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Clark Thomson

El dorado lake Smallmouths... need help.

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Hey guys, I just moved to Kansas from Virginia where Ive done very well fishing bfl’s and open tournaments for largemouths on grass lakes and big muddy river systems. So Fishing for lake Smallmouth in big reservoirs is definitely out of my element. I bought a bass boat shortly after I moved to Kansas and was able to hit some of the closer lakes(melvern, eldorado, pomm) in the fall last year. Armed with only knowledge from reading articles about lake smallmouth and their behaviors, I figured they probably wouldn’t be too much different than their green cousins. The first handful of trips were a success, catching them shallow with crankbaits, swimbaits, tubes, etc. 

fast forward to this year. I have been out 4 times this years on el dorado and melvern, and I’ve only had 4 small bites. Each trip I leave the lake more confused than when I put my boat in the water. One minute I’ll get a bite shallow, next minute I’ll catch deep. I can’t for the life of me figure these fish out. Looking at last year tournament results I know that there are quality fish in both lakes. The water just started touching 50 degrees, and it has been fairly stained at both lakes. A foot a visibility is about average. My instincts tell me they are shallow, 0-15’ but after throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the best stretches of bank I can find. I’ve stared graphing off shore hot spots and marking plenty of fish. But no matter what I through at the deep fish I mark, they won’t bite. Which makes me think they’re walleye or white bass. If anyone has any advice it will be greatly appreciated!

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50 is the magic temp for smallies in Kansas usually. They can be caught in colder water, but for some reason are really difficult. We're also dealing with high water levels due to the flooding up north, along with stained to muddy water from the rains. Smallmouth being visual feeders are difficult to catch when the water goes from clear to dirty. 

 

I haven't fished El Dorado before, but I've fished Melvern a lot and assume Dorado is similar. If the water isn't too dirty, jerkbaits are your best bet. Once the water gets stained, spinnerbaits, cranks, and traps are good. If the water is muddy, don't waste your time. 

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