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XcoM274

Coldwater Smallie tournament

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I've got a tourney coming up this weekend. Water temp went down from 61 to 59 (consistantly) over the last two weeks (Welcome to Michigan eh?). The lake's clear, steep dropoffs, mostly smallmouths. Are they going to be deep or what? Two weeks ago we found them on a steep bank near an abyssal hole. This week I had them in the same spot on the graph, but not on the line. I don't need big fish, just something. What can I do? My thoughts have been RatLTrap, drop shotting a goby and a jig. Anything else to try? 5 14" fish have never been so hard to come by...

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what lake are you fishing. im from mid michigan but stationed in new mexico. if you tell me the lake i might be able to give you some help. the last time that i fished for smallies in michigan last yr. we fished white spinnerbaits with silver blades in 60 degree water....also down here a killer lure when the water temp is what you said 59 a river2sea crawfish they are killler. they have a weight imbedded into the tail i just throw them out by any rocks or dropoffs and when they fall they stand up on their tail like a crawfish in the defensive position. my favorite color is watermelon red. and they always stand up no matter what. you can buy them on ***.com. also you can watch the video on the site. they are called standn yabbie. just type in river2sea on the search and you will be able to find them.

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Come on, you are in Michigan, 59 isn't cold water fishing.  The water temp in our first tournament in IA was about 40 degrees and 1.5 weeks after ice out, now that's a cold water tournament!    

The smallies should be getting ready to spawn.  For smallies in the conditions you described, I'd look into 3 things to determine if any or all are happening:

1.  Any spawning areas for "early" spawners, especially deeper pea rock areas with scattered rocks where a few of the biggest fish will often spawn first and early.  In clear waters this is sometimes 15 ft. deep.  Beds are often right next to boulder (or the big blocks used to hold floating docks in place, if you have them).  If you find some, sight fish a white tube or a drop shot.  Water temps probably aren't there yet, but it doesn't hurt to check.

2.  Windblown points, boulders, and other shallower structure for fish that are shallow for one last "feed up" before the spawn.  If it is close to spawning ares, even better. -- Jerkbaits, jigs, other baits that allow you to cover water (fish here should be here to feed).  

3.  Any boulders, rock piles, drops, etc. that are very close to spawning areas and might hold "staging" fish.  If there's one, there'll be lots.  Cranks, bass jigs, "shakey" like jigs, and maybe drop shots.

Good luck.

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Lol, good point, the water is plenty warmer than the air. The problem (or possible benefit I suppose) is that its been stuck there for almost an entire month. I got out a week after ice out, and read 51-54, and that was mid April. Its Foote Dam Pond on the AuSable. Last year I was looking at bedding smallies a week ago this time... I found ALOT of good staging ground for spawners. Steep banks, from a foot deep to 30 in the length of my boat, with hard sand on the higher end, which I assume to be the preferred area second to rocks, which are lacking in the lake. Theres a good amount of standing timber, would the smallies bed up next to that in place of rocks or just stage there pre and post?

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Chuck good luck man, let us know how you do. I wish I could be more help but I haven't been out in over a week. But when I was fishing the Mio pond on the ausable last everything was on the drop in 10" of water. X- raps worked for me. Everyone up here I have been talking to said "our" bass are finally moving up to spawn and people are finding beds.

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With how cold it's been at night our waters been doing the same thing.  Still stuck in the low to mid-50's on the main lake.  Even worse, the shallow bays have been stuck in the mid to upper 50's and holding off the largemouth.  Only a few of our canals have been close to "on schedule" and have started some bedding activity.  We'll probably have the main wave of largemouth spawning in the bays at the same time as the smallies and "late spawn" largemouth on the main lake.  

The smallies spawn next to wooden dock posts on our lakes, if the bottom is right I bet they'll spawn next to standing timber on yours too.

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Well I did better than I expected. 10th out of 17. Brought 6 keepers (limit of 7) for 11.41lbs. Males were furious on the beds when we found them, bit whatever came their way but they were small. got a couple good cruising females on shallow flats, a 2.7 and 2.5. Figured they were looking for a mate as we're near a new moon. Full would have been better but I'll take what comes. All the fish came on a watermelon Senko or white spinnerbait. We started the day with freezing air and 54 in the water in the bay where we were. By 3 when it ended, it was 63. Sun came out and warmed it right up. The males were cruising weedlines or building beds, especially later in the day, but males aren't going to win the tourney are they... Better luck next time I suppose.

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