February is usually a great month to start fishing. Most species of fish will start to feed heavily in preparation for the spawn. This is a good time of year to catch a large fish. Water temperature will be in the 40s to low 50s.

Largemouth bass

Fishing for largemouth bass has been good. Best lures will be Alabama rigs, jerk baits, jigs, spinner baits, spoons, blade baits and crank baits. Main channel points, brush piles, rocky areas, ledges and deep docks will be the best areas to try. Best depths will be from 3 to 30 feet. Bass fishing will improve as the water temperature rises. Crawfish are a big part of their diet during the early spring. Baitfish will start to move to shallow water as the water temperature rises. Practice catch and release.

Smallmouth bass

February is a good month to catch a huge smallmouth bass. Best areas will be ledges, humps and rocky points. Best lures will be tubes, jig and pig, hair jigs, drop shots, blade baits, floating-fly-rigs, Ned rigs and medium running crank baits. Best areas will be in the mid- to lower sections of the lake. Look for isolated rock piles near deep water and areas with rocks and ledges close to deep water. Smallmouth bass feed on crawfish this time of year and will also suspend around schools of baitfish.

Striped bass

Striper fishing will improve this month. Stripers will be caught in various areas of the lake this month. Best lures will be swim baits, buck tails, spoons, Alabama rigs and Zoom flukes fished on 1/4- to 3/4-ounce lead heads. The best times to fish are cloudy days, early mornings and late afternoons. Night fishing will start to improve. The best depths will be from 2 to 40 feet. Live bait fished on down lines and planer boards will work well. Trolling is also a good method this month. Striper will constantly be on the move. Look for seagulls diving to help in locating schools of stripers feeding on baitfish.

Crappie

Fishing for crappie will be good this month. The best depths will be 5 to 15 feet. Crappie will be found around deep docks, brush piles and fallen trees. Docks with brush piles are usually good areas to find crappie. Small live minnows and 1½- to 2-inch tubes or shad-shaped plastic lures fished on 1/16- to 1/8-ounce lead heads will work best to catch crappie this month. Best areas are the main creeks and the upper sections of both rivers.

Tips of the month

The blueback herring has changed the feeding habits of the stripers and the bass. They stay suspended and deeper than most other species of baitfish. Warmer lake temperatures will move the baitfish to shallow water.

Wear a life jacket and never fish alone at night or during the winter. Keep running lights on after dark. Remember to practice catch and release and take a kid fishing.