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River Smallies in the Summer


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Hello everyone, I just started fishing for sm this year and am hooked on it!

I found an awesome spot just below a low dam in the river that provided fast and furious action in the last 2 weeks of April.

From one specific spot in my kayak, I caught at least 21 smallies 17" and over, including my largest at 19-3/4" and 4.5 lb.

One morning I caught smallies on the first 8 consecutive casts, and had hits but lost them on the next 3 casts.  Incredible!

I noticed during the last few days of April into May the action in that spot immediately below the dam slowed greatly, and I started catching them further downstream on the banks...I guess they were getting ready to spawn.

HERE IS MY QUESTION.....

Do you think that the bass will return to immediately below the dam after the spawn, or will I have to continue looking for different spots further downstream.

Since this is my first year river fishing for smb...I don't have any experience as to the seasonal movements of the river bass right below a dam.

Thanks in advance for all your advice and insights....I really appreciate it!!!

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I catch them all year below dams, but really big dams . All the fish seem to stay there, i imagine due to the constant supply of shad 

0-D1-D664-E-6301-429-B-9-C1-D-D5-DB2-D7-

the smaller dams can be hit or miss, but usually hit 

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river fish will usually bite well all through summer. what you will probably find is that as the weather warms the fish will usually prefer faster current. now they probably wont be right in the heavy current but near it. behind rocks grass beds etc. anywhere they can rest but watch the current which is what brings them their food.

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These guys are right on, look for seams in the current, not terribly unlike trout fishing if your familiar with that at all. If you find a spot in the river with heavy current, rock/hard bottom, and a point projecting into the river so that the current Eddie's into a pool I'll bet dollars to donuts that you'll have at least one, usually multiple, smallmouth in that Eddie, if you see a spot where there is shade covering the current break and a nice bit of rock or other cover right next to that current break, you'll have found your big fish haunt.

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River smallies are nomadic and tend to school up. 

You will likely catch resident bass all year at a dam but it may not be as hot as prespawn. They go crazy prespawn.

 

Oh, and did i mention they're nomadic?

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I wade small Rivers here in Missouri. Fish lowhead dams alot. Bitsy bug with a baby Rage craw trailer or swim jigs with a swim jig trailer. If it gets tough a wacky worm. Find the bait you will find the Smallies. River Smallies cant be beat 

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On 5/23/2022 at 8:11 PM, TnRiver46 said:

I catch them all year below dams, but really big dams . All the fish seem to stay there, i imagine due to the constant supply of shad 

0-D1-D664-E-6301-429-B-9-C1-D-D5-DB2-D7-

the smaller dams can be hit or miss, but usually hit 

What areas below the dams do you fish? The spillways, generators, or other? I fish below Nickajack dam but I haven't been able to catch much close to the dam. I usually catch a few several hundred yards to a couple miles away from the dam where the current softens.

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4 minutes ago, Blue Raider Bob said:

What areas below the dams do you fish? The spillways, generators, or other? I fish below Nickajack dam but I haven't been able to catch much close to the dam. I usually catch a few several hundred yards to a couple miles away from the dam where the current softens.

All of it. Standing on the bank can be the best spot quite often 

 

my buddy fishes below nick sometimes and he said he wears out white bass and spotted bass with a kayak behind some rip rap wall, I’ve never seen nickajack dam 

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On 5/26/2022 at 12:21 PM, TnRiver46 said:

All of it. Standing on the bank can be the best spot quite often 

 

my buddy fishes below nick sometimes and he said he wears out white bass and spotted bass with a kayak behind some rip rap wall, I’ve never seen nickajack dam 

If you google earth the Nickajack Dam, you will see the active lock. Right beside the active lock is an inactive lock know as the "dead lock". It was constructed with the thought that if river traffic ever increased and overwhelmed the main lock, then it could be opened and used. It has never been opened but it provides an extra area of water that is protected from current and stays full of baitfish. This might be the riprap wall your friend has described. The wall between the deadlock and what I call the "Basin", which is a large lake-like area protected from current that includes the boat ramp. My PB Largemouth, Walleye, and White Bass all came from the basin. The water depth is anywhere from 10' to 17' most of the time and it is teeming with fish. I'll be there again Sunday! Lord Willing!

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On 5/25/2022 at 11:22 AM, Finessegenics said:

How big is this dam and river? 

The dam is maybe 4' high, and the river is about 5' deep on average, perhaps 150 yards across.

 

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6 hours ago, Blue Raider Bob said:

If you google earth the Nickajack Dam, you will see the active lock. Right beside the active lock is an inactive lock know as the "dead lock". It was constructed with the thought that if river traffic ever increased and overwhelmed the main lock, then it could be opened and used. It has never been opened but it provides an extra area of water that is protected from current and stays full of baitfish. This might be the riprap wall your friend has described. The wall between the deadlock and what I call the "Basin", which is a large lake-like area protected from current that includes the boat ramp. My PB Largemouth, Walleye, and White Bass all came from the basin. The water depth is anywhere from 10' to 17' most of the time and it is teeming with fish. I'll be there again Sunday! Lord Willing!

That’s cool! Lot of interesting history down there, I learned about Hale’s bar dam a few years ago, apparently it was a few miles upstream 

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On 5/27/2022 at 8:55 PM, TnRiver46 said:

That’s cool! Lot of interesting history down there, I learned about Hale’s bar dam a few years ago, apparently it was a few miles upstream 

The Hale's Bar generator house and lock are still there. Only the dam itself has been removed. It is a really spookey place. The river comes up to within a few feet of the tops of the lock.

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Hard to beat a 3/8 os spinnerbait with double willows in white or chart across the current or a dt6 in craw running the seem. Smallies sit in fast water when its really hot because of oxygen content.

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2 hours ago, Blue Raider Bob said:

The Hale's Bar generator house and lock are still there. Only the dam itself has been removed. It is a really spookey place. The river comes up to within a few feet of the tops of the lock.

There’s more than couple human skeletons down there under the water ! 

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