Jump to content
dsw1204

River fishing for smallmouth

Recommended Posts

This is my first season of fishing in 40 years.  So far, I've been mostly fishing ponds and small lakes for largemouth.  I've been fairly successful.  I've caught a goodly number of largemouth, mostly under two pounds.  My record is a 5 pounder caught using a Teckel Sprinker Frog.  Also, have a 4 pounder caught on a Whopper Plopper 75 and a 3 pounder on a Whopper Plopper 110 (all the rest have been under 2 lbs). I've caught quite a few using a Mepps spinner.  I have noticed being more successful in the early mornings.    However, once the sun gets higher in the sky, bites drop down quite a bit.   I'm guessing the bass are going deep in the hotter weather and I cannot reach them fishing from the bank.  Even in the evening, I am not all that successful.

 

But, now, I want to go after smallmouth in the Great Miami River, around Cincinnati.  I'll be bank fishing and am wondering if bites will be less often in the late morning/afternoon as compared to early mornings.  I figure that water temperature won't be as big of a factor as fishing ponds/lakes.  Am I correct in this assumption?

 

I plan on fishing different lures, mostly.  I'll probably start out using the Whopper Plopper (I love the Plopper), but plan on switching to soft plastics and jigs with trailers pretty quickly if not successful with the Plopper. 

 

Do you guys have any suggestions for river fishing on the banks?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How much bank access will you have? One of the secrets of successful river fishing is getting to the spots where they hold. Finding good river bank fishing spots can be a challenge. If the river is shallow enough, and the current is slow enough you might be able to wade which will up your chances dramatically.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Scott F said:

How much bank access will you have? One of the secrets of successful river fishing is getting to the spots where they hold. Finding good river bank fishing spots can be a challenge. If the river is shallow enough, and the current is slow enough you might be able to wade which will up your chances dramatically.

I don't know the river that well.  I do know there is a dam and there is some access after it and I have seen people fishing there.  I, also, know there is another dam about a mile upstream, as well.  Can there possibly be fish in between the two dams?

 

I've been shown a couple of other spots that, supposedly, are good spots to fish.  The river, also, forks off and I have fished the smaller of the forks without any success, whatsoever.  Not even a bite.  And, I have never seen anyone fishing at this little stretch of river, either.  I do not know if this is a good thing or not.

 

I plan on searching the river for other good access spots, but right now that is basically all I know of the river.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I think very early and early morning are best. 

 

I have times by 8:30am I’m trailering up and going home. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fish for Smallmouth from the banks of a river most weekends.

 

I am on the bank by 6am and on my way home by 10am to 11am the latest. When I arrive I am on the hunt for the topwater bite. Whopper Plopper, Zara Spook, Yo-Zuri 3DB prop baits and 3DB poppers have been my most successful baits this season.

 

As the time approaches the 9am hour I switch to some finesse style presentations. This weekend I tried the Z-Man TRD Crawz and got a lot of fish. With the clear water I was able to see how it sits in the water. I was also able to see Sunfish attack the claws. The Elastech material is incredible for not loosing appendages to those little jokers.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When river fishing try not to make a lot of long casts with bottom contact baits.  They almost always snag - so you want to get as close as you can without spooking the fish so you can make short accurate casts.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These are all great ideas, but my first inclination is that mentioned above, if you can wade it, in any way (even if it's near the shore), that'll only help your chances. I was in a similar situation, to the point that I considered my local river as a waste of time. Then I got a pair of waders and instantly saw it in a new light. The fishing is now my favorite. 

 

Talk to other folks, kayakers, boaters, etc. and see if the water's shallow enough in stretches to wade. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rage Craws Rebel crawdad crankbait and smaller spinnerbaits. Look for anything that breaks or slows the current. I wade the river about every weekend.Also the Ned rig is a killer.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gotta go with breaks in the current as bowhunter63 said, I just got back from AZ, was fishing a canal that ran along the lake I was fishing. I came to a bridge with long concrete piers for support. I started by casting into the space between piers and nothing, put my spinnerbait right on the wall of these piers and BAM! So I kept at it, cast into the concrete and let it fall straight down, didn't even have time for a retrieve on most bites.  

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The town I work in has a nice little river running through it.  I take about 15-20 minutes almost every day on my lunch break to make a few casts.  I also wade it sometimes when the river level allows.  My bread and butter tactic is small squarebill crankbaits and small stickbaits like Rapala X Raps.  Zoom Flukes and "Ned rigs" are other options when the crankbaits don't produce.

 

Just above and below low-head dams are easy access and produce some fish.  They aren't the best spots due to lots of pressure.  If you can find a tree mid-channel, don't ignore it.  I've caught over 10 smallmouth from one stupid looking tree in 2 feet of water.  Even a decent sized boulder can hold a fish or two.

 

Wading is the odds-on approach, as it allows you to hit targets at multiple angles.  It also lets you get away from those pesky overhanging trees that hinder casting from the bank.  It's best to walk upstream, so you don't spook fish with your mud trail flowing downstream as you walk.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my area (only 4 hrs south of Cincinnati) the river smallmouth seem to bite best during the middle of the day, especially on topwaters. I don’t know why but they do so I don’t question them. And yes there will be fish between the two dams. Your first season of fishing in 40 years and you are successful with a whopper plopper? I’ve been fishing 30+ years non-stop and I still can’t catch a fish on that thing 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One lure that works well on a wadeable rocky river here is the 5 inch Zoom super fluke in pink and Tennessee shad colors on a 3 or 4/0 Gam EWG hook.  It is not a bottom lure and casts very well, so snagglng shouldn't be a big problem.  Get them onto the hook very symmetrically so they will jerk randomly, vary the jerky retrieve.

 

If you don't get deep enough with them tied direct, tie a BIG swivel onto the main line, then 15-18 inches  to the lure with mono or FC.

 

If the river has rocky sections, try those or holes close to them first.  In rivers smb also sometimes use sunken logs for cover.

 

Another good lure for river smb is the old original floating rapala fished like a wounded minnow.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/22/2019 at 5:20 PM, TnRiver46 said:

In my area (only 4 hrs south of Cincinnati) the river smallmouth seem to bite best during the middle of the day, especially on topwaters. I don’t know why but they do so I don’t question them. And yes there will be fish between the two dams. Your first season of fishing in 40 years and you are successful with a whopper plopper? I’ve been fishing 30+ years non-stop and I still can’t catch a fish on that thing 

Sorry for not getting back to you (and all the other responders) as I have not yet figured how to get emails sent to me when someone replies to my posts (or thread I started).  Anyhow, yes I love the River2Sea Whopper Plopper.  I've caught numerous largemouths with it, even one as big as 5lbs, one 4lbs, and a couple 3lb ones.  I've been using the Whopper Plopper 110 and 75.  The 75's hooks tend to get tangled with the line during casts about 25% of the time...gets a little frustrating.  But I caught the 4 pounder on that one.  But, the 110 has never got tangled.

 

Anyway, getting back to river fishing from the bank...The river's current is pretty darn strong where I have been attempting to fish.  There's a spillway from a water treatment plant that jets out about 30 feet into the river and this is where I have been casting.  There is a section where the current is not so strong right after where the spillway is and I have been casting into this not-so-strong current.  I did manage to catch a sauger, but I snagged him.  It was not due to my fishing competence.  I have not tried fishing early in the morning.  I am off of work tomorrow, so I may try there tomorrow.

 

Is it not a good idea to cast into the main section of the river where the current is very strong?  Or, should I still try casting into the not-so-strong current that is right after the spillway entrance?

 

I think, right after that first dam, the water might not be so deep and I may be able to use waders (yes, I did buy waders for this fishing attempt of mine).  I will check that out, probably later today.  If it looks good, maybe I'll try that out first thing in the morning tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't fish big rivers with dams, but have seen shows on TV, and they seem to fish the eddies below the dam, out of the strong current.  I find that true here on small rivers, too.  I don't think they like to fight the current all the time; bait probably doesn't either, so. . .eddies, pools, most likely.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great Post. Good baits mentioned. Just a few more soft bait to mention. Easy to still get and they are ones that I've been using for many many years now. Cabin Creek Salty Spiders, Slider Worms and Grubs and the Original 4" Power Worms. All rig weedless.

 

Storm has a pop r' type called a Chug Bug its a bit more slender than a Skitter Pop or Rebel Pop R and it seems to have a slightly different walk to it but it has been very productive. 

 

The Rebel Craws are always productive as well as the Rat-L-Trap. But these will cause you headaches when throwing to deeper water bringing them back shallow.

 

I don't think you'll regret throwing the Original style Rapala Floater Divers in sizes 05 & 07. Even an 09 is not oversize. I still find fishing a bit old school on the river to be fairly productive still. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/22/2019 at 5:47 PM, MickD said:

One lure that works well on a wadeable rocky river here is the 5 inch Zoom super fluke in pink and Tennessee shad colors on a 3 or 4/0 Gam EWG hook.  It is not a bottom lure and casts very well, so snagglng shouldn't be a big problem.  Get them onto the hook very symmetrically so they will jerk randomly, vary the jerky retrieve.

 

If you don't get deep enough with them tied direct, tie a BIG swivel onto the main line, then 15-18 inches  to the lure with mono or FC.

 

If the river has rocky sections, try those or holes close to them first.  In rivers smb also sometimes use sunken logs for cover.

 

Another good lure for river smb is the old original floating rapala fished like a wounded minnow.

Is fishing above the dam a bad idea?  I saw quite a few people fishing above the dam, but I think they were fishing for carp (not positive about this).  Below the dam there is an active mine and there is (I don't know what to call it) a peninsula type of area jutting out into the middle of the river about a couple hundred feet below the dam and there is some calm water below the "peninsula".  I am guessing this might be a pretty good area to cast to.  My only problem with this area is that the people running the mine might not like me fishing there.  But, if I get there at sunrise, I can get in a couple of hours of fishing before they start arriving (or, at least I hope) and shoo me away.

 

But, is this calm water behind that peninsula a prime spot for smallmouth?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Above most dams are not good places to catch smallmouth. Typically, the areas are silted in, have low oxygen levels, and have the worst water quality. It’s the reason most environmentalists are working to remove dams wherever possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP, definitely look for current breaks such as the downstream end of a sandbar.  I'd fish all around it as they may be on the drop off from the sandbar to the mid channel area if they're aggressively feeding.

 

If you find good areas, don't be surprised to catch a multitude of species depending on the bait you're using.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Scott F said:

Above most dams are not good places to catch smallmouth. Typically, the areas are silted in, have low oxygen levels, and have the worst water quality. It’s the reason most environmentalists are working to remove dams wherever possible.

Thanks, that is good to know.  When I am below the dam, should I be tossing my lures upstream or downstream?  Or, does it make any difference?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, dsw1204 said:

Is fishing above the dam a bad idea?  I saw quite a few people fishing above the dam, but I think they were fishing for carp (not positive about this).  Below the dam there is an active mine and there is (I don't know what to call it) a peninsula type of area jutting out into the middle of the river about a couple hundred feet below the dam and there is some calm water below the "peninsula".  I am guessing this might be a pretty good area to cast to.  My only problem with this area is that the people running the mine might not like me fishing there.  But, if I get there at sunrise, I can get in a couple of hours of fishing before they start arriving (or, at least I hope) and shoo me away.

 

But, is this calm water behind that peninsula a prime spot for smallmouth?

If above the dam is deeper and has rock it can be a great place for smallies in the Fall, expecally in October if it's not too cold, I'd recommend trying a 3.5" tube "weedless" always fish hold in current breaks and eddies, don't over think it, the fish you'll catch in the faster moving current will have come from some kind of structure, drag the tube on the bottom to get a feel for what's down there, you might lose a few figuring out the best places to cast but after awhile you won't lose many and even a pack of tubes is still cheaper than a rapala...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have paid college tuition for Rapala executives kids for my entire lifetime. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once summer hits I start my river fishing at 4-430 am. 

 

Typically early morning I start off with top water and move to crank baits as the sun rises, though truthfully I have many days where I never need to put down top water. My personal best smallmouth hit topwater on a high 80s day around 2pm.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smallies FEED ALL DAY. In schools of big ones.  I found about 25 big S M B nose in the bottom. Tails straight up munching away . No lure did a thing. I motored over & past them in 5 ' of clear water, bright afternoon sun. They separated about 10' as I passed over the spot. After about 30' they came back to continue the nose in the bottom feeding.

Yummie yummie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t been fishing for smallmouth or river fishing more than a couple of times, but as wading was mentioned, these are some nice water shoes that I have used many times.

 

https://www.underarmour.com/en-us/footwear/fishing/g/3rgd?cid=PS|US|BR|ggl|all|under+armour+water+shoes|all|ftw|all|exact|dg|p29310680952&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvujcx6rV4wIVi8DACh3YBwZnEAAYASAAEgKK9PD_BwE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I fished  the river by the dam for the very first time. Let’s just say that the river beat me up pretty well. Didn’t catch anything and lost a number of lures.  But, I will keep trying.

 

I am not going to be able to do any early morning fishing (or in the evening) in the next couple of weeks.  I am going to have to do my fishing in the afternoon.  I figure I am going to have to go to the Great Miami River or to some adjoining creeks, especially if it is going to be hot and sunny.  I expect the water in the small ponds I go to will be too hot and the fish will be going deep and out of range of my casting.

 

Is this a correct assumption?

 

Also, which lures are more effective in the afternoon for fishing in rivers and/or creeks?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing poles

    fishing reels

    fishing reels

    fishing reels

    fishing

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×
×
  • Create New...