Jump to content
Drowning A Worm

High river smallmouth

Recommended Posts

I fish a river that's loaded with smallmouth during the summer. Last year I caught tons of fish from July- September, catching 40 fish was nothing. However this year with all of the rain the fishing has been terrible, the river is fast and muddy. Finding the fish really seems to be my problem, I have 1 hole that usually produces a fish or two, but even then it's hard. It seems like they only want bottom finesse rigs, I have only been able to catch them on a Neko rig. Any help would be nice, thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would change your approach.  Heavily stained or muddy water will make locating most small finesse baits very difficult.  This is when I would reach for something I can work slowly that creates a lot of sound/vibration.  Black/Blue jigs with larger trailers and rattles, chatter baits, spinnerbaits, larger crankbaits, etc all become options.  

 

Also, fish aren't going to hold in quite the same places they would hold in with low water.  The current will likely be too fast.  Look or flooded areas near current, current seams behind islands, small pockets or bays near current, etc.  Flooded areas create new feeding opportunities, and areas protected from current give fish a safe place to hang out while the water is high.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Turkey sandwich said:

I would change your approach.  Heavily stained or muddy water will make locating most small finesse baits very difficult.  This is when I would reach for something I can work slowly that creates a lot of sound/vibration.  Black/Blue jigs with larger trailers and rattles, chatter baits, spinnerbaits, larger crankbaits, etc all become options.  

 

Also, fish aren't going to hold in quite the same places they would hold in with low water.  The current will likely be too fast.  Look or flooded areas near current, current seams behind islands, small pockets or bays near current, etc.  Flooded areas create new feeding opportunities, and areas protected from current give fish a safe place to hang out while the water is high.  

For some reason they won't eat moving baits in muddy water, I didn't think of black and blue jig tho. Thanks 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, man.  Think something highly visible, loud/shiny/lots of vibration, and have options you can fish at different speeds.  Chocolate milk is a nightmare to fish in, but almost anything else can be good.  I'm a big fan of adding trailers to spinnerbaits to increase the size of their profile and I've found Yamamoto glow in the dark (not kidding) grubs can be really effective in either heavily stained/muddy water or in really lowlight conditions.  

 

The big thing is realizing that you may not find them nestled in around the edges of fast runs like you would during lower, clearer water conditions.  Moving a buzz bait or spinnerbait through flooded flats can really be money.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smallmouth in normally clear rivers are generally sight feeders. When the water gets muddy, it can really shut down the bite. Finesse baits can work very well IF you put them in the right places. The high percentage spots are VERY tight to the bank in spots where they can get out of the fast water. Small cuts along the bank, a rock, tree trunk or log can hold bass shallow that are staying out of the current. Casting into these often tiny spots requires pinpoint precision and almost no splash. These spots may be less than a foot deep. This is one time when bank fishermen might have an advantage if there is good shoreline access. Just a subtle dunking of a jig and plastic, held in place, can trigger those bass that still want to eat but won't chase anything out into the fast currents. It's tough to fish these spots from a boat. Drifting moves the boat too much. You have to anchor. Wading in these high fast waters can be dangerous. Finding a shoreline you can walk with access to those tight to the bank slack water spots is the key.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Scott F said:

Smallmouth in normally clear rivers are generally sight feeders. When the water gets muddy, it can really shut down the bite. Finesse baits can work very well IF you put them in the right places. The high percentage spots are VERY tight to the bank in spots where they can get out of the fast water. Small cuts along the bank, a rock, tree trunk or log can hold bass shallow that are staying out of the current. Casting into these often tiny spots requires pinpoint precision and almost no splash. These spots may be less than a foot deep. This is one time when bank fishermen might have an advantage if there is good shoreline access. Just a subtle dunking of a jig and plastic, held in place, can trigger those bass that still want to eat but won't chase anything out into the fast currents. It's tough to fish these spots from a boat. Drifting moves the boat too much. You have to anchor. Wading in these high fast waters can be dangerous. Finding a shoreline you can walk with access to those tight to the bank slack water spots is the key.

I went out today and caught pike, drum, and rockies. A couple dink smallies but nothing work talking about. We hit every spot on the river for half a mile. Im sure they're in those spots, just can't get em to bite

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I might be able to help with this. I fish the Susquehanna river and when the water gets high the first place we usually find fish is close to the bank, anywhere you have an eddy or current break is where they will be but for some reason they like to move close to the bank. The second thing is bait choice, my number 1 bait for that has been a 1/2oz single Colorado blade spinnerbait, and you retrieve it slow so that it is hitting the bottom but the blade is still spinning. That bait in high muddy water can get big fish to hit and this time of year you can get numbers but the giants are tough to come by but with that bait in those conditions will get you the opposite, small numbers but some bigger fish for sure.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Drowning A Worm said:

I went out today and caught pike, drum, and rockies. A couple dink smallies but nothing work talking about. We hit every spot on the river for half a mile. Im sure they're in those spots, just can't get em to bite

 

It sounds like you were at last finding fish, so that's good.  With river smallies, you may have to think bigger, though.  Like Smalljaw, I fish the Susquehanna a lot and there are stretches where you may cover a mile of river, even under ideal conditions and not find many quality smallmouth.  Some water is just much, much better habitat than others.  High water will cause fish to move and concentrate differently than they would in low water.  The banks are a start, but choosing the right banks makes a difference.  Look for areas of protected still water along the bank - small points and seams near oxbows are terrific examples - where the current is close by, but there's also a good deal of calm slack water that's protected.  Fish will sit in the slack water often facing the current break.  This is a good pattern in high water.  Because the water is muddy, you may be able to get close and pitch jigs at the seam and any lay downs blown into it to target more active fish and then pick apart the back water behind it with something more finesse for the less active fish.  Another effective bank pattern is looking for flooded shorelines (rock, preferably, with weeds).  Flooded shoreline flats will have active, cruising fish of all species out moving and feeding.  To present, you're going to want to stay back, make long casts, and be weary of your splashes since you're going to be fishing 6" to 2' of water.  

 

This is why a jet boat is such a huge advantage to even a decked out kayak. This is where being able to move quickly to high percentage spots can make or break your day.  Knowing your river also makes a HUGE difference in being able to identify these spots in different water conditions without wasting a lot of time. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Turkey sandwich said:

 

It sounds like you were at last finding fish, so that's good.  With river smallies, you may have to think bigger, though.  Like Smalljaw, I fish the Susquehanna a lot and there are stretches where you may cover a mile of river, even under ideal conditions and not find many quality smallmouth.  Some water is just much, much better habitat than others.  High water will cause fish to move and concentrate differently than they would in low water.  The banks are a start, but choosing the right banks makes a difference.  Look for areas of protected still water along the bank - small points and seams near oxbows are terrific examples - where the current is close by, but there's also a good deal of calm slack water that's protected.  Fish will sit in the slack water often facing the current break.  This is a good pattern in high water.  Because the water is muddy, you may be able to get close and pitch jigs at the seam and any lay downs blown into it to target more active fish and then pick apart the back water behind it with something more finesse for the less active fish.  Another effective bank pattern is looking for flooded shorelines (rock, preferably, with weeds).  Flooded shoreline flats will have active, cruising fish of all species out moving and feeding.  To present, you're going to want to stay back, make long casts, and be weary of your splashes since you're going to be fishing 6" to 2' of water.  

 

This is why a jet boat is such a huge advantage to even a decked out kayak. This is where being able to move quickly to high percentage spots can make or break your day.  Knowing your river also makes a HUGE difference in being able to identify these spots in different water conditions without wasting a lot of time. 

We have a pool that opens up and drops to 10 ft. There is current in the mouth and then tons of still water. There is a giant rock pile under a bridge and then large rock along the edge. Today we fished break lines, still deep holes and along the edge by the large rock. We slow rolled spinnerbaits, fished Ned rigs and nekos rigs and beat the banks with crankbaits. We caught a bunch of pike and one rock bass. The river usually has very very few pike so it puzzles me even more

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have faced the same issue before and currently. It's tough and can be very discouraging. I think in these conditions you have to put the lure right on top of them, they are not going to chase the lure down. I have caught them on finesse lures and loud flashy lures, the constant is they bit within a few feet of where the lure landed. For me this has reinforced what I said above that they are not really chasing the lures  I generally find them tight to the bank (during summer muddy waters) and at humps/drop offs  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    bass fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing rods

    fishing rods


    fishing rods

    fishing reels

    bass fish

    fishing poles

    Truck Caps

    fishing reels
    fishing reels

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×