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A few months ago I'm mid march my friend and I caught quite a few good smallmouth in gulpha creek in hot Springs Arkansas. We returned a few weeks later expecting to catch some more good smallies but we were shut out. The creek is probably 40-50 yards wide where we were fishing and we were catching them in  creek channel of sorts that went from the regular depth of 3 feet to roughly 6 feet. The smallmouth couldn't have moved torwards the lake because the lake cannot hold smallmouth and we went as far up the creek as we could but past the or where we caught them, it gets far too shallow to hold fish. There are some deep pools that could hold them but the smallmouth could only get to them if it was high water, which is a possibility. We are just trying to figure out where the smallmouth went. 

Thanks 

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Why can't the lake hold smallmouths? Where do you think the smallies go during the cold water period? How shallow is "far too sallow to hold fish" ? 40-50 yards wide in my area is a river. Creeks that hold smallmouth can be wide enough to jump across. Smallies in my river will swim and be caught in water that would barely get your ankles wet. A "deep" hole in some areas may be only 1 foot deep.  

Reasons why you got shut out could be many. They may have been where you were fishing but weren't feeding, you may have spooked them or you didn't use the right presentation they wanted that day. If the water has warmed up, they may have moved to where the water was cooler or had more oxygen. Those are usually places where there is some current.

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^^^^ with scott on this one why can't they be in the lake? And I've caught some 3 and 4 lb smallies regularly in an area of my creek that's just inches deep. They get behind a rock or tree going across that gives that one spot a little depth in a area that's shallow ripples and wait to ambush. They look like salmon moving up a shallow to spawn chasing a square bill threw with backs out of the water. 

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As water gets warmer they will get in the faster moving stuff. They could be above or below the riffles but you need to target areas that have some irregularity. That maybe current seams, where two different currents meet; large rocks or trees, causing eddies; or ambush points like some grass.

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On 6/8/2017 at 1:58 PM, Scott F said:

Why can't the lake hold smallmouths? Where do you think the smallies go during the cold water period? How shallow is "far too sallow to hold fish" ? 40-50 yards wide in my area is a river. Creeks that hold smallmouth can be wide enough to jump across. Smallies in my river will swim and be caught in water that would barely get your ankles wet. A "deep" hole in some areas may be only 1 foot deep.  

Reasons why you got shut out could be many. They may have been where you were fishing but weren't feeding, you may have spooked them or you didn't use the right presentation they wanted that day. If the water has warmed up, they may have moved to where the water was cooler or had more oxygen. Those are usually places where there is some current.

It's not the lake it's the smallmouth strain. Most, if not all, of the native stream smallmouth in sw Arkansas are not lake combatable. Game and fish tried stocking native strains in lake Ouachita but stopped due to lack of success. They resorted to getting fish from Tennessee to stock. If they are native then they don't like lakes. I think they are called neosho smallmouth. I don't know that they never go to the lake but they won't stay there. 

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1 hour ago, bagofdonuts said:

It's not the lake it's the smallmouth strain. Most, if not all, of the native stream smallmouth in sw Arkansas are not lake combatable. Game and fish tried stocking native strains in lake Ouachita but stopped due to lack of success. They resorted to getting fish from Tennessee to stock. If they are native then they don't like lakes. I think they are called neosho smallmouth. I don't know that they never go to the lake but they won't stay there. 

Yup. Not all smallmouth are created equal. Up my way we have an Erie tributary creek, Conneaut, that holds Smallies all summer. Some big ones too. Spend their whole life in the creek. Others move from the lake into the mouth in Ohio to spawn, then head back to the Lake. Other "regular" Erie smallness spawn on deep flats and never run the creeks. Elk Creek in Pa gets a huge run from the lake to spawn but all the adults go back. They even look different then the Lake Erie fish somehow. Smaller heads for their size? Nothing official but in my eyes they are different fish. 

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