Jim Chapman (Cooper) Lake offers some of the best big bass fishing in the state with Hybrid Florida strain largemouth bass. Other fine fishing includes crappie and catfish. There are several fish attractors out in the main body of the lake. These areas are generally man-made brush piles, and they are marked by buoys marked Fish Attractors. These areas are well known for catching crappie.
Many anglers enjoy fishing from the discharge channel of the Outlet Works. This area is located off of FM 1529 and CR 4795 below the dam. There is a parking lot for your fishing convenience. Anglers land many crappie and catfish from this area. This area is a main attraction when water is being released after a heavy rainfall event. A fishing pier is offered along the discharge tube. Caution must be exercised if you are fishing from the bank as this area becomes turbulent with gate changes. Pay attention at all times and listen for the siren which sounds before each gate change.
Largemouth bass are the most popular sportfish in the reservoir. White bass and hybrid striped bass also provide excellent fisheries especially in the lake's open water areas. Because hybrid striped bass do not reproduce, they are stocked annually by TPWD to maintain the fishery. Crappie fishing is generally good, especially in the lake's abundant standing timber and brush piles. Though channel, blue, and flathead catfish are all present, channel catfish are most abundant and provide an excellent sport fishery.
Flooded timber is found in most of the creeks, along the shoreline and in the upper half of Cooper Reservoir. Access to the west half of the lake is through boat lanes, sedimentation lines and openings in the timber. The main river channel is a popular area for spring fishing. Numerous small islands and fencerows also provide structure for largemouth bass anglers. Aquatic vegetation is sparse, but there are areas of floating aquatics (lotus, water primrose), and native emergents (cattails, smartweed). The only shore development is at the state park units. There are no other boat docks or boat houses.
FISHING TIPS AND TACTICS
Largemouth bass anglers are most successful on this reservoir during the spring, fall, and winter months. Topwater baits such as buzzbaits, Zara Spooks, and Pop-R's are popular in the early morning and evening hours. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are also productive fished along main-lake points and flooded timber. Popular soft plastic baits include worms, tubes, grubs, and soft-jerkbaits. In summer and early fall, schooling white bass and hybrid striped bass concentrate around main-lake points and humps. Topwater baits, jigging spoons, grubs, and lipless crankbaits are all popular. Techniques for hybrid stripers include trolling with in-line spinners and crankbaits and vertically jigging bucktail jigs. Live bait presentations for both hybrid striped and white bass are popular at all times of the year.
The catfish population is dominated by channel catfish, although anglers can also catch blue and flathead catfish. Stinkbait and cut-bait work well for channel and blue catfish, while live bait is preferred for flathead cats. Crappie are commonly sought in Cooper Reservoir's abundant standing timber and brush piles. Live minnows and crappie jigs are among the most popular baits used. Bank anglers are often successful fishing for crappie on the "wall" at the Heron Harbor Day Use Area in the South Sulphur Unit of Cooper Lake State Park. The Cooper Dam tailrace area also provides good bank access for a variety of sport fish.
Address: Hwy 19 and Hwy 24, twenty miles N of I-30.
Our Email: CESWF-OD-CP@swf02.usace.army.mil
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