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The_Mad_Fisherman

New Water Troubles - Finding Fall Fish

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I'm soon to be going to a fairly new lake for me. This is the first time I have ever been there in the fall. I am prefishing for the Jr. State Championship. It will be Oct. 7 & 8. Here on Rough River Lake, KY. Not that that is of much importance. The facts are that it is a semi-clear lake. Usually 2 - 5 ft. visibility. Deep and rocky. It is mosly 100% rock shoreline. It's got some good floating boat docks, a little standing timber in the backs of creeks in the 12 - 45ft. deep water. This spring I found a little feeder creek in the back of the creek arm. The water was running in the the bass were just crushing the shad. But I couldn't catch one, no matter what I fished through there.

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I'm not trying to turn this into strictly a have you seen the lake post, but that seems to be what it is turning into. But if you have fished the lake before, and know a little bit about it, then PLEASE e-mail me: wphouchens@juno.com

I thought about going up this Saturday and looking for some good spots to fish, but I don't know where to begin. I'm not really sure how to catch River Lake fish in the fall, more less I can't catch fish anywhere during Oct. unless it is my homebody of water, Barkley or kentucky lakes. When fishing, what should I throw? What do you like to throw? I would like to fish around some boat docks with spinnerbaits, throw a little lipless cranks and maybe a shakeyhead or mojo some too.

What do you like to do when the fish head for the back of the creeks? What kinda creeks do you look for, when your looking on a topo map of the lake? How do you select your looking spots for the prefish?

I know this is A WHOLE LOT of questions, but I am really in need of A WHOLE LOT of information. ;D

Oh NO!  Just as I was writing this I seen on their website that:

"The normal reservoir operation will be modified in fall of 2007 only. The lake will remain

at its authorized summer level of 495 feet until September 10, 2007, one week after the

Labor Day weekend. After the holiday, an accelerated drawdown of the lake will begin

to reach winter pool elevation of 475 feet by October 15, 2007."  And the tournament is going to be Oct. 7 & 8.

But just to say, if you do know this lake or can lend any advise to help me along the way, please email me!

I hope that doesn't get me demoted to the "Fishing Places Forum Board" :-/

Thanks

-Wil

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My advice is this... spinnerbait, and crankbait. Since the water is semi-clear, I'd throw a white spinnerbait.. probably with a gold oklahoma blade, or maybe even a colorado. Throw it anywhere you can. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are the best search baits available. I'd throw a Rapala DT-10 for those deeper rockier situations. I don't look for creeks.  I'll cast my spinnerbait right up on the edge of the bank and catch an 8 pounder sittin shallow in the morning.

The best advice that I can offer you is to have fun while doing it. I honestly don't think fishing should be about competition. Sure, tournaments are fun, and we've all participated in them... but just remember you're out there because you love fishing, not a prize.

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Thanks, I'll keep that in mind when I am there tomorrow.  I agree about the competition thing, but I REALLY need to place in the top 5.  By doing that and then going to fish against the top five, I will get to go fish in the FLW jr. Championship.  Just like the BASS Jr. Classic, but this will be a new addition into the FLW Tour.  

Strangley enough, I've never seen or caught a shallow fish in this lake.  I've fished it about 5 times now, but always in the spring and summer.  When I catch one on a top water in the morning, it is usually about 10ft away from the bank, and it usually comes on a buzzbait.

Thanks

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The best advice that I can offer you is to have fun while doing it. I honestly don't think fishing should be about competition. Sure, tournaments are fun, and we've all participated in them... but just remember you're out there because you love fishing, not a prize.

That's great to say and I somewhat agree, but the fact of the matter is he's out there to compete and represent himself on a state level.  While you can be a good loser and keep a positive attitude it's still no fun to lose!

Ok off soap box....  definately spinnerbaits and cranks, that's great advice.  I would do a search for Roadwarrior's responses to fall and/or river fishing.  Those threads have some really good advice in them.  

As for missing the bass that were crushing the shad, try to present a bait in a way that is a bit different than the shad or might look like an injured shad/bait fish.  The wiser (and generally larger) bass are waiting for the fall out from the junior bass feeding frenzy.  Dont count out senkos/knockoffs in these situations either.

B

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All great advice. Be careful not to disqualify yourself. My two grandsons are fishing JR BASS as well and there is a fourteen day off limits period for fishing and a 7 day off limits for soliciting specific information about fishing conditions or fishing reports from any source other than another competitor.

 That said bass are moving this time of year towards the back of creeks and into main lake coves and pockets. Find the bait and the bass are going to be near by. When you find the bait then look for some type of cover the bass will use to hide around or under.  

Crank baits, and spinner baits are great search baits to find feeding fish but if it's a tough day remember to slow down and down size every thing. For example, if you are catching them on a 5 inch senko in practice and on the tournament they stop do the same thing but with a three inch senko. If you cant get a bit on a crank bait try a jerk bait, if they don't want a spinner bait try an in-line # 3 or 4 Mepps spinner. One time I found schooling bass feeding on shad in open water and messed with them for hours before I figured it out. I threw everything at them then and finally I tied up a small single blade ¼ oz spinner bait and burned it across the top of the water as fast as I could and that's when I started catching fish. In that same situation I could have had used a zoom Horney Toad Texas rigged with a ¼ oz bullet weight and burned it across the top and then killed it and let it sink.  If the fish are aggressive buzz baits, frogs, and poppers work all day long even when its sunny. I hope this helps young man and good luck. Let us know how you do.

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When fishing new water, I try flipping and pitching senkos, jigs, spidergrubs, fat ikas, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits.  Yeah, this is pretty general, but if you know your bait color to water clarity basics and weight to season ratios, then you should be well off.

I'd try a senko or fat ika in watermelonseed, junebug, or pumpkin.  My spidergrubs would probably be cinnamon with purple or black with blue.  My spinnerbaits would be white/chartruse with blades matching the day (brighter the day, brighter the blades).  Crankbaits would be firetiger.  Jigs would be white, black/blue, or black/chartruse.  That's just my personal preferences.

Fat Ikas and senkos would be weightless.  Spidergrubs, jigs, and spinnerbaits would be small and between 1/4 and 3/8oz.  Crankbaits would have a wide wobble and rattles.

Using your favorite baits (those are just my favorite starters up there) you should start probing deep water points, creek channels, and coves with both.  Bass will either be transitioning or already in fall patterns.  I'd start shallow and work deep, but pay attention to any sonar you have.  It could tell all.

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I'm shocked that no one has mentioned TOPWATER. In a clear water environment a topwater bait such as a shad colored pop-r or walking style bait is deadly, especially in the Fall when the fish are chasing schools of bait.

It can be a great search bait also, it will draw fish up that will strike at it, another bait may be more suited once the fish are located.

Falling water may pull the fish off shore. Fishing over deeper structure or cover such as brush piles may be something to consider.

Let me say this, some have responded for you to try a spinnerbait. I do not like to fish a spinnerbait in a clear, grass-less, lake. I prefer a crankbait worked along the bottom or deflected off rocks or other cover.

Most importantly............ What are you strengths????? Do not go into a large tournament with the mindset that you have to fish like everyone else or in a way that you do not normally do.  Take your 3 strongest techniques, apply them to the lake you are fishing (and the seasonal movements of bass) and GO WHACK EM.  

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I've gotten to where I only use topwater if I see a lot of baitfish busting the top of the water, schoolers, or irresistable places for frogs.  Everywhere else I'm usually tossing jigs, ikas, spinnerbaits, or shallow crankbaits.  Between those 4 styles of baits, I can cover the entire water column pretty effectively and establish patterns without having to use topwaters as a search tool.  Unless a topwater style IS the pattern, then it really shouldn't be used too much during a tournament.  They just aren't as reliable in most cases.  On new water, jigs are my first choice 10 out of 10 times.

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I wouldn't waste my time chasing bass busting on shad or chasing shad schools. If I was in an area that shad was going crazy close to me I would fire off a few casts with either a topwater lure like a spit'n image or a prop bait or a jerkbait. If you run around chasing schoolers your going to be on the short end of the stick. What would be smart was to target places that the bass come to feed. You want to look for obstacles that will bunch up the shad. A bend in the river (fish the outside bend), point, hump, narrow cut, bridge, rock bank, pilings, the large tanks that the barges tie up to, dam, log jam full of river trash, a depression, stump if in the right place. Target ambush points. If the lake drops out because of draw down find the channel and places where the channel is closest to shallow water. Bridges and steep banks or bluff banks are areas that the bass just need to make a minor adjustment for comfort. They don't need to abandon their area from lack of water or depth. The draw down also concentrates the bait even more and makes fishing ambush points more important. Lure options are up to you and what works for you. I would take along a spinning rod with some finesse lures. I also would spend some time learning to swim a jig because this time of the year it is killer. Crankbaits are another great option or a jerkbait.

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Well, I didn't get to go to the lake this Sat. because of the tornados and excessive flooding we had in Western KY.  So, I went to my pond between storms, and managed out a nice 4 1/2 lber flipping a little trick worm.  Anyhow, I was watching Bassmaster yesterday morning, and I got to think about the Chatterbait.  I haven't used them very much, but ever time I've used them here on Barkley or Kentucky Lakes, I catch fish or I have a good one come up on it.  So do you think it would be worth my time to bring out a white chatterbait and fish a little with it.  I noticed that bassnleo didn't perfer to throw a spinnerbait in these conditions.  So would maybe a white chatterbait be okay?  The shad in this lake as of about 2 weeks ago, were about 3/4 the length of your little finger..  So I guess that would make them about 1 3/4 - 2 inches long.  Not really big.  The steep banks that I have known to hold fish here recently, are really deep, but they aren't bluffs.  They are about 60* angle, so they are about half way between a 45 degree drop and a 90 degree bluff.  I fished a little tournament there a couple weeks ago, and another guy that was fishing this bank really just outside the cut of the ramp, caught his 3 nice keepers about 20deep on a shakey head.

I've been using this website to help myself look for spots. Is this site really able to produce so information that can help me?  

http://terraserver.microsoft.com/usgsentry.aspx?T=1&S=14&Z=16&X=170&Y=1300&W=1&qs=13689+Falls+of+Rough+Rd%7cFalls+of+Rough%7cKY%7c

Do you see anything on here that can help?  I'm putting in about a mile below the dam.

Thanks Everyone!!!!

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In clear water I would be throwing a 1/4 spot remover with a green color finesse worm. I would keep your bait choices as simple as you can until you figure things out. The most important is to throw baits you have confidence in. There is no use trying a bunch of new baits. When I fish my lake or another I start out throwing the same things. Bass are Bass in any lake and most of the time what works in one lake will work in another. In my part of the country right know it is Soft and Hard jerkbaits, Jigs, 1/8 -1/4 buzzbaits and Shakey Heads. and Spinnerbaits in natural colors. Keep It Simple.

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I agree with spotaholic.  Simplicity and confidence > than complexity.  It's hard to go wrong sticking to the basics, which is why I fish a jig everywhere I go.  A spotremover or other weedless standup jig head are good choices, though I prefer hulagrubs over finesse worms.  Personal preference there though.

A white chatterbait wouldn't be a bad idea I suppose, but I am not well versed in chatterbait fishing.  shallow to mid cranks in bluegill, shad, or craw colors will work as well in clear water.  I prefer bluegill colors, but thats me.  Same goes for lipless chrankbaits and spinnerbaits.

If you like skirted jigs, stick to either brown, green, or blue/black.  Those 3 colors will work almost anywhere in the country.  Sure, some other variations of the colors will work better, but one of those 3 will almost always get you bit.

Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and a form of jig are pretty much all you need to bass fish on any body of water.  One of those will almost always catch at least fish or two (NOTE: ALMOST ALWAYS).  It's important to be versatile though and be ready to throw things like finesse baits, senkos, fat ikas, or certain rigs like C-rigs.  

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The deep and rocky sounds perfect for smallies! If your going for LM then I'd try throwing some baits around those docks and trees you mentioned. Maybe drop a worm in beside the dock. Anyway good luck.

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Try looking it up on earth.google.com you might get a better picture. ::)

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ive been wondering about a chatterbait in fall and thinking they may be a good option.  seems to have fallen out of favor with the fickle fishing community so no one else may be throwing them.  i dont know how crazy i am about them in clear water though (although thats a personal thing based on very little other than a few bad trips)

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Thanks for the help everyone.  I was able to go up there and do my best.  After day 1 I was in 9th place.  And on day 2 I made a comeback to finish up in 2nd place.  It should have been first, but I accidentally released a legal fish on Day 2.  But for a 2 day total of fishing, I had 4 keepers that weighed 6.48lbs.  It was really rough fishing.  And the key seemed so apparent after day 1.  Everyone was fishing shallows around the banks, except for one boy that was fishing jerkbaits over 30ft. of water.  On day 2 me and this boy shared the same water and I managed to get my fish off of this bridge point in 30ft of water with a shaky head.  I was the only other one that decided to go looking for deep water fish, and I doubled the weight of anyone else on the second day.

Well, what is important is that I made the top 5 cut and I'm going to fish Nolin River Lake on Nov. 4th.

Thanks again

-Wil

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Congratulations  ;D

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