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RIVER BANK fishing in COLD water

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Before I get started, I capitalized river and bank specifically because every time I search for the topic I get fishing in big name lakes in fancy bass boats with expensive fish finders...nothing that applies to my question. 😉

 

I'm looking for ideas/spots to look for and what to throw.  I'm in Northern Indiana fishing a cold river next to a dam with a rocky bottom and lots of snags.  The water is dark but not muddy. 

 

Any pointers would be appreciated. 

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I look for current breaks and eddy's  then fish small lures very slowly along the bottom . A jig and grub the size of a crappie lure with a bass sized bigger hook works well  .Small spinners like  Strike King Rocket Shads have worked too . 

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When the water is this cold, just look for eddies. A float and fly is a good choice. Any day with sun and warmer temps are good times. I grew up in northern Indiana and don’t remember any good smallmouth streams. I hope they’ve gotten better than they used to be. 

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   Are you looking for general advice throughout the year, or advice for first-in spring fishing?

 

   For first-in fishing in rocky rivers, this is what I found. It might not apply to you at all.

   First fish in are walleye, sauger and smallmouth, generally in that order. Hit the roils behind rocks, but not in the strong, fast current. In real cold water, fish can't or won't tolerate high-velocity resistance, so your roils will be the ones at the edges. Move lures SLOWLY. I hate to say this, but the fishermen I see having successes at earliest-in are fly fishermen. I can't compete with them at all, not until at least a week after true ice-out. I don't fly fish, but I asked them what they were using, and they said, "B.O.B.: Bugs On Bottom." That didn't mean anything to me, but maybe it means something to you that you can use.

   After ice-out, I use 1/4 oz. spoons, Rapala Countdowns and boot-tail jigs. I fish snaggy water, too, so I use Charlie Brewer weedless crappie jigs. I only use spoons because I'm spoon-crazy, so understand that I'm not telling you that you "should" use spoons. The Countdowns are sinking lures, so they're easier to manipulate in waters that alternate current with breaks. But the lip on those devils breaks REAL easy. Be careful. As for the jigs in snags, maybe you can glean some info from this: http://viralfishingvideos.com/rich-z-talks-charlie-brewer/

   The craziest lure that I use in rocky rivers is the Cotton Cordell Super Spot in 1/4 ounce size. It looks like a Rat-l-Trap, but it's more buoyant. Cast above your target, bring the lure downstream at a fair rate of speed, and then detour it into a roil behind a rock and slack off the retrieve. It'll drop slowly, and you can get some fantastic hits. The bad part is covering all the potential pockets: it can take a long time.

   Bass enter the picture later. As far as I can tell, you can tell where bass are in a river early on by finding one thing: forage fish. LMB winter in backwaters, out of the current.  When they start to move, they tend to go to a northern slope where the southern spring sun will warm the water. That's where the forage fish will be, and that's where the LMB will follow. I have never found LMB in current when the season is early. That seems to change about 2 weeks after ice-out, but ONLY when the forage fish are there.

 

   If you're looking for advice on fishing throughout the year in a COLD water environment, I can't help you at all. I fish the Mississippi and some of her tributaries in Iowa, and the water warms up quickly.

   Hope some of this info is of use to you.    jj

  

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Can't really help with your question, so I'll just say welcome aboard!

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I fish squarebills at rocky, snaggy river dams and they work great. People fear the trebles but that bill causes more deflections than snags.

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Welcome aboard! You're already successful in your search by being here. :) To try to answer your question - try slip floating a 4" wacky rigged Senko. Let it dance in the chop below that dam and watch that float go under! You can/should adjust the bobber stop so as to keep your bait about a foot or so off the bottom. That'll put you in the prime zone and out of the snags. Slow.....but effective.

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Fishing below dams I always use a jig head with a curly tail or paddle tail grub. Bring lots of them, a jig head that will bend can help 

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Thanks guys. I'm digging this website.

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On 3/10/2019 at 1:26 PM, Darren. said:

Can't really help with your question, so I'll just say welcome aboard!

Same here. I only fished rivers a few times and learned nothing helpful those few times.

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Rage Tail Menace

 

:fishing-026:

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I'd fish a jig like a dry or wet fly. Cast up stream and let it drift into the break or eddy. Toa a bass it's a free meal coming his/her way.

 

Good luck.

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