Flipping backwaters at Red River

If you're fishing the Red River any time in the next few weeks, whether it's for the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open or not, the first thing to know is that it's what BassGold calls a "riverine reservoir." That means a man-made reservoir which has kept many of its river characteristics (like shape and current) or, in this case, a river that's been dammed – so it's no longer a naturally flowing river.

That right there gives you some patterning clues. For a whole lot more information, you can create what's called a "pattern report" in BassGold. Since the Red River Open, hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission, is in late April, our pattern report is for the months of April and May. Here's what it shows.

Where to Catch 'Em

The Macro Factors graph – generally where on a body of water you want to start – shows that "backwater" and "shoreline" are where most wins and high finishes happen. For the Red River, they can really be combined into "backwater."

Some tournaments are won on the river this time of year ("main lake offshore structure" in this case means "main river" and can be combined with "river"), but not nearly as many.

The Habitat Factors graph tells the rest of the story. Wood dominates, which means backwaters, as does does "submergent veg" (underwater vegetation) and "spawning beds."

"Ledge/drop," "emergent veg" and "gravel/clay" (which can also mean sand and shell beds) mean the main river.

So if you'd prefer to fish deeper or current, or the popular closer-to-the-ramp backwaters are jammed, you can find some fish on the main river. But just know you are statistically less likely to win out there.

Best Baits

In wins, soft plastics and jigs are the deal. In other words, that's what folks are throwing in the backwaters. But spinnerbaits also factor big in high finishes, just not in wins.

A variety of shallow-cover-type moving baits – swim jigs, swimbaits, Chatterbaits, crankbaits, topwaters – pretty much factor equally in wins. To me, that means some winners have had a 1-2 punch: moving baits and flipping. But your bass fishing brain might see things differently, and looking at the pattern details in BassGold will tell more of the story.

Weights Needed

The Weights by Month graph in this pattern report shows that the Red River puts up some pretty decent weights for this time of year. Late April winners have averaged in the high teens per day, with second-fifth finishers in the mid teens per day.

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