BARTLETT LAKE: Lake elevation is 1,784 feet, 80 % full.
The water level has dropped two feet over the past week. Look for largemouth bass hitting just off the shoreline as well as in 35-75 feet of water on deep-diving crankbaits. One possible effective technique involves letting the crankbait drop for about 4 seconds, reeling quickly three times and letting the crankbait rise again. Target shoreline points, and ledges in around 20 feet of water.
The ledges also can be targeted with various jigs and dropshot-rigged Roboworms (morning dawn.)
Check out this angler's report from Grant A.: My name is Grant A., 60 years old, Mesa resident 30 years, have fished Bartlett off and on for about 25 years. Had one of my best mornings ever Wednesday, Oct. 15. I was on the lake just before dawn -- you could see to drive the boat, but the sun had not appeared. I launched at the ramp near the marina and caught my first bass about 200 yards out.
I fished the mouth of coves trolling shad-type diving lures. In early morning the wind was intense enough, so I put my life jacket on. But I kept getting strikes, so I kept fishing. Trolling shad deep-diving lures I caught 12 largemouth bass before 10 a.m. Only two were dinks, the others were more than 14 inches, nice and fat. I fished catch-and-release that day. I had constant hits and I think it was little bass hitting the lure and being shook free. I was trolling using the gasoline motor to control the boat in the waves and was moving faster than normal.
I'm a regular fisher guy and if it is this good for me you will slay them. I would suggest fishing more than just the shore area; I saw a lot of guys doing that and I'm pretty sure the bass were in 35-75 feet of water.
Gary Senft, Bass Pro at the Mesa Bass Pro Shops, previously has been fishing the lake multiple times recently and said largemouth bass fishing is excellent. Many fish have moved to within 10 feet of the bank and as water temperatures cool, bass are hitting reaction baits such as crankbaits and buzzbaits as well as half-ounce Yamamoto jigs in watermelon and black flake. The only thing we didnt catch them on was regular top-water, he said.
Black-and-silver crankbaits worked best. A chrome Rat-L-Trap also was effective. Spinnerbaits worked right off shorelines using a steady retrieve also produced a good bite.
Overall, target points, islands and rocky shorelines.
Dropshot- and Texas-rigged Roboworms in 8-12 feet of water produced the best bites, he said.
Anglers are likely catching some huge flatheads at Bartlett right now using small bluegills (3 to 4 inchers) as bait. These voracious monsters that can tips the scales well above 50 pounds are actively roaming the lake right now looking for meals, so this is a great time to catch them. Stout poles and heavy line (20 pounds or better) are the order of the day
This is the tail end of the prime flathead catfish season, but there are anglers who fish Bartlett all winter long for these huge voracious fish. Try live bluegill or small carp as bait. Look for the deeper holes, especially uplake where there is a little current.
For bluegills, try the backs of rocky coves using night crawlers or meal worms on light tackle. Also look for large rafts of bluegill, especially up in the narrows. When you find them, small spinners, crappie jigs and worms can get you lots of fish to fry.