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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There have been a few reports of folks struggling at Randleman lately so I thought I'd share my recent experiences. I got to fish RRR three times in September (once was 8/31 but close enough). The good news is that the fishing is about the same as this time last year. The bad news is that it was fairly slow then too. I only get out in the evenings so I can't comment on the morning bite but here goes.

8/31:
Caught 11 fish but only two were keepers. However, I lost a solid 4 lb fish and lost a couple others that felt like good bites, all because I messed up.:mad: I moved a lot and found areas with piles and piles of the yearling shad. Some places it was 4 feet thick. Saw quite a few fish on the jumps running bait. The biggest bite was on a main lake point but the rest were back in the creeks or pockets. Water temps 83-85 degrees and mostly cloudy skies.

9/7:
Caught 10 fish of which 4 were keepers. Two of these were solid 2+ lb fish and I had one that was 20.75" and weighed 4-4. Conditions were similar to 8/31 finding bait in the same types of places but less concentration. In addition to the landed fish I lost a 3 lb class fish I hooked on a crankbait and had a fish that looked 3-4 lbs follow my worm all the way back to the boat. I was in fish but they were reluctant to bite or they would bite short. Overall a pretty fine day. Water temps 78-82 degrees and mostly cloudy skies.

Water Smile Goggles Sunglasses Fisherman

The highlight fish. I took 3 photos of this fish and they were all terrible, this was the best. I really need a camera mount!!

9/19:
Knew it was going to be post frontal and possibly tougher but was even harder than I thought. I only landed 7 fish and no keepers. Missed a couple decent feeling hookups on a worm but they just came off. Like the last trip I got quite a few bites that were very un-agressive. Shady areas and wood were the best areas. This time I saw almost none of the tiny yearling shad and saw more of the larger shad. I don't know where all the little guys went. Water temps 76-78 with bluebird skies.

The water has cooled considerably in the past 20 days. This is moving all the bait, as expected, into creeks and pockets (from the mouth back till the water is 8-10 feet deep is a good rule of thumb). Most of the good bites have come off of wood. I believe if you can find a concentration of bait and there is any decent cover nearby you are in fish. Getting them to bite is the challenge (I've wondered if they just have too much food). My best success has come from moving and covering lots of water, however, if you get multiple bites in an area then revisit it because you can get bit again. T-rig plastic is working as well as crankbaits and I've gotten a few bites on jerkbaits and jigs. In my experience you aren't going to get 20-30 fish days right now but you can still catch good quality fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
One other thing I wanted to mention about the lake is that is is down at least 3 feet (maybe closer to 4) and is as clear as I ever remember it being. I have found quite a few rocks/stumps etc that I never knew were there.

Fun fact: If the lake is down 3 feet and the surface area is 3,000 acres then it will need about 2.9 billion gallons of water to get to full pool.:eek:
 

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Red X Angler
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Thanks for the update, Andrew. I have not been able to make it out there lately so it's good to get some feedback on what's going on out there. Sounds like I should try to go if it's just for cover-spotting for Spring. ;) Tough days this time of year out there have been my norm as well. Not sure if it's that the fish are feeding only in short bursts as the season transitions, or if it's that the fishing are all over the shad and they are just doing it in areas I have not yet located or learned to find / track.

I had a follow like you described on a worm out at Belews on Saturday, was a good sized fish (like probably 3-4lb class, which is a nice fish for that lake) that veered off when it saw me and retreated back to the deep laydown it came from. I was there for family / floating / swimming purposes and got to fish a grand total of probably 20 minutes.

Hopefully there will be some better days before they close for the season. I really wish Randleman would open year-round like almost all the other munincipal lakes. The tougher bite in Sept/Oct causes me to turn my attention elsewhere and knowing it's closing soon doesn't motivate me to get out there and try to really learn what's going on... I'd rather spend what time I do have on a lake I can still fish after November. :D
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the update, Andrew. I have not been able to make it out there lately so it's good to get some feedback on what's going on out there. Sounds like I should try to go if it's just for cover-spotting for Spring. ;) Tough days this time of year out there have been my norm as well. Not sure if it's that the fish are feeding only in short bursts as the season transitions, or if it's that the fishing are all over the shad and they are just doing it in areas I have not yet located or learned to find / track.

I had a follow like you described on a worm out at Belews on Saturday, was a good sized fish (like probably 3-4lb class, which is a nice fish for that lake) that veered off when it saw me and retreated back to the deep laydown it came from. I was there for family / floating / swimming purposes and got to fish a grand total of probably 20 minutes.

Hopefully there will be some better days before they close for the season. I really wish Randleman would open year-round like almost all the other munincipal lakes. The tougher bite in Sept/Oct causes me to turn my attention elsewhere and knowing it's closing soon doesn't motivate me to get out there and try to really learn what's going on... I'd rather spend what time I do have on a lake I can still fish after November. :D
I really do believe that they are very well fed and unless you run across them in an eating mood you have to coax that reaction strike out of them. I also think they scatter more following the shad schools. As another check on the lake I took some data from my fishing log and compared fall by year and by month. I have only fished out there in November a couple times so this is just Sept/Oct. From what I see, it is performing pretty average for numbers (I didn't really know what I was doing in 2010 and 2012 was a definite outlier). Encouragingly it appears that I'm getting better at catching quality fish in the fall. Then again this may be terrible and my averages are lame.

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Red X Angler
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Note that website says closed Monday - Thursday but unless it's changed it's actually Monday - Tuesday. They are open Wed-Sun each week, and they close for winter after November until March.
 

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Red X Angler
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Belews is not limited to the Hot Hole in the Winter. We catch fish all over the lake, depending where the shad are and a few other factors. It can be challenging but I don't usually get skunked there. The two times I went to Badin last Winter I couldn't find a single bite.

The difference with the munincipal lakes for me is that they are half the travel of Badin or Belews or less. :D
 
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