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Main river or backwaters?


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I'm fishing the Colorado river which has both LMB and SMB, I've only really fished for Striped Bass, Catfish and Sturgeon in another state so bass fishing here is newish to me, the water is really clear and and has decent flowing current I like to kayak upriver and find backwaters to fish, 1 because it's easier to kayak fish in the slower or even still water than on the main river where currents make things difficult. But I also see more bass in these locations, the main river is mostly river rock bottom with weeds growing along the bank and algae on the bottom in the middle of the river.

 

Most of the backwaters I find are small channels maybe 25 feet wide with weeds and bamboo everywhere, I see and catch more fish in these spots but they are mostly 8-12 Inches and no bigger, every time I've fished the main river I've been skunked except for 1 time I used live crawfish and caught a 3Lb smallmouth, so to me it seems the bigger fish are in the main river and the smaller bass seem to be tucked in back waters can anyone confirm or provide me with their experiences.

To follow up, which baits are good in these types of situations I've used most robo worms weightless with a weedless hook, or small swim shads. I have some Rapala jerkbaits which I use from time to time but same issue only dinks. I've caught largemouth up to 6Lbs back home on accident while fishing large live shad or bluegill for stripped bass or catfish.

 

I have some senko's but don't know how to use them besides wacky rig, but I avoid these bigger stickbaits because I only find smaller bass and they can't get it in their mouth all the way I miss too many bites, I have some plastic craws I wanna try since I caught a 3Lbs on a live crawfish last week.

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you will probably have to invest some time learning to fish the main river current to get the larger fish. 

Make a jig your friend, experiment with different weights to maintain bottom contact without too many snags. but expect to lose alot of jigs in the first season or two.

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9 hours ago, PaulVE64 said:

you will probably have to invest some time learning to fish the main river current to get the larger fish. 

Make a jig your friend, experiment with different weights to maintain bottom contact without too many snags. but expect to lose alot of jigs in the first season or two.

 

I've went fishing the last two days and I've been fishing the main river drifting the bank throwing some creature baits and worms at current seems that have steep drop offs or bottom changes like sand to rock gravel or flipping near docks that have bamboo walls. I've been throwing these Yum Crawbug in the green pumpkin texas red color and I caught a 12 and 14 inch smallmouth yesterday and lost the biggest fish because he dragged me into some pilings.

 

Since its spring the crawfish will be starting to come out spring/summer so I'm throwing this crawbug on a ned like jighead that keep the crawfish floating upwards with his claws in a defensive position and I've done much better, the smallmouth don't act much different than Stripped Bass except they don't school up like Stripers.

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I usually follow the rule - the bigger the river, the bigger the fish.

 

There are exceptions but given the voice between a creek and a 300ft across river I’ll take river any day. Might be harder to find fish but they will be bigger.

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26 minutes ago, Tennessee Boy said:

Are the small fish you're catching in backwater largemouth or smallmouth?

 

The dinks seem to be a mix of both, I catch SMB and LMB in the backwaters but it seems like SMB are the more common bass species, because the waters so clear I see lots of fish I don't end up catching and the the ratio is like 4 SMB to every 1 LMB.

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  • Super User

I agree with what other have said.  I've always caught bigger fish on bigger streams and smallmouth like current.  Sounds like your having fun catching the dinks.  I would slowly move out to bigger water and try to figure them out as you go.

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My smallmouth knowledge is limited to fishing in the Ozarks or Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.  Finding slower water or seemingly "still" water on the edge of deep current is almost always a good bet for smallmouth in creeks and rivers. Aiming behind bigger boulders or laydowns in deeper (5 ft. or more) water with visible movement/ current is a good bet too. When directly fishing in the fast water, I hit the tops and bottoms of riffles with jerkbaits and crankbaits. I have caught decent smallies by throwing a hard jerkbait so that it faces up-current and barely pulling it as though it is struggling to move up. My knowledge is limited to fishing small rivers and streams though. I have never fished for smallmouths in those big, deep, cold-water lakes up north. I hope to one day though! :D 

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