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BassDude802

Stained Shallow River

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Im in southern VT and for a few days dragging a tube was very productive. It rained one night and this usually clear river became stained / borderline dirty. The tube bite shut off. Ended up skunking that day on a river I know is loaded with smallies. In hindsight I should have thrown a few crank baits to perhaps get a reaction strike. What else is effective in these conditions?

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Spinnerbait, spinnerbait, and spinnerbait.  I like 1/4 to 1/2 generally white and any loud color you want.  Also like black or purple with silver.

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How stained is the river?  Smallmouth rely very heavily on sight and can be really, really tough if the water starts to get into the chocolate milk realm.  If the water is slightly stained/tannic/algae stained, natural colors with some fluorescent colors (chartreuse, fire tiger, etc) mixed in can be productive.  In lightly to moderate stained water, I like willow blades and flash.  Similarly, you might also be able to keep your finesse presentation by adding rattles to your tubes or jig/craw combos.  Rattle traps and cranks can also be really effective. 

 

From moderately stained to muddy water, I prefer dark colors, thump, and sometimes a larger sized presentation.  Rattle traps (if I can fish them slower without hanging up in the current) and black Colorado blade spinner baits are good choices.  I also like adding either a grub or small swim bait trailer to the spinnerbait for a larger profile and more vibration.  

 

Probably the the best option is simply to move.  Try to find a creek or channel with clearer water and fish the seam where the two water colors meet.  Often, creeks running into the river will clear up faster than the main river itself.  When this is the case, you can usually fish a creek mouth pattern and follow it all along the seam where it joins the main current.  This can be a very productive pattern when the main river looks like chocolate milk.  

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Anything firetiger in stained smallie water

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Just went through this exact thing on my local river. Ended up throwing a blue/black jig with a Pit Boss trailer around eddies and rocks. For searching baits it was a rattling crawdad colored crankbait. Always focusing on weedlines, rock piles, anything "different" and casting upriver and bringing it down with the current. 

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Try topwater like a buzzbait or jitterbug. I use those quite a bit around here and they do well in the current. If primarily fishing eddies or slower current consider a popper. Spinnerbaits are also good options in dirtier water if there is enough water to retrieve them in 

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