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Is there an easy way of finding spots with current in creeks/rivers?


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Is there a way to spot current on Google Maps satellite images or is there some app or website that shows you where the fastest water is?

 

I’m trying to optimize my time on the water and wading/paddling/bank fishing slow flat water seems unproductive overall when hunting smallmouth. I’ve had most of my success in current breaks as I’m sure most have.

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I've never tried using Google maps for streams or creeks.  Most times trees block the view of the water.  It might work for a large river.  I do use it to scope out lakes and ponds, looking for structure, color changes in the water can show you or at least give you a hint of water depth and possible underwater structure, where the docks are and the boat ramp.

An example, my salt water fly fishing club is going out for American shad on Friday.  They're going to fish Deer Creek which is a tributary of the Susquehanna River.  I switched to the satellite view.  I couldn't even see Deer Creek, but I see the white water and current around islands and large rocks on the Susquehanna below Conowingo Dam.  

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Sometimes you can see white bubbles in Rapids on satellite images. Other times the narrower the river the faster the water will be for the most part

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1 hour ago, TnRiver46 said:

Sometimes you can see white bubbles in Rapids on satellite images. Other times the narrower the river the faster the water will be for the most part

Very true. It is hard on smaller rivers but I usually do a drive by and stop every so often to take a look. Also below dams are usually great for at least a mile and likely more. That's where I start when I look on maps. Any other giant ripple/rapid section will create the same effect. 

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If you look at the elevation changes of the land around the stream you can estimate the rapidity of the water. Its a good homework assignment but nothing will replace your eyes on the water.

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19 hours ago, Ohioguy25 said:

Is there a way to spot current on Google Maps satellite images or is there some app or website that shows you where the fastest water is?

 

I’m trying to optimize my time on the water and wading/paddling/bank fishing slow flat water seems unproductive overall when hunting smallmouth. I’ve had most of my success in current breaks as I’m sure most have.

I’ve found potential spots looking for rapids on Google satellite images. Because water levels change throughout the year, visible rapids or faster current can change. I appreciate you trying to use all the tools available but nothing beats finding the best spots by covering water with a rod in your hand. EVERY good river fisherman I’ve ever met has put in the time to learn every inch of the water he fishes. Lots of great spots are overlooked because there wasn’t an obvious sign. 

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On 5/6/2021 at 6:15 PM, Scott F said:

EVERY good river fisherman I’ve ever met has put in the time to learn every inch of the water he fishes. Lots of great spots are overlooked because there wasn’t an obvious sign. 

 

So true

 

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Smallie Chaser, I used to live in North Judson, IN (20 years ago) and I know Kouts was very close to us. I fished Bass Lake near Knox, IN, and Lake Michigan and some canals flowing into the big lake. I was more of a largemouth, crappie, salmon, trout, guy back then but I know now that I missed lots of good smallmouth action up there. I still go back and visit occasionally but rarely get to fish. Any, Kouts and North Judson are both tiny worlds outside of the hustle and bustle of the cities. It was just interesting to see someone on the forum from there. God bless!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sometimes you’ll see a whitish area on the river, often with rocks. These are the rapids you’re looking for. Another way is to look for places where the river bends at a steep angle. These spots are usually deport with a faster section of water at the head of the pool

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On 5/6/2021 at 6:15 PM, Scott F said:

I’ve found potential spots looking for rapids on Google satellite images. Because water levels change throughout the year, visible rapids or faster current can change. I appreciate you trying to use all the tools available but nothing beats finding the best spots by covering water with a rod in your hand. EVERY good river fisherman I’ve ever met has put in the time to learn every inch of the water he fishes. Lots of great spots are overlooked because there wasn’t an obvious sign. 

"Learning a river" is saying a mouth full. BTW I'm in the Winamac area and fish the Tippecanoe a lot. I've been here for 25 years and I've fished it a bunch...fished, canoed and even scuba dived. I know some stretched a lot better than others but I'm always finding stuff I missed. Also the river is always changing. From season to season and year to year it can almost seem like a completely different river. Sometimes from week to week it's a different river.

 

My son and I were out there today and half of the fish we caught were in areas where I hadn't caught fish before...or don't remember catching them. I would have been tempted to blow right by them.

 

I could go on and on but nothing holds my interest like the river. I've got some decent lakes around but I almost always head for the river...besides my little flat bottom boat fits right in there.

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Google Maps/Earth is a good starting point. You can get the layout of rivers, find areas of faster descent, check out the surrounding land for clues as to the types of bottom you’re going to find, and a million other pieces of information, but that’s just the start.  It has limitations - trees, weird angles, guessing flows at the time of the picture, etc.  


Paddling and fishing the stream is where you refine that information.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

OnX is good imbecause you can select topo maps, also if you are fishing small streams that go across private you can see property lines. That you have to pay for though

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