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Hey I'm from Chicago and want to fish the river systems that are available to me not far from home. Yes, fish actcually can live in there now despite any past stories you have heard. I was wondering what kind of strategies you guys use when fishing an industrial river system. Lakes aren't too much of problem, but I'm new to rivers in general so any help would be appreciated.



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My county has the Chattahoochie river just downstream of Atlanta as a border.

Upstream from Atlanta, the "hooch" is a very good trout fishery, and forms Lake Lanier.

Downstream from Atlanta, the hooch floods West point, Eufala, and Seminole, some very healthy, productive bass water.

Even with the amount of pollution dumped in the hooch in Atlanta, the waters just downstream are productive bass, catfish, and bream waters. Because of the hooch's reputation, the difficult boating and access, this is a severly underfished river.

I also fish several feeder creeks that feed the hooch.

Most of these waters are slow moving and full of wood. Most of the time, I'm pitching jigs or large plastics in darker colors to blowdowns and shallow wood.

The keys to finding river fish is like finding them anywhere else: Current, water temp and color, food, and the presence of cover or structure.

1. If it's hot, the bass will find the coolest water. If it's cold, bass will seek warmer water. That's why feeder creeks off major rivers are good places to fish during extreme temps.

2. Bass will seek areas near current that offer current blocking and concealment. Blowdowns and cuts on the outside river channel bend are good places.

3. Another reason to seek feeder creeks is the presence of food in these creeks. Baitfish, salamanders, crawdads.

To me, it's much easier to locate bass in a river or creek than it is in a lake. I usually catch larger fish. The bass bite more consistantly, and turn off less. It's harder and more dangerous than fishing lakes, but to me, the trade off is worth it

Here's a link for Georgia river fishing, but the basics should be the same. This site has some excellent info that should help in any river.


BTW....Did I mention the current world record came off an oxbow, or small flooded lake beside a river, in south Georgia.

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Hey thanks that does help. Gives me a better idea for my next trip. It kinda sounds like the cal-sag by me. Yeah that's right George Perry's record came from the oxbow in Georgia

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The majority of my fishing is on the Tennessee River, but I don't actually fish for largemouth on the river. We do catch a few, but they are incidental. Smallmouth and striper are what we really target depending on the time of year. I'll just address smallmouth on this thread.

Current is EVERYTHING, nothing else really matters. As a commercial river, the water release is a function of electrical generation, barge traffic and flood control. Fishing and other recreational use is a distant fourth consideration. For smallmouth fishing we can get away with 20,000 cfs, but 40-140,000 is ideal.

My fishing buddy and I fish both sides of the river. The "outside" is swifter and has better structure. This is generally much more productive, especially on lower water and in the fall. Productive stretches on the "inside" are much more defined: breaks, flats, and holes. Another area we focus on is the channel or more specifically the edge or channel drop. This is pretty well defined by navigational buoys.

Our two keys for success, especially for catching bigger smallmouth, are fishing live bait and fishing deep. Smallmouth relate to current and structure, not cover. Focus on structure in deep water and in strong current. That's where the big girls live.

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