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Sword of the Lord

Fishing a fast flowing river.

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There's a huge river here that's known for its bass fishing, especially in the state park area. It's really, really fast moving. It seems like the speed of the river always screws my baits up and I never catch anything. I think I've gotten 2 fish out of it. I've tried top water, cranks, spinners, soft plastics, you name it. I've tried hitting vegetation, near rocks and fallen trees, in little pockets, even right out in the middle. How do you fish a fast river?

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I generally cast something small, Ned rig, weightless senko, upstream and let it drift down. The key is finding the seam between the current and slack water. That's where you'll find the fish. 

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They lower the two lakes upstream from my house 30 ft starting this time of year. All that water comes gushing down the holston and french broad rivers and forms the Tennessee river. Sometimes when the water is raging I like to throw something huge and/or noisy that the bass will be able to find amongst a million gallons of water going by at 2-3 miles an hour. Buzz baits and frogs up under the overhangs are my favorite but a lot of folks swear by a spinnerbait in fast water. Suspending jerkbait can also be good if you can keep all the grass off of it. If I was bank fishing (which can be somewhat advantageous in heavy current), I would use a jig or worm on bottom in all the swirling eddies. If the grass is fouling everything Texas rig a big soft plastic with a belly weight hook or throw swim jig. Swim jig in shallow grassy current just makes me all tingly inside 

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You can catch some nice bass very close to the shore when the water in the river is running fast. Look for current breaks, ambush spots, etc...

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I have had good luck with the Rage Tail Menace, Siebert Jigs/ Rage Craw and BPS Tender Tubes #71.

 

:fishing-026:

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Too fish a fast river, you fish the parts that aren't fast.  Deeper pools in front of and behind the riffles, eddies on the sides and behind any current break.

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What he said. Not all the water will be moving fast and an often overlooked area of slack, or slower moving water is the deeper water below the rapids. Actually, any place the water's movement slows enough to be distinguishable is usually due to an increase in depth. A good way I've found to target that deeper, slower moving water is with a jig that will tumble along the bottom by the faster moving water, but is heavy enough to fall to the bottom on the downside of the drop where the current isn't as strong. 

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Right now, I'm on a fishing trip on a river where the water has been running at double the average flow rate all summer. The places we'd normally expect to catch them like eddies have not produced at all. Most of our smallies have come areas where the current speeds up over shallow, rocky bottoms that create a disturbance on the surface. The depth might be anywhere from 1-5 feet deep. These areas might be along the shore or in the middle of the river. Slower current areas have produced almost nothing. Inline spinners have been getting a lot of bites but these smallmouth are very good at jumping and throwing the baits back at us. A topwater Whopper Plopper has been working very well as has the Ned rig and swim baits with good numbers of 16-20 inch fish caught. Besides the mid-river rocks, baits thrown tight against the shore where the current is moving have also been very productive. 

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My favorite river and stream baits is a silver blade white skirt inline spinner like a wordens.  I look for backwashes and a line in the water parallel to shore between the moving water and the slower water. Work that edge between the two different speeds of the water. Another good bait is the smaller rebel crawfish crank in chartreuse. Don't be afraid to toss a split shot rigged worm too. Don't forget the inline spinners too.

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