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Preston

Stream fishing Winter smallmouth

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Now its been too long since ive gotten out but i have to Harpith River about 5 minutes away. But this river at most points isnt much of a river more like a large stream. Ive caught some small smallmouth and largemouth there but i think theres potiontal for bigger fish cuase i caught i 5 lb drum. Well im think about going out there soon and if anybody has any tips of what to use out there. Any help would be great.

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I have been living on a "quality' smallmouth stream for the past few years here in north Arkansas. The smallmouth here feed mostly on crawfish with minnows second. The most consistent lure that produces fish is a pumpkinseed hula grub on a 1/16th to 1/8 ounce jig head, the Rebel crawfish lure, and last small 2 to 3 inch curl tail grubs minnow imitations. I would say turn over rocks and look for the minnows to try to figure out what the fish have to feed on then try to find a lure to closely imitate them.

Smallmouth also like freshwater leaches so Berkley Power Leaches and Gulp Leaches work. The key is to be flexible and experiment to find what the fish are feeding on. Smallmouth can be very picky at times preferring only say a 2 inch grub over a 3 inch and sometimes they will hit one color over another but that can change from  one day to the next or even several times in a single day. Keep trying different retrieves to find what the fish want. Don't give up on small streams. During summer here the flow on our river can drop pretty dramatically resembling a creek more than a river but people still catch smallmouth up to six pounds each year.

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Guest avid

I used to kick over rocks with a sort of shuffle step while my buddy would hold a big screen a little downstream.  We would catch alot of crayfish that way and the bass loved em.  A real bonus would be a helgramite.  Wow.  those suckers are big smallie magnets.

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    The trick to small water smallies and pots and even large mouth doesn't always rely on the lure you use but on the areas you fish. For example these fish will look for areas in the water that offer a current break such as eddies and also different structures in the water will provide a current break. Remeber if possible to fish the tail end of a hole or other current break first before moving on to the head of the structure. Pay close attention to the types of small critters you see in the creek. Look for deep holes also because these areas hold the highest concentration of fish. A push created by a hole in the bottom will also provide a current break.

      One of the most effective lures to use is a meduim diving cb. Pick your color and size by what you find in the area serving as forage, match the hatch, really when it comes down it just fish like you normally would remeber the importance of the current and downsize a little.

     Now this is where you are on your own if I tell you any more I will have to kill you. Family secretes as it where.

Peter

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I agree with most of what Pete said.In the winter on rivers or streams,I only fish the deeper "holes".That is where you will find fish stacked up in the winter.

There is a small creek that I fish year round for smallmouth,its not very wide,maybe 20 ft in some spots.There are only about 4 really deep holes on a 2 mile stretch,but I know when I get to them that  fish are there without a doubt.

My best bait by far is a small jerkbait (Husky Jerk) in particular.My most productive method of catching those fish with it is to establish where the fish are first.If the water is clear enough and you have a good pair of polarized shades,just stare into the hole for a minute or two.Most times you can catch a glimpse of a fish flashing(moving around) with sufficient sunlight.Once you see the first fish,you'll know where they are and if you keep on staring at that spot,you'll probably see more.(Old trout fishing trick)

Once I have established where they are hanging or think they should be hanging,I throw the jerkbait upstream.Once it hits,I rip it really fast(to get it down) until it nears the strike zone,then I kill it.If a fish doesnt hit it when I stop it,I let it sit for a few seconds then I rip it again,hard and fast.A smallmouth does not seem to have the power to resist an easy meal like that.If the water is too cold and I cant get a bite with the jerk,I will throw a Carolina Rig with a 4" french fry type bait.Most times it is green pumpkin in clear water.I dont use a real long leader,most often in the winter,the fish are right near the bottom.

Another good choice in the cold water would be a finesse jig,the smaller the better.But all in all,the jerkbait is my #1 choice everytime.

Dont catch 'em all

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