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Ozark_Basser

Quest For The 4 Lb Creek Smallie

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My boat is out of commission for a bit, so I am starting a thread/fishing log for the remainder of the winter in search of a 4 lb smallmouth caught out of one of the creeks around NW Arkansas. I have only achieved this once and it definitely wasn't in winter so this should be pretty interesting. Feel free to chime in with a report on catching a big creek smallie or any size creek smallie form that matter.

I will be fishing tomorrow and will give a detailed log tomorrow evening of how my day went.

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Looking forward to seeing the catches! Creek fishing for bass sounds like a hoot. We only have trout in smaller streams out here so I always like hearing about it. Post some pics of your stringer!

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Looking forward to seeing the catches! Creek fishing for bass sounds like a hoot. We only have trout in smaller streams out here so I always like hearing about it. Post some pics of your stringer!

We have some better than average streams around here so a 4 lber is in the cards. Pics will be posted as well.

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Have caught plenty of creek smallies wading in my area. I plan to get a little more serious about it this year myself. I'm looking at some cost effective waders to help keep warm/dry.

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Have caught plenty of creek smallies wading in my area. I plan to get a little more serious about it this year myself. I'm looking at some cost effective waders to help keep warm/dry.

All I have is some Mucks (waterproof boots). I rarely ever get in the water but sometimes it helps to cross a small shoal.

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4lbs? 20"? Try a river! Guess what we call "creeks" are different. :)

 

Look forward to your exploits. I sure have loved creek (and river) smallie fishing.

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4lbs? 20"? Try a river! Guess what we call "creeks" are different. :)

Look forward to your exploits. I sure have loved creek (and river) smallie fishing.

I guess I should call them "streams." Holes do not generally exceed 8 ft. I have pulled one out of one of the streams that was a smidge over four on a hanging scale. I have lost one that would have went close to five at the canoe on the same stream (Crooked Creek). I will be fishing the Little Buffalo National River tomorrow where I have caught my longest at 21". However, it only weighed 3 lbs.

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Miss creek smallie fishing. Biggest smallie I ever caught was out of a small creek my aunt lives on in Michigan. 6.2lbs. Freaking giant. Its know for 3lbers occasional 4 but a 6 man that was awesome.

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Have caught plenty of creek smallies wading in my area. I plan to get a little more serious about it this year myself. I'm looking at some cost effective waders to help keep warm/dry.

Get breathable waders and layer underneath. Stocking foot and get good cleated wading shoes skip the felt bottom ones.

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I went out today for a couple of hours for some bank fishing. Fishing today wasn't too bad given the conditions, but it could have been better. No giants today, but three keepers nonetheless. All three keepers were caught within ten feet of each other, with two of them from the exact same spot which was a deep, still hole with large boulders located where the river makes a 90 degree turn. I couldn't get bit anywhere where current was present. Usual hot spots such as eddies, heads of shoals, logjams, or pretty much any hole without deep water were unproductive. Both smallies were caught on a football jig with a gy twin tail trailer. The largemouth I caught was on a hand poured reaper on a shakey head.

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Well at least you were out on the water and learned something! What were the weather conditions like? Seems to me that river fishing is much easier to predict when It's a sunny day with a high pressure system moving over the area.

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Well at least you were out on the water and learned something! What were the weather conditions like? Seems to me that river fishing is much easier to predict when It's a sunny day with a high pressure system moving over the area.

Conditions were overcast skies with little wind. A cold front just moved in a day before. Water was crystal clear as usual. I expected at least one over the 17" mark but never got it. I need to get the canoe out. Winter fishing in the streams around here can be quite tough, but I have been told by one of the biologists for AGFC that the biggest smallmouth have been caught in the winter in our streams.

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Man you really got me thinking now that I need to break the waders out and go try to rock some smallies out of the small river in town here. I've fished them on my birthday the last 2 years (4th and 5th of July my birthday is the 5th) but never now when the rivers got ice on the sides

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I fish small streams a lot and have caught some nice ones but a 4lber is tough to come by.  Heres an 18" fish I caught last March out of a small stream while on my way home from work... 

 

Spinnerbait fish..

3-24-14_zps73ea90a1.jpg

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Around here anything 18" or over is considered a big one. I've only caught two over 20" out of the creeks ever. Its far more likely in Crooked Creek to catch a 4 lber than it is out of the Buffalo National River if you ask me. Although both are supposedly Blue Ribbon smallmouth streams.

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Conditions were overcast skies with little wind. A cold front just moved in a day before. Water was crystal clear as usual. I expected at least one over the 17" mark but never got it. I need to get the canoe out. Winter fishing in the streams around here can be quite tough, but I have been told by one of the biologists for AGFC that the biggest smallmouth have been caught in the winter in our streams.

Yeah that's what I've always read is that in winter conditions you will catch less fish, but they will generally be considerably larger as they have to eat more frequently. Most pros and tournament fisherman recommend fishing incredibly slow and pitching on a single spot multiple times with a huge jig. We really can't fish winter bass here unless it's through the ice (which I have no interest in,) so I'm pretty jealous. I'd go back and see if you can find a pattern, which with smallies in mind is one of the hardest fish to get a consistent bit with unless you can find them schooling. From here it gets even trickier when you throw them in an ecosystem like a small river where there is current nearly everywhere. Really tough to assess these types of fisheries but it's inspiring to see somebody trying to tackle it! Keep posting your results!

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As far as a pattern goes, I think I'm just gonna have to hop in the canoe and hop from one deep pool to the next till I find some stacked up. Got plenty of jigs since I make my own.

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As far as a pattern goes, I think I'm just gonna have to hop in the canoe and hop from one deep pool to the next till I find some stacked up. Got plenty of jigs since I make my own.

Smallmouth are the easiest for me to pattern, mainly because that was the only bass available to me. Smallmouth in small rivers, creeks etc in the winter will be in the deepest water available to them. Current is not key during winter like it is during summer. One of the best tactics in winter is to position yourself above the water you want to fish. Cast ina four inch curly tail grub into the beginning of the hole. Let it sink, dead stick it, then let out line keeping it semi slack stay in contact with your grub, and work it all the way to the back of the hole. White smoke or salt and pepper seem to work best for me. Use light line and the lightest jig head or better yet use a split shot about four inches above the grub, again the lightest weight that keeps the grub on the bottom and u in contact with it. Good luck

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Good luck on getting a 4lb stream smallie.  Not many of them out there.  Those are the big ones.

 

My biggest so far is a 3lb 18" fish out of a small local river/stream.

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Good luck on getting a 4lb stream smallie.  Not many of them out there.  Those are the big ones.

 

My biggest so far is a 3lb 18" fish out of a small local river/stream.

If you are ever in NW Arkansas, take a float trip on Crooked Creek around the Pyatt area. I have caught five 18" in one float before. However, I rarely catch them any longer.

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Streams and creeks that hold big smallmouth in the spring and summer don't always hold fish in the winter. Especially if it's close to the confluence of a bigger or deeper river.

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As far as a pattern goes, I think I'm just gonna have to hop in the canoe and hop from one deep pool to the next till I find some stacked up. Got plenty of jigs since I make my own.

Don't always concentrate on the deepest water. Check shallower sunbaked soft bottom areas near deeper water. I always look for areas that have a place for smallmouth to escape the current no matter how high the water gets throughout the winter. Also don't be afraid to let your jig sit for 30 seconds at a time, or even longer.

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I guess I should call them "streams." Holes do not generally exceed 8 ft. I have pulled one out of one of the streams that was a smidge over four on a hanging scale. I have lost one that would have went close to five at the canoe on the same stream (Crooked Creek). I will be fishing the Little Buffalo National River tomorrow where I have caught my longest at 21". However, it only weighed 3 lbs.

8 ft! My ponds and some lakes don't even exceed that... you're in a river I believe

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Don't always concentrate on the deepest water. Check shallower sunbaked soft bottom areas near deeper water. I always look for areas that have a place for smallmouth to escape the current no matter how high the water gets throughout the winter. Also don't be afraid to let your jig sit for 30 seconds at a time, or even longer.

Good point. I tend to target good looking shallow areas adjacent to deeper water first since those are usually the more aggressive fish, and they are easier to catch if they are there to feed. I'm not too sold on the soft bottom idea. The softest bottom I usually target is sand. Although there isn't a lot of areas with soft bottoms where I fish or sand for that matter. I suppose crayfish could use these areas to burrow and come out when the sun warms the area enough. Is that what you are getting at?

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Good point. I tend to target good looking shallow areas adjacent to deeper water first since those are usually the more aggressive fish, and they are easier to catch if they are there to feed. I'm not too sold on the soft bottom idea. The softest bottom I usually target is sand. Although there isn't a lot of areas with soft bottoms where I fish or sand for that matter. I suppose crayfish could use these areas to burrow and come out when the sun warms the area enough. Is that what you are getting at?

I guess I should have said darker bottom areas, which in my area are usually mud/muck. They tend to be a little warmer on a sunny day and a few degrees can make a big difference when water temps are in the 30's.

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