Is a brush-covered point that produces throughout the summer period primarily. Though some people do well on surface plugs here, I have found a split shot Roboworm in oxblood light has always produced.
18. Is an excellent spot from June to October for bass. This is one of the best top water places on the lake.
19. Is a riprap area in the back of a cove in the “Wren’s Nest” area. This spot can yield some of the best small crank bait bite in crawdad colors year around. This place has also given up some monster slab crappie in the early spring.
20. Is a spot which declines gradually except for the west side which has a ledge dropping sharply. The bass on this early summer spot are either completely on or completely off. When it is on, this is one of the best spots on the lake for numbers of 1 to 3 pound fish. 50 fish split shot days are common here.
21. Is a steep brush covered points . This is a great spawning area from February to June with small plastic right up on the bank and worked out to 20’ of water.
22. Great deep-water spot with one tree in 30-35 foot of water. Jig or Big baits will work here in the late afternoon when the wind picks up.
23. Is a very steep rock bank with a point. Either side of the point can produce bass in 25’ to 40’ of water from mid summer to fall.
24. This is another great top water area in the summer that turns into a crank bait zone in the early fall.
25. Is a shallow water spot in the back of “Station Canyon”. This is an area of mud banks, cabbage, and grass. This is the place to pull out your light line in the after noon when the winds have muddied up the water near the banks. Fish the mud line transition to clear water and hold on.
26. This point going into “Deep Cat” is probably one of the most popular ledges in the entire lake. This ledge rises out of 60’ water to 15’ making it very easy to locate. This place will produce year around and is featured in my DVD with monster fish catches with long line trolling as one of the techniques.
27. Is a plateau and ledge in the middle of Deep Cat coming off the point on the east shore of “Deep Cat” and dropping from 15’-25’ depending on water level. This is an excellent spot for bass on an array of baits. Sit on top of the plateau and work your lures uphill.
28. This spot in known as “Fishtail” hole since the entire cove looks like a big fish tail. This spot is very shallow and drops from 15’ to 25’ of water on the east side. IF you are camping here this is a great spot to shore fish with drop shot worms in the winter to frog fishing in the summer months when the grass grows.
29. Is the old coyote boat ramp. It is usually in 25’ to 35’ of water and is one of the best winter spooning spots in the lake. A quick look with the fish finder will show you if the bass are there and then just drop your favorite spoon.
30. Is off “Dunshee Point” and is in 30 feet of water when the lake is full (in this picture the lake is down 30’). This is another place where “Micro Topography” is the key. There is one big single stump with a few large rocks that sits outside the mouth of this cove and is a 100 yards away from either side of the east or west shore. This is a very subtle point that has a main creek channel on the northwest side of it. Hold your boat on the south side and throw to the dirt road on the north shore in the picture. You will be able to fish uphill into the stump with jigs, dropshot, Carolina rigs in the spring, but in the winter a well-placed spoon or big trout baits could get you a fish of a lifetime.
31. Is a plateau and ledge formed by a creek channel from “Dunshee Point”. Fish this place in the winter with jigs when the bass are holding on the bottom and then make sure you try out the Big Baits before you leave.
32. Is the spot where the creek channel touches shore on a point on the main island. This spot drops off quickly from 25’ to 40’. Summer time crank baits up close and winter spooning off the ledge will put you in the game
33. Is a shallow water point with pea-gravel and vegetation, which is an excellent early morning and late afternoon spot for bass in the spring and summer months. This is a sleeper spot with very little structure but for some reason dragging a 4” RoboWorm will produce some great catches.
34. Is a sharply dropping rocky point, which is primarily a late summer through winter spot for bass. Depending on the water levels, this point tops out at 15’ and drops off to about 35’-50’ and is almost straight up and down. Working big baits up the point early in the morning and during heavy winds blowing into it can cause bone-jarring strikes.
35. This is the “Deer Slope” area and is one of the best spots on the main island. From springtime bed fishing to jigs or live crawdads in the winter will produce monsters.
36. Is a deep wintering spot for bass in the middle of the lake off of the creek channels ledges. The bass will stack here and can be caught with spoons, Carolina rigs, or drop shot.
37. This Orchard Point an is an excellent bass spot year around from drop shotting to trolling big bait, your odds here are very good to take home a trophy bass.
38. This is a good trout fishing area in the winter where the trout start to stack up after the plants. Trollers will use spinners in the morning and the bait fishermen with use floating cheese during the day. Remember if there are trout around, the bass are very close and top water big baits have caught their fair share of monsters here.
39. Is a road running east to west off “Arrow Island” and is east of spot number 6 on the map. In this picture the lake is down 29’ and you can see the road as it drops down the east side of the island. In 36’ of water when the lake is at full pool this east/west road will intersect with the main road that comes from area 2 on the map across the lake. At this T-intersection is one of the best spot on the island both in the spring and definitely in the winter months. With spoons, jigs, split shot, or the big trout plugs the key here is to listen to the fish and see what they want to eat on that given day. If you hold on top of the island and throw out into deep water towards the east you will cross the t- section as you work uphill. You will have to spend sometime trying to fine this place when the lake is up and just make sure you have a good GPS unit on your boat when you do. The fishermen that take the time to understand and find “Micro Topography” or the spot on spot will put themselves years ahead in the learning curve. Don’t be lazy and reap the rewards.
40. Is an all mud shallow water wash coming into the lake. There is no other real structure here other than a small depression that drops from 5’ to 8’ that is about 6 foot wide closer to the shore and 18’ to 21’ foot out from shore at a distant of up to 100 yards. In this picture I am showing you the lake when it is 42’ down and looking back to the west at area 2. During the years people have placed rocks and brush on the west and east side of the depression and is one of the most productive spots in the entire area for bass year around. Again, this is the place when understanding MICRO TOPOGRAPHY pays some big dividends and as you can see there is over 500 yards of nothing. Not paying attention to your graph as you work down this bank could make you miss a spot of a lifetime. If the lake was at full pool are you willing enough to graph out 300’ into the open water? Yes that is over a football field from shore.