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Fishing small to medium, rivers and creeks for smallies

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#1 smashingsmallies


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Posted March 24 2010 - 02:47 PM

  I pretty much fish exclusively 2 small to medium sized rivers in a city and 2 small to medium sized creeks, one in city and the other 10 miles out.  Both rivers are of the muddy type, one shallow.  One creek stays relatively clear and the other is hit and miss.  I grew up fishing a river in my hometown in Minnesota and rivers are my favorite.  For the last 4 yrs I've fished nothing but the above rivers and the fishing has been incredible.
  I do very well in how I fish them now-mainly twister jigs, sluggo's, some various other's but the number one method I use is an 1/8 oz jig head with 4" - 6" twisters in various colors which can change from hole to hole.
  I'm looking for others who fish these type of waters to maybe exchange idea's, techniques, lures, presentation's.  Maybe talk about the cycle of the smally on a creek and river and there locations throughout the year,etc...
  Even though I do pretty good, I just feel like there is so much more out there to learn--I wanna crank bait more etc...One of my favorite ways to learn new things is to ask every single local I see on or off the water what they know about the fishing in this area--I've received several tips that have put me on many-a-fish.  I just crave knowledge when it comes to fishing and I would like to talk more with those who do this kind of fishing.  I fish a kayak with a dog behind me and I get to fish all kinds of water that most can't imagine getting to. 
  So if your up to swapping some techniques or styles of fishing I would love to hear from you.  Thanks for your time.  John

#2 RyneB



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Posted March 24 2010 - 03:52 PM

I like to throw a Bomber Model A crankbait in Bengal Firetiger color. One thing i got into last year was Carolina rigging a Yum Crawbug or a Zoom Baby Brush hog. I catch a lot of fish on hard jerkbaits also. An XR-6 X rap in chart. clown color is a smallie catcher, and a silver or clown smithwick rogue for a bigger profile bait. Small chart. spinnerbaits seem to work when the water is high ande muddy. Besides a grub and jig head, i rarely catch fish on the same bait in back to back days. One day ill kill them on a Senko, the next day i wont get a bite.

#3 smashingsmallies


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Posted March 24 2010 - 04:54 PM

Wow, a load of info-thanks.  I need some time to process this a little.  Anybody else got some tips or wanna talk this type of fishin'?

#4 pitchin fool

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Posted March 24 2010 - 06:08 PM

Way more ways to fish.  Texas rigged plastics of any kind is my fav.

#5 RandySBreth


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Posted March 25 2010 - 06:53 AM

I fish lots of small-to-medium rivers over here in the Ozarks, but of course my rivers tend to be pretty clear. When they are a little muddy, I like to use cranks and spinnerbaits, well, I like to use cranks and spinnerbaits when they're clear, too! But I think you'll do good using some lures with a little more noise and vibration in off-colored water.
One thing that lot's of folks don't get about Smallmouths in current is when the water is warmest they can be super-aggressive. July, August, and September are my best months for big Smallies from these rivers, and I usually catch them burning a spinnerbait, bouncing a crank though flooded timber, or aggressively working a topwater or wakebait.
When the water is at it warmest, think KVD and fish fast. Some days you'll have to slow it down a notch, but a majority of the time speed works. 

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#6 Flywatersmallie


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Posted March 25 2010 - 02:15 PM

99% of my fishing is for river smallies. One of my favorite tactics is, during the summer cover LOTS of water with a white Booyah Pond Magic buzz bait. Even if you don't hook up, they will tell you where they are. Also those Rebel craws in the tiny size, grubs, 2.5" tubes, inline spinners all work at certain times.When the crayfish are out and about, I will often spend time fishing riprap with a TX rigged craw, either Netbait, Rage Tail or Berkley Chigger Craw. I don't own a boat, well, not with a motor anyway. I either wade, bank fish or from my canoe.

#7 badog


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Posted March 28 2010 - 11:49 AM

I fish the Tuolumne river, which is a small river. I throw small Panther Martins in the Bullfrog color. and the stinger grubs. These lures never let me down!!!


#8 BassThumb


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Posted March 31 2010 - 09:58 PM

Wading will open up a whole new level to river smallie fishing.  Felt bottom boots are the way to go, and you don't even need waders, just long pants to conceal and protect your legs.

Here's some lure tips:


#9 lineman711


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Posted April 01 2010 - 09:39 AM

Sounds like you fish similar water to what I do.  I'm always buying and trying new baits, some of them good, some not so good.  Throughout ten+ years of heavy fishing I've found a few favorites that always produce in my area.

Craw colored 3" tube, weightless.  A favorite of my wife, seems hard to fish wrong and produces good year round.

Junebug or black colored Senko.  Rigged T style on a 4/0 EWG.  Very good for deeper holes and/or slow moving water.

Rapala original floating.  F7 or F9 size.  My all time top crankbait.  Consistent year round and in all but the deepest water.

Bandit bomber style cranks.  I like the 200 series in rootbeer color.  Fished slow from upstream or burned across.  Seems to target bigger fish.  For extra murky water I use Crawfish/orange belly or craw chartreuse brown.  Hardly get snags with the big lip.

White or light colored 4" grubs on a 1/4 oz.  jighead.  Fish slow, bouncing off the bottom.

My all time favorite lure ever is this:
Posted Image
Called a little Lucy.  Not widely known, but catches fish all the time.  I've caught my PB on this small lure and keep at least 10 of them with me wherever I fish.  Black works best.  Always use a swivel and sinkers is depth permits.

Nightcrawlers and live minnows are great if available.

#10 Crookedneck


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Posted April 01 2010 - 08:21 PM

I always use a 1/4 oz unpainted jig with a motor oil / salt and pepper 4" curly tailed grub.  Hit the current breaks and bounce it up and over large rocks, letting it slide to the down current side. 

A chartruse and white spinner bait did wonders for me last year.

Early summer I like to use a frog colored Rebel Pop-r.  The smallies tear it up.  I need to find another one I lost my last one last fall to a large pike...any one know where I can get one.  They seam to not make that color any more....

"There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot." -Steven Wright

#11 smashingsmallies


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Posted April 02 2010 - 12:37 PM

Great information my fellow fishers.  I'm takin' notes in a little notebook and I've got 8 pages now...whew, alot of things to get!  I can't tell ya how much I appreciate your help and I gotta feeling there will be alot more smallies caught this year.  Best site I've found for immediate responses and the willingness to share techniques and lures.  TOP NOTCH.  John.

#12 wounded minnow

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Posted April 09 2010 - 08:59 AM

I like any soft plastic that mimics a crayfish, never really had any reason to use anything else on the smaller water...

#13 tnbassfisher



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Posted April 09 2010 - 12:24 PM

Best producers:

Zoom 4" Lizard-Texas Rigged
3.5" Tube-On a Jig Head
Rooster Tail
Senko-Texas Rigged

#14 BobP


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Posted April 09 2010 - 05:30 PM

X2 on texas rigged 4" Zoom lizards.  Watermelon, green pumpkin, brown pumpkin on a 1/0 Gamy offset hook.  The 6" lizards are good for large smallies when you can fish deeper holes.  I've floated the Shenandoah and northern Potomac many times in summer using many different baits (crankbaits, in-line spinners, worms, craws, etc) and the small lizards outfished everything.  They also spend less time hung up in rocks and grass. 

#15 singingdog


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Posted April 14 2010 - 05:34 AM

If you are a grub fisherman, think about bumping up the weight of your jigheads and fishing them like cranks: lots of contact with rocks/wood. I have gone as high as 3/4 oz, even on fairly shallow water. The more it hits structure, the better.
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