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CrustyMono

How to Catch a Smallie

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I am going fishing tomorrow at Francis E. Walter Dam in PA. It is now for big Smallmouth and Largemouth. Will be partly cloudy with a high of 72. I have access to a jon boat with no motor and a kayak. Id prefer to not fish from the shore because of the 100's of Copperheads. My goal was to catch a 3 pound smallmouth. But I want to catch fish. The bottom is rocky and there are many points. I probably can't go early in the morning. How should I fish the water body?

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Will you have a depthfinder?  I'd be looking at water 10 to 30 feet deep near points, or submerged humps using a drop shot rig.

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1 minute ago, Scott F said:

Will you have a depthfinder?  I'd be looking at water 10 to 30 feet deep near points, or submerged humps using a drop shot rig.

No, i only have rods, a kayak and a jon boat, nothing else

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My guess is that you might have a tough day. There is a lot of water there and fishing blind, not knowing how deep the water is, or if you are even fishing where there are any fish, is going to rely on luck. I would try to set up a drift parallel to a shore line toward a point. First pass close in and the next pass a little farther out. Try and figure out how deep by dropping a sinker under the boat and see how much line it took to get to the bottom. I probably would stay out of water more than 25 or 30 feet deep. Watch other anglers and make note of where they are fishing especially if they are fishing for and catching bass.  Good luck.

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I've fished FE Walter and you might have a hard time getting 3 lbers but you can catch numbers. The only problem is its gonna be windy so bring an anchor. Tubes and jigs around rocks will get you numbers of fish. Also try spinner baits and crank baits in the same areas cause the water is starting to cool off and fish will be more active.. Senkos and worms have worked for me there but on windy days they are hard to feel a bite with. Don't forget to try a drop shot. I've never tried them on Walters but have fished them on Wallenpaupack and it kills. Its clear water so go with natural colors.

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I would throw some kind of lipped crankbait over, through and bounced off all that Gorgeous Rock.

Check to see if the fish are shallow or close to the bank with a sqarebill like the KVD 1.5 or 1.5 shallow runner

If the waters very clear perhaps go non rattle if you have them. 

Other wise fish whatever you have.  A crayfish or baitfish pattern might be decent. 

If you see bait on & around the rock, try to match it with your bait's color pattern if possible.  Good thing is with smallie, most times it doesn't matter.  They'll choke many colors when they're on the feed.

 If they are a little deeper, like 9 - 14 ft, I like the Spro "Mike McClelland" RkCrawler 55 Crankbait quite a bit.

Spro Mike McClelland RkCrawler 55 Crankbait.jpg

But many others work very well (SK 3XD & 5XD)

A Spinnerbait zipped along the rocks just under the surface could pay dividends as well.

NOT having a depth finder is not a necessarily a SKUNK sentence when it comes to September Smallies.   You can still see & depth Transitions.  Fish that first decent drop where it goes from " I can see the bottom" to "Now I can't".  Often times the color of the water will give it away also by simply looking at the topography of the bank - one can often get a pretty good idea of how the lake bottom sets up below.  Fish the zone where you can no longer see the bottom, you might be surprised what happens.

Finally, and this may be the Important part, IF there is wind (And for your sake I hope there is), STAY IN IT !  Be safe of course, but Fish the areas (banks, points, humps, flats close to deeper water, backs of coves) with the wind blowing straight on them

Good Luck

A-Jay

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It's a notoriously tricky reservoir to fish, but I have heard plenty of stories of size and numbers.  Draw down/water level can effect fishing there significantly and without a depth finder, it can be tough.  I wish I could remember where I found my maps of that lake, having some sort of chart will be very, very helpful. 

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Thanks for the help! my plan is a drop shot, extra deep diving crankbait, and a blade bait. along the points and drop offs if i can find them...

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20 minutes ago, CrustyMono said:

Thanks for the help! my plan is a drop shot, extra deep diving crankbait, and a blade bait. along the points and drop offs if i can find them...

With NO Electronics to help you find Deep water structure or GPS Mapping to help locate potential fish funneling contours ~ your "Plan" may be akin to looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack.  Of course you may bump into one but when you don't know how the bottom sets up - fishing "Deep" water techniques like drop shot, deep cranks & a Blade bait can be tough sledding. Besides it's big water and there will be little in the way of running & gunning from point to point while you're on the row . . in the wind.

With that in mind, the shallow water option may be a more productive approach. 

Finally, Gundog's advice to "Bring An Anchor" will save your day if you're rowing around in a jon boat in a stiff breeze.  50 ft of line will help too.

A-Jay

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The water here in NEPA is starting to cool off and the smallies will be feeding up. I wouldn't worry about not having a depth finder. I've caught all my fish without one. Visible points (ones above water) usually indicate points under the water.  Just try not to get spun out by the size of the place or think its too complicated. And don't forget to get some pics of your catches and post them here. 

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The bulk of fish I've caught in the past 2 weeks have been in 6' of water or less and either in current or in adjacent flats including an 18" 3+lber in 2' of water.  You're going to want an anchor.  Basic shallow water techniques - tubes, grubs, craw/jig, spinnerbaits and shallow cranks can be very productive.  Find any maps you can and good luck!

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15 minutes ago, Turkey sandwich said:

The bulk of fish I've caught in the past 2 weeks have been in 6' of water or less and either in current or in adjacent flats including an 18" 3+lber in 2' of water.  You're going to want an anchor.  Basic shallow water techniques - tubes, grubs, craw/jig, spinnerbaits and shallow cranks can be very productive.  Find any maps you can and good luck!

 

1 hour ago, Gundog said:

The water here in NEPA is starting to cool off and the smallies will be feeding up. I wouldn't worry about not having a depth finder. I've caught all my fish without one. Visible points (ones above water) usually indicate points under the water.  Just try not to get spun out by the size of the place or think its too complicated. And don't forget to get some pics of your catches and post them here. 

Thank you both so much for the help, I am going to try to convince my friend who has a 12 foot boat and motor to come with, I will try my best and will post some pics if I am lucky!

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Good luck Crusty and have fun. :thumbsup:

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Just now, Gundog said:

Good luck Crusty and have fun. :thumbsup:

Thanks Sundog you too!

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Just now, Turkey sandwich said:

How'd it go?

My grand father came up today and we decided to go out on our lake for a little bit. bite was slow managed one 3 pounder (lake average) we decided it would be too hard to row that far with strong wind... we didn't go, i will definitely be there in the future!

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It sucks you didn't get there, but it's awesome you caught fish and hung out with your grandfather. 

For or future planning, count on there almost always being wind since it's a mountain reservoir.  The only reason I don't fish it is because I refuse to paddle a lake that big with only one access ramp.  I'm a year out from back surgery and my kayak is anything but fast.  Maybe picking up a pedal/electric drive for my kayak will change my mind, but I'm not sure.  Realistically, it's big enough to want a bass boat to fish it, but the horse power restrictions make that impossible.  

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Just now, Turkey sandwich said:

It sucks you didn't get there, but it's awesome you caught fish and hung out with your grandfather. 

For or future planning, count on there almost always being wind since it's a mountain reservoir.  The only reason I don't fish it is because I refuse to paddle a lake that big with only one access ramp.  I'm a year out from back surgery and my kayak is anything but fast.  Maybe picking up a pedal/electric drive for my kayak will change my mind, but I'm not sure.  Realistically, it's big enough to want a bass boat to fish it, but the horse power restrictions make that impossible.  

its 10 hp limit right? and I am looking at a 14 foot boat. i also have back issues, its no fun

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Nope.  It's yet another reason I tend to stick to the easy paddling on the Susquehanna. 

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On September 3, 2016 at 6:21 PM, A-Jay said:

With NO Electronics to help you find Deep water structure or GPS Mapping to help locate potential fish funneling contours ~ your "Plan" may be akin to looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack.  Of course you may bump into one but when you don't know how the bottom sets up - fishing "Deep" water techniques like drop shot, deep cranks & a Blade bait can be tough sledding. Besides it's big water and there will be little in the way of running & gunning from point to point while you're on the row . . in the wind.

With that in mind, the shallow water option may be a more productive approach. 

Finally, Gundog's advice to "Bring An Anchor" will save your day if you're rowing around in a jon boat in a stiff breeze.  50 ft of line will help too.

A-Jay

 

On September 3, 2016 at 6:50 PM, Gundog said:

The water here in NEPA is starting to cool off and the smallies will be feeding up. I wouldn't worry about not having a depth finder. I've caught all my fish without one. Visible points (ones above water) usually indicate points under the water.  Just try not to get spun out by the size of the place or think its too complicated. And don't forget to get some pics of your catches and post them here. 

 

On September 3, 2016 at 8:23 PM, Turkey sandwich said:

The bulk of fish I've caught in the past 2 weeks have been in 6' of water or less and either in current or in adjacent flats including an 18" 3+lber in 2' of water.  You're going to want an anchor.  Basic shallow water techniques - tubes, grubs, craw/jig, spinnerbaits and shallow cranks can be very productive.  Find any maps you can and good luck!

 

On September 3, 2016 at 2:55 PM, Scott F said:

My guess is that you might have a tough day. There is a lot of water there and fishing blind, not knowing how deep the water is, or if you are even fishing where there are any fish, is going to rely on luck. I would try to set up a drift parallel to a shore line toward a point. First pass close in and the next pass a little farther out. Try and figure out how deep by dropping a sinker under the boat and see how much line it took to get to the bottom. I probably would stay out of water more than 25 or 30 feet deep. Watch other anglers and make note of where they are fishing especially if they are fishing for and catching bass.  Good luck.

 

On September 5, 2016 at 0:27 AM, Mosster47 said:

Stick to the points. 

Well after finally going there, my friend and i caught 3 smallmouth, all on a pink zoom finesse worm on a drop shot. he caught a nice largemouth on a split shot rig. Also i was messing around with a trolling rod when i let 500 yards of 10 pound test crusty mono and caught a smallmouth, very funny time, water was down about forty or more feet than last time i was there (1 month)

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