WHAT HAD BEEN DRY was flooded for two days...

While stable water and weather are the watchword for western reservoir fishing, those who tap tidal waters know it well. Things change, and when they do, the fishermen better change as well. But even those tidal changes are predictable. You can know months in advance if the low tide will be very low, or the high very high. At Lake Skinner in the Inland Empire, change often comes suddenly, without a heads-up.

True, it’s spring yet much of the bass population doesn’t seem to vacate the reed lines most of the year. But from one day to the next, the MWD is pumping water in or out and in the ultra clear conditions, so you don’t know if you’ll have nine feet of water in front of the green tules, or just six inches beneath the mats of dead growth. For that, you can’t decide your approach until you get to the ramp and pick out a land mark.

MIKE Kramer pulled a burnt tail out of the thick stuff...

Throw in cold fronts, clear outs and turn-around Santa Ana winds and you can find yourself on a “new lake” almost daily. From Wednesday to last Friday and then to Monday of this week those changing conditions were in full force. (And as I look out the window right now, it’s blowing out of the north again.)

I'LL DROP-SHOT sometimes...

Just a week ago, with the lake perhaps five feet below high water, the fish were actually on points, some just a few boulders sticking off a tule bank and the bite was steady, and my best five (limit here is only 2/15 inches) were just over 14 pounds with 19 inches the biggest.

Two days later, the lake is up a good two feet, the dead reeds are layed over and the it’s total “bluebird.” Instead of points and the fronts of the live reeds, we had to flip the brown stuff to get a bite (drop-shot and 15-pound test). Then Monday afternoon, throw that all away. The lake was back down, the fish were milling around, but finally started biting back deeper in the reeds.

Yep. Full moon tomorrow and water around 58 degrees. And while I could try and predict what I might find–I think I’ll wait ’til I actually get there next time.