The e-mail Inbox recently contained an offering from Capt. Steve Hollensed, the Orvis endorsed fly fishing guide that specializes in Lake Texoma striped bass.

The e-mail Inbox recently contained an offering from Capt. Steve Hollensed, the Orvis endorsed fly fishing guide that specializes in Lake Texoma striped bass.


The e-mail from the Tom Bean based guide got me to smiling.


And it jump-started the annual transition where yours truly morphs from a bowhunter and a waterfowl hunter during the fall into a card-carrying fisherman during the spring and summer.


What did Hollensed’s e-mail say to start this transition?


"The lake is unusually low — about eight-feet low — for this time of year due to hydroelectric generation," wrote Hollensed (www.flywaterangling.com; (903-546-6237). "Visibility is good over most parts of the lake now and there is a wide range in surface water temps.


"The fishing is good to very good (right now)," continued Hollensed. "Larger stripers are beginning to stage for spring spawning. Although we are not catching large numbers of fish, this is a great time for catching big stripers.


"Larger streamer patterns are working best, and of course ‘it’s no use unless they are chartreuse.’"


Those words also brought a smile to my face since they caused me to remember the words of another fly fishing friend of mine, the late John Hahn of Kingston, Okla.


Before health problems sidelined him, Hahn preached to me for several years that I needed to use this time of the year — the winter months — to chase stripers on the fly.


And not so much time spent chasing bucks and ducks.


"Lynn, you’ve got to come try this wintertime fly fishing for stripers with me," Hahn would tell me. "It’s just crazy."


How crazy? Hahn’s clients enjoyed great cold water fly fishing action most years in December, January, and February, often catching good numbers of stripers tipping the scales between four and eight-pounds.


Those catches would be interspersed almost daily with the occasional monster linesider pushing the scale to between 10 and 15-pounds.


On at least one occasion, anglers in Hahn’s boat landed nearly a dozen double-digit stripers on the fly — all within sight of their launching point.


What’s the key to coldwater striper success on Texoma?


Simple — find some of the aquatic clouds of threadfin shad that roam the lake by the gazillions and hang on.


"Don’t think that they don’t know where the bait is," Hahn once told me. "You have to begin your search there.


"Learn what the prey species is doing and where he is, because the predators will be there."


In the colder months, anglers can pick up visual clues on where the prey and predator interaction is taking place by simply looking for the sea gulls that winter on Texoma.


When stripers are on the feed, gulls will often hover noisily above the linesiders to pick off wounded baitfish on the surface.


These feeding frenzies are often found in the lake’s primary creek channels, coves and marina basins during the colder months since the shad migrate there seeking warmer water temperatures.


As the winter wears on, however, the river channels become important for stripers as they begin to stage for the spring spawn.


With that last idea in mind, Hahn would rely on a combination of fishing electronics, knowledge of the lake’s underwater features and terrain, and knowledge of the nomadic tendencies of open water stripers to find late winter success.


Today, Hollensed does the same thing and has wintertime results that mirror or exceed what Hahn was doing on Texoma over a decade ago.


"What we have here is an inland sea," Hahn once told me during a fly tying session. "But here, with very few exceptions, we can find these fish. It takes experience, trial and error, and time to understand what you can do to fire these fish and to get them to eat."


When an angler finally finds a Texoma striper willing to eat during the cold water months, odds are that angler has found a big fish or two.


And those same odds are high that there will also be a whole lot of that fish’s piscatorial buddies hanging around too.


Just waiting to munch on a fly.


And that’s when the striped bass fishing action on Lake Texoma can be good, crazy good at times, even in the dead of winter.