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NCBasseater1

Officially stumped

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Hey guys how's it going. So I have decided that I am officially stumped. I just moved to Idaho from North Carolina and I have been previously Smallmouth fishing all my life in local bodies of water that I'm very comfortable and familiar with and Smallmouth fishing is by far my favorite type of fishing. Upon moving to Idaho I found out that I was very close to a very good Smallmouth fishery I don't know if you any of you are familiar with it but it's CJ strike in Southern Idaho. I have been probably been out  three or four trips now throwing all my normal stuff light tubes, grubs ,jerkbaits and cranks. But can't really catch em like I'm used to only three or four each trip if I even catch any. The water is slightly merky and has a high crawfish population from what I heard. I don't think it's the Baits im using I think it's not being able to find the fish I'm not sure if they've spawned already but I've heard from locals that they don't spawn until later in the year here but I'm not completely sure the water temperature varies from 60 all the way up to 68 or 69 but the majority of the fish that I see on the sonar are out about 30 yards from the bank and suspended in about 25-30 feet of water. Was just going to see if anyone had any advice or knew of anything that I should try or different areas or what should be my next step in figuring these fish out ?

Any help would be greatly appreciated !

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Welcome to the site!  Do you have maps of the lake? Is the water temperatures as high as 69 degrees?  

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the temps your reading are probably "surface" temps. down deeper it may be alot cooler. if the water truely was in the higher 60's most of the smallies "should" be done spawning ,...If the lake is loaded with crayfish? fish a crayfish lure, ie: jig and pig, texas rigged plastic craw.  suspending smallmouth bass are usually shutdown, But may be "turned on" with a finesse bait stuck in their face for a few, like a small grub on a darter head dropped down to just above their depth. or a straight tailed 4 inch worm. A suspending jerkbait or topwater should produce as well.

 give it a shot, cant hurt

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I have friends who fish CJ Strike and pound on em throwing skirtless football jigs with hula grubs and drop shotting. Are you much of a finesse fisherman? Dragging a fat tube or creature bait across points on a Carolina rig is also a local favorite there from what I've heard.

 

On another note. Have you fished Dworshak yet?

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Welcome to Idaho :).  Wish I would've seen this earlier....

I just started chasing bass last year and have been to CJ several times this year, mostly started out chasing crappie, perch, and trout up there. I threw all kinds of stuff early in the year for smallies, but just couldn't connect. Once it warmed up a bit, I've had more luck. Where are you putting in and do you know the different areas of the reservoir?

I put in at the main Strike boat launch by the dam. As you look straight out there are the narrows. If you motor through there, it opens up into the Bruneau arm. I haven't really fished there very much, but I know of some guys who do and catch bass in there. 

From the launch, if you look to the left (away from the dam/spillway), it's the Snake river arm. You can go a long ways up there. As you get into that arm, there is a little island that has buoys marking the REALLY shallow area around it. All kinds of rocks and stuff and you can catch some all around there. All along the bank from that island is also good fishing. I've had the most luck so far on the Ned rig. Various colors, they don't seem to be very picky.  A few weeks ago I went with a friend and we started in the narrows for perch and crappie, then over by the spillway for trout. Got nothing, so we went way up the Snake side to a place to try for crappie, but the school wasn't there. It was a ways into the day and we started slowly back and fished the shore along the way with a Ned rig and we ended up with around 30. Most were little dinks, but I got about a 15" and my buddy landed a fat 18" that puked up some crawdad claws. Hope that helps. 

 

Jeremy

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Your bass have already spawned. Look for rock piles or submerged rocks. Sometimes they just won't hit tubes worth a dang. You can go back 2 days later and catch them on tubes! On a recent trip, a 4" green pumpkin curly tail was the trick. my partner is a tube master and I out fished him 3 to 1. Another day I had one spit up a cisco. I started throwing white swimbaits and killed them. Sometimes your not around the fish and sometimes your around them and your not throwing the right bait. Other days it doesn't matter. They're just hungry. Those are the good days. Keep looking and experimenting. Find out what the dominant baitfish is. Match the hatch. Don't forget about throwing senko type worms. They seem to work everywhere.

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