No Doubting Thomas
the water is low, you can see some of the brush sticking out of the water.”
The brush piles are large, usually consisting of 10–15 big trees submerged in a large area. “Two or three boats could easily fish the same brush pile,” Anderson said.
Bob Schultz of Memphis, Missouri, said he makes a milk run of the brush piles whenever he visits Thomas Hill. He said he usually launches at the north ramp, close to T Road, and works his way down the lake.
“If they’re not hitting on one, I’ll move,” he said, “and I’ll keep moving until I find something. There have been days when I haven’t found anything, but that’s awful rare.”
He likes to fish a sixteenth- or eighth-ounce jig equipped with a fiber guard baited with a tube with some chartreuse in it. His favorite crappie rig is a 5 1/2-foot-long rod and an open-faced reel spooled with 6-pound-test chartreuse Fireline.
“I usually fish 8–10 feet down, even in the winter,” Schultz said. “The crappies are schooled up, and they’ll get into those brush piles—it’s just habitat, you know. Usually they are right in the brush piles or right on top of them, or at least close to them.”
Schultz often fishes vertically, letting the jig down until it hits the brush. He then raises it a few inches and slowly moves it back and forth and up and down. He said some days he likes to cast beyond a brush pile, let the snag-resistant jig drop to the bottom and bring it back slowly.
“When it hits a limb, I’ll just lift it up, and when I feel it coming over, I’ll let it drop. They usually bust it when it comes off the limb and drops,” Schultz said. “It just kind of twitches the line.”
“Thomas Hill is a well-balanced fishery,” said Mike Anderson, who manages the reservoir.
“The only thing we stock there is hybrid striped bass, and fishing for them can be really good,” Anderson said. “We’ve watched boats fishing the riprap where the warm-water discharge channel comes into the Brush Creek Arm catch hybrid bass after hybrid bass, every other cast.”
Anderson said last year Thomas Hill was identified as one of the top lakes in the state to fish for crappie. He said the word got out, and the lake received lots of fishing pressure during 2005.
“Crappie fishing is still going to be really good, except that