The drawdown is not a letdown

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Skylar Hamilton

It’s the annual depth decline where reservoir water recedes like a falling tide, but its return is delayed for a few months. While waterfront homeowners appreciate the opportunity for dock/seawall maintenance and brush pile placement, the drawdown definitely creates new angling dynamics.

With manmade lakes lowered to “winter pool” to make room for the forthcoming spring rains and snow melt, shorelines, coves and shallow pockets look like a drained bathtub. Less water means less reachable cover, so fish gravitate to whatever rocks, stumps and laydowns remain submerged. 

The challenge is that fall typically presents a disjointed picture, with fish constantly moving and looking to fill their bellies before winter’s stinginess dwindles their opportunities. That said, the drawdown is hardly a dooming scenario; rather, it can actually work to the angler’s advantage.

For starters, success begins with perception. Specifically, we tend to think about what a drawdown takes — depth and the various targets once fully or partially submerged. Drawdown levels vary by lake, but receding water turns a lot of previously viable habitat into dragonfly pedestals.

But think about it: Smaller playing fields mean less area for the fish to inhabit. From a time management standpoint, there’s no question the drawdown promotes efficiency.