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In your experience, do stream smallmouth generally stay near their winter holes, feeding on the closest seam until after the spawn?


Ohioguy25

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There seem to be mixed schools of thought on this. Some insist they absolutely stay in and around their winter holes, which often double as spawning areas, until after the spawn.  


Others swear they completely abandon them and go as far as they need to in order to find good current to feed in.  I’m not experienced enough yet to know which is really accurate.

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My local river empties into the great lakes without dams so alot of my summer smallies probably winter in lake huron. I bet theyll travel 20 miles/day in spurts during the prespawn.

And the resident (river) smallies run up the local streams and creeks which warm up soonest. Just need to get through the spring runoff so the bass feel safe and the water can get some sun.

 

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I can say that I believe that behavior or patterns during spawn are totally not about feeding.

Before and after spawn they are feeding but not during

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Just some food for thought. Last few years prespawn they have been shallow and hungry. This year not the case. They have been holding out in deeper water and have not pushed shallow. It has been a fineness game to get them to eat.

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11 hours ago, Ohioguy25 said:

There seem to be mixed schools of thought on this. Some insist they absolutely stay in and around their winter holes, which often double as spawning areas, until after the spawn.  

 

Yep.


Others swear they completely abandon them and go as far as they need to in order to find good current to feed in.     

  

Yep.

 

11 hours ago, Ohioguy25 said:

 

I’m not experienced enough yet to know which is really accurate.

 

In my experience, both are accurate and it's best to fish both types of spots. 

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Prespawn river smallies

I have found no definative study or article but I believe a smallie that's made it thru winter has got to be stressed. So without any other factors I would assume that theyll winter as close as possible to spawning grounds and spend prespawn at the closest and easiest feeding area as is available. 

 

Local features will apply and your results may differ

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