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Glenn

River vs. Lake for largemouths

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Here's a topic that I don't hear much about: If you regularly fish for largemouths in current, what are the differences you look for in river fishing vs. lake fishing.  Do the largemouth prefer to be in the current, just out of the current, or in the backwater areas?  How does rising and falling water affect the fish? Those types of questions along with others concerning the differences in lake vs river fishing are encouraged.

I have my own thoughts, but let's hear from you first.  :)

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ed, edd, eddies If i am river fishing for bass i tend to fish current breaks or eddies. Larger fish will hang out in areas that seem void of cover. In these eddy pools the bass are waiting for shad to get hung up in the swirls. The largemouth would perfer not to fight the current but will be in the current but positioned in a current break not in the direct heavy current. Backwater areas bass use in the same way they would use a lake. Backwater areas are great places to look for spawnning fish. The difference is in a river the current positions fish and I feel are easier to catch because it puts the fish in current breaks or along the channel. Most of the time river fish are more active and tend to take less time to react to a bait. Tide effects the backwater fish and the current fish to a degree. Tide change is not the same all through the river its kinda like a big wave The rising water positions the fish shallow and makes them more active. You can be in an area then the tide raises the water level and the fishing is great then when the fishing slacks off you can go up river or down river depending on if its a rising or falling tide and catch the influx of water again and catch the active fish. Just remember raising water the fish are going to be shallow falling water they are going to be pulling out to the deeper water. When the water is falling i tend to hit the areas where the water is dumping out back into the river it kinda funnels the bait and the bass. When the water is rising i hit the flooded cover.

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I am a river rat. I never actually fish for lazy largemouth on the river but seem to catch a lot. My partner and I drift thirty to forty yards out and fish in swift current 5-20ft deep for smalllmouth. We catch lots of bank runners when we cast in too close to shore all along the river but generally catch better quality largemouth (3-6lbs) on (1) gravel flats; (2) the mouths of tributary creeks; (3) low banks flooded in high water and (4) behind (never in) eddies. Where smallmouth seem to stage at ambush points several feet away from prominent structure (boulders, trees, points), big largemouth seem to stay right on it. On a river I think you have to put your lure or bait in their face to get a strike, little guys might chase it but the big girls let it it come to them. One more point: This time of year the baitfish are mature and abundant. As a result ALL the predators in the river are oriented to minnows (broadly defined), so I think you need to be using either live bait or lures that strongly resemble small fish. On the other hand, largemouth are so lazy they might eat anything!

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I only fish the river  here in the Northbranch of the Susquehanna and we have very few largemouth bass. What few we do get  are in the slow moveing waters,(eddies) where there are also some wood structure available. The biggest one we got this year was only 3lb. and it was caught in a creek mouth where a tree was stuck from the last flood. My client threw a surface lure (chug bug) in among the branches and it came up and whacked it.

L.D.

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I enjoyed reading all three posts so far. Ozark streams where I fish most for bass have both smallies and largemouth in good numbers. For me, largemouth are found near slow moving waters, weedlines, bays, any cover out of the main current. They tend to be pretty predictable in that they hit much better in low light than small mouth. Occasionally, I'll get some days where just one species will be active for no apparent reason, and the other species goes into hiding. At bedding time, I have seen a large female largemouth that has two or three bucks around her that may be both large and smallmouth. Interesting. Usually, though, one species predominates on a bedding area. It's neat too to watch the different way that each species strikes a lure.  And since we have Kentucky bass on our streams, that gives us another bass and all its idiosyncrases to deal with. :)

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On lake Dardenelle, Ar. the lake is a river lake controled by a dam. The water is always rising or falling it seems we only get one or two days of constent water level. I think the Cor. of Eng. schedules thier water release by the tourny schedule.

We catch a lot more fish in the lake part (coves, track and road riprap, creek mouths) of our water instead of the main river channel. I've always felt that the big ones were waiting somewhere out in the current. I can just never find them.

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In Central Florida, basically the only river we have is the St. Johns River. And it's a heck of a lot harder to catch fish out of that river than in any of the regular lakes.

In my local club, we vote on where to fish each month and NOBODY ever wants to go the river. Notoriously tough fishing.

Oddly enough, some of the best places to fish in the lakes are places that have moving water. Go figure.

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I do very little river fishing but when I do it seems the LM's like to hold close to structure (rocks, trees, whatever) downstream out of the current. I think it is like RW said Lazy LM's. Waiting in the current break for dinner to come by using as little energy as possible.

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I almost always fish lakes,but there is one exception.During the early fall,when our lakes are still so hot from summer I make float trips down a local river for what we call tighteye bass.I suspect they're Kentucky spotted bass.They don't get very big( around 3/4 of a pound),but I catch 40-50 on a good float.A white H & H spinnerbait fished on an ultra-light spinning rig,or even a Zebco 33 makes for some fine sport.I throw my H & H in slack areas near the shore targeting any kind of wood(downed or wahed down trees,limbs,snags,etc.)It's a fun alternative to the usual zooming up and down the lake searching for mr. largemouth.

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I fish the best river of them all the Mighty Mississippi. But right now its fishing like a muddy over flowing glass of water with no fish in it.

Biggest similarities between a river and a lake is grass. you find grass with any water in it you generaly find bass.

I fish the river in 3 different phases they coralate with the seasons.

Spring and late fall I look for deep water out of the current.

From post spawn to late fall I target current.

The some pools fish better in high water.

Some I prefer the Lower the better.

I could write all day on locations for what time and when but the way I been going this week I couldnt find water if I fell out of the boat.

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Successful river anglers are the ones who find the not so obvious current breaks....eddys as was stated before. I am a river rat as well and I've built a reputation by finding those spots that other guys can't.

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