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salmotrutta

How would you fish this?

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Fishing a small lake in New England this weekend that has a nice population of smelt.This lake has two small basins (about 40 to 50 ft, deep) where the smelt will school up in the summer.Should i use my electronics to locate suspended smallies or perhaps fish the ledges that drop into the basins.My goal is to land a 5lber with my personal best coming from there during the ice fishing season(4-2).What tactics and lures would you use?Very clear water.

 

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Got a topo map or care to take a screen shot of google earth?

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Suspending smallies can be a difficult venture, especially in clear water. Can they be tempted? Of course, but in that clear water they can be spooked too. If you can find the smelt trapped against a ledge then by all means fish there. 

But I would start as I always do, be on the water when the sun begins to rise and ride the shallower topwater bite as long as possible, then switch over to a spinnerbait, or crankbait/ jerkbait, in windy conditions. With laydown conditions a swimbait or bottom bouncing lure such as a jighead with a grub or small worm, a dropshot, etc. 

 The trick or "issue" with such clear water is the fact that the deeper they are holding? the easier it is for them to see you. For example, on sebago lake theres a huge smelt population, but with almost 30 feet of clarity  the large smallies see you a mile away from any depth, no matter how much the bass are keying in on smelts, even if your using live smelt for bait, your gunna have a hard time getting a bite. They know you are there. Wind will help greatly, and can be the difference between a great day or bust.

 Clear water tactics are a must,  albeit flourocarbon lines or thin mono's are imperative,..long casts,.. and natural looking baits. When the conditions are good you can have a banner day on a clear water lake. but those days when the skies are clear, the sun is beaming and there's no wind whatsoever? Can be tough, and I say "can" because sometimes the unusual will occur and anything you throw gets bit,.but those days are few and far between.

 Small clear water lakes with healthy smelt populations are great lakes to target up here and can actually be difficult at times to find the mass population of bait as they sometimes will hug the bottom like a sheet on a bed,..On these days i get a evil smirk on my face when i see that there's no "baitballs" on my lcr. I know exactly whats up and fish my favorite finesse bait, the grub on a jighad. The smallies are pinning the bait on the bottom, looking for the weaker/easier meal, and a slow fished smoke grub, or smelt patterned 4 inch straight tail worm, or slugo is the ticket.

 On days when I do see baitballs on the lcr I will target the areas where there is some type of structure that the depth the bait is holding at, a drop, ledge, hump, brushpile etc. The activley feeding smallies will hang out on these waiting to ambush,...Again, using the same baits as above.

So,... to sum up your question? It depends on conditions

I hope this helps some and good luck

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