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Jonister

Where did the fish go?!

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So I was out in my kayak today, in a local river. Now I say river, more like a tributary of a very big river, but big enough to be it's own river, say a slough. 3 weeks ago it was a fine 70 or so degrees. After a very good rain, and some chilly weather, it has dropped to 55 or so. I was thinking it would be in the mid sixties, as the water was last year this time of year, but it wasn't so I found myself kinda stuck, and not catching fish. Now there are large mouth here, but they are few and far between, so I was mainly targeting smallmouth. Anyways, I fished all day, throughout both tides, bank beating with spinner baits and crank baits, and then off shore with plastics. I sturgeon fished for lunch, and then went for bass again. After no luck, I went looking for warmer water and found it went from 55.6 to 56.7 in a creek arm so I fished there. I could not scrap up a single fish throughout the whole day. Not even a dink. Towards the end of the day, I started marking shad (American shad migrating out to the ocean) up this creek about 300 yds in. I thought about putting on a spybait, or perhaps a jerk bait, but ended up going in. (Today is homecoming, otherwise I'd still be out there) so my question is, what should I have done? I feel I was a step in the right direction looking for bait, and with the warmer water, but couldn't connect on fish. Any help is greatly appreciated! Any lure suggestions? What to do? Thanks!

 

One more thing, around here we have crawfish, and Siberian prawns as the main food source. I have just noticed the prawns this year, but the bass have been stuffing on them. Once a year in the fall to about late November, the juvenile American shad also are around Migrating to the ocean. There are also little congregations of panfish, or usual minnows and such. 

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In many rivers smallmouth will migrate out of the tribs into the main river toward their wintering areas when the water temps drop in the fall. Next trip go to where the tributary meets the main river. 

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I could definitely try that. It's kinda hard to disect out there, as most of it is 60 foot deep. There is some knarly structure out there, and steep ledges and flats though.  I can also think of a few other areas out in the river that I noticed this summer, that might hold fish. Do you think they would move 10 miles to winter? There are some pretty deep holes closer up this slough. Up the slough it's mainly 20-40 foot as far as the main channel goes, but there are a few holes to 70 ft. Any ideas as to what I could fish that deep? A Texas rigged crank bait? a drop shot? 

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They won't necessarily go to the deepest parts of the main river. They may not travel as far as the main river at all. You'll just have to explore to try and find them. 

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Some days they just don't bite. Maybe downsize line and bait when the temp drops. Also a suspending jerkbait sitting still for long periods can work

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If the fish are eating things that crawl, mimic things that crawl.  Tube on a shakey head works well for me when the water temp drops, but you have to be patient and let it sit sometimes. You have current on your side so it could be a boring day for you since the current will do all of the work. 

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In rivers this time of year, fish definitely move around a lot to get close to their wintering areas. Here today gone tomorrow for sure applies, but when you do find them, they usually aren't alone.

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Thanks guys! I went out again today to try to get my anchor back after losing it yesterday in bad current. Had to abandon it. I did notice today that even on the peak incoming, water was still moving out. I only brought one rod today and caught some sturgeon, I mainly wanted my anchor back. Same thing though, bait mid-level down about 12 ft up, and down stream of the adjoining slough in 56 degrees. I think I will have to try the jerk bait, and some slow stuff next time. 

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