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Josh Smith

Cold Water River Bass Fishing? Tips?

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Hi Folks,

 

I have never fished for bass in a cold water river.  It snowed a bunch yesterday, and dropped to 12°F last night.

 

I've done OK with walleye in the (distant) past under these conditions.  Never caught bass under these conditions, but never tried.

 

The depth of the river is generally an average of 5ft to 6ft or less, though I've never tried the outside bends in some spots where I suspect it's deeper; they're hard to get to.

 

This is a cold snap and even last week we had one day at 70­°F.

 

I'm thinking jerkbait as long as the current isn't too fast; I also have some spoons packed in my small tackle box.

 

I do have my jigs as always, though only one is a hair jig, black with silver spinners.  The others are blue or green craws with silicon skirts. 

 

The lipless crankbaits (Rat-L-Traps, mostly) have come out as well.  I've had success in fall weather with these by reeling a few turns then stopping, then reeling again, but always did this in fall lakes, not rivers.

 

What does cold do to fluorocarbon line, by the way?  Anything?

 

Anything you can tell me about cold water river bass fishing would be helpful.

 

Thank you,

 

Josh

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I go below a dam on a small river occasionally in the winter . I just hope to catch a fish or two . Somedays I will catch several with   white bass , crappie or walleye mixed in . My best spot is a small chute out of the current and my most successful lure has been a clear crappie grub with flake on a 1/16th ounce black jig head with white eyes and black pupil. I was talking with my uncle one day who fishes the same spot in the winter and he told be that he catches twice the fish with a jig head that has eyes , reconfirming what I thought .

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Rage Tail Menance T-rigged (bullet weight). Retrieve the bait so it just nicks the bottom

occasionally. Pop the bait whenever you hit a rock.

 

http://www.bassresource.com/bass-fishing-forums/topic/163835-its-on-at-pickwick/#entry1855383

 

 

 

 

:fishing-026:

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A smaller jig-n-pig or Erie Darter jr fished SLOW.

Bass don't necessarily seek out the deepest water in winter. Look for areas with deeper water but where they can escape current easily at any river level without using much energy. Fish on the days with rising air and water temps if possible.

What are the water temps?

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Monofilament absorbs water so freezing temperatures can have a negative impact on mono.

Your rod guides can freeze up so use an oil based spray to keep the ice off of them.

Flouro may get somewhat stiff but you can still fish it.

In the river the bass will still hold to structure although they may be deeper some days.

If you have a sunny day the bass will go to the rocks and shallows to enjoy the warmer water.

But they will not stray too far from their "home" structure area.

Since it is cold the bass do not want to exert much energy to capture a meal.

So you fish slow and cast to all cover and structure you can find.

Jerkbaits are good if the water is clear and the bass can see the jerkbaits.

Fish the jerkbaits, slow.

A "bulky" plastic or jig may work.

Don't forget your hair jigs. They work well in cold water.

Lipless crankbaits on a 5:1 reel may be your ticket, too.

Have fun and be sure to alert family members where you will be and at what time you will be home.

Remember your needle nose pliers, too.

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Look for cover and structure that breaks up the current, and wear a pfd especially in this cold weather.

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The first thing you need to do is find slack water with little to no current and if the slack water has an eddy, that is even better. The best time to do this is during a warming trend, if possible but if not then try to fish the warmest part of the day. The baits I use are determined by water temp, if the water is under 40 degrees, I'll use a hair jig, the size depends on the depth but use the lightest you can that will hit the bottom. If the water tem is 44 to 40 then I'll use a tube or an Erie darter fished on a light jig head, and over 44 degrees I'll use a jerkbait.

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Shad rap, 3/16oz blade bait (Johnson thin fisher is the only lightweight one I have found, change hooks), and a t-rigged finesse worm fished SLOW! Like a jerkvait but instead of jerking between pauses you drag it

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Slack water areas with rock and a darker bottom (absorbs heat better) that gets a good amount of sunlight.  Try some of the smaller football jigs and small craw trailers.  I do really well on Bass Patrol's 1/4oz  jigs (both living rubber and silicone)  and a Tiny Paca Chunk or 2 1/2" Trigger X Flappin Craw.  Then drag it slowly.  Also have done well on a dropshot fished really slow.  Carry a thermometer with you as well so you can keep an eye on water temps to give you a better idea about how slow you need to fish.

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Thank you, gents. I see things I'm doing right (like fishing slack water) but I'm also seeing things I'm doing wrong, with at least two wrong assumptions I made based on lake bass behavior.

I do still need to take the water temp as I'm sure it's dropped in the past week.

My favorite spot along this river has a rock perch that puts me in mind of fishing from a boat. This river is one you'd canoe on or wade in the summer; there are too many hazards for bass boats and there's absolutely no way I'd be able to use my deep "V" in it for any distance at all.

I'm looking forward to keeping active the entire year this year. Thank you!

Regards,

Josh

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