Sand bass, tilapia picks for Montgomery

January 18, 2014


Craig Montgomery is an avid angler on our two home lakes, namely Lake Granbury and Squaw Creek Reservoir. He is also one of the many folks who ha ve been focusing in on the excellent tilapia fishing at Squaw Creek.

Craig has resided in Granbury for over 14 years, but has lived in the area for around 27 years. He is a regular on the lake, and I see him out there often.

He likes to focus on “catching” sand bass on Granbury.”

Granbury’s abundant sand bass population usually doesn’t disappoint him.

Craig’s favorite locations on Granbury include areas close to the dam, under the power lines in “Striper Alley,” buoy 42 and around the 377 business railroad bridge.

With the lake down 9 feet, use of a small fishing boat is tricky but he still manages to get out and enjoy the outdoors when he can.

Craig also said that when the lake level is normal, he likes fishing the river near Tin Top and other holes in the river for sand bass and crappie.

“I can’t wait for that rain that will refill the lake,” he said.

We all have been saying that as well.

Craig’s favorite baits include live shad and jigging slabs for sand bass.

Craig also lives in a subdivision that has several tanks that he fishes regularly for black bass. He likes to toss a live shad fished under a cork fishing from the bank and catches some nice black bass.

Late last year and this winter, Craig has been focusing his fishing time on Squaw Creek Lake. We all know that Squaw Creek is a power plant lake that is kept warm year-round.

Tilipia, which is an invasive species that has inadvertently populated Squaw Creek, has many anglers catching these in numbers and enjoying the table fare they can provide. The warm water in Squaw Creek allows this tropical fish to thrive year-round.

Craig reminds us that “If you catch a tilapia, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department does not allow you to release it back into the lake, which is the law.”

Craig also goes on to explain that “Tilapia thrive in water greater than 70 degrees fahrenheit and they typically feed on algae on rocks typically in shallow water”.

Craig fishes for tilapia with his Ultra-Lite gear, small Eagle Claw hook, float about 18 inches deep or shallower and with a small piece of a night-crawler.

“Tilapia have been eating algae (salads) all their life. When you throw a piece of night-crawler (steak) into the water, they immediately scatter,” said Craig.

“But then one of the tilapia realizes, is that a steak? Then, feeding frenzy starts.”

On the average, Craig catches 50 to 80 tilapia panfish in an outing. Tilapias have been caught as big as 16 inches long on Squaw Creek.

“Tilapias are a non-fishy tasting fish that you see for sale in all the local grocery stores,” he said.

Craig has been able to get his sons (Austin and Brandon) to eat tilapia, as they will only typically eat fish from the grocery store. His wife, Lisa, prepares the tilapia filets with taco seasoning and pan fries them with a little oil and then puts them on a flour tortilla with Mexican sour cream sauce, cheese and lettuce.

“Tilapia tacos are awesome,” he said.


Water temperatures continue to hover in the low to middle 40s and very little fishing activity has been taking place. Granbury continues to be around 9 feet low, and one should be careful launching at the only two open ramps (Rough Creek Park and ramp by the Hilton).

Some warming is in the forecast so hopefully we will get some decent fishing reports shortly.

The best fishing reports continue to come from Squaw Creek (power plant lake). Numerous boaters wait in line to get on this warm water each weekend. The lake is open to 100 boats per day on Friday thru Sunday.

You must call and reserve your spot for the upcoming weekend.

Black bass to 5lbs are being caught on soft plastics near main lake points and some early shallow water spawning activities have been reported. Tilapia, of course, can be located by the island in shallow water. Best bait is pieces of night crawlers fished under a cork.

Best fishing reports for striped bass continue to come from Texoma. However, this past week had many folks breaking ice in the sloughs where you launch boats.

Lake Fork Share-a-lunkers are being chased by many as this trophy lake already has two Share-a-lunkers caught this year (largemouth bass over 13 lbs).

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Category: Sports Archived