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ksdog

What temp do smallies get rollin' ?

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This will be my first year springtime fishing for smallies. I fish area reservoirs from the shore/wadefish. Currently the lakes are froze up. I'm getting a bad case of cabin fever and am wondering how soon after the ice comes off area lakes, will the smallies get moving in so a wade fisherman can get to 'em ?

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If there is no ice, you can catch em............I also agree with wvuanother site in that once the temp of the water reaches about 45-50 degrees, action will be a lot better. For me, springtime when the water is cold is ideal for using a jerkbait to catch those smallies.  ;D

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I AGREE WITH THIS....BUT I HAVE SEEN THEM SLOW DOWN ON THE BITE WHEN THE TEMPS RISE TOO....TILL IT STAYS NORMAL FOR A WHILE.

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I've caught them as cold as 42 degrees in Lake Erie.  When it's that cold, we used to "dead stick" a tube jig on the bottom and occasionally just barely move it.  Once the water gets around 48-50 degrees.......IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!!! :)

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Last year the first tourny i fished was fridgid and they were not even hitting jerk baits.  I ended up fishing 20 feet of water with tubes and stick baits on the bottom.  The bite was almost nonexsistent, but they were there if you were patient. I believe the water was around 42-44.

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If you can get your boat on the water, fish. You can catch them anytime. Our best time here for big fish is when the water is between 35 to 42 degrees. :)

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If you can get your boat on the water, fish. You can catch them anytime. Our best time here for big fish is when the water is between 35 to 42 degrees. :)

Although our water on the Tennessee River never gets that cold, water readings in the mid-forties to the mid-fifties is prime time. I am NOT convinced it has anything to do with water temperature, I think it's about the hours of daylight. Our fish begin to spawn, every year, in late February, regardless of the water temperature. Last year the water was especially warm throughout the winter, never dropping below fifty degrees, but our spawn was not early. As far as I can tell, water temperature has no impact on the smallmouth spawn on the Tennessee River.

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Here is something fun to try. In Maine, as the season opens, some of the lakes are just starting to thaw. I've found that smallies seek out those thawed areas- usually near the shore- and look for food there. Maybe they are just bored of the ice overhead and are just longing to see the sun. Anyway, I'll put on a Gitzet, cast it from the shore onto the ice and then pull it untill it just falls over the edge and sinks to the bottom. I've never caught small fish with this technique- they aren't monsters, but they are usually it the three pound range. The water temp during this time is usually in the low 30's. I aslo rely on suspending cranks and spider jigs during this time of the year. I've found that the  bass in Maine come up to shallow water (15-20') to stage for the spawn as soon as the water is in the mid-40's.

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RW, I was talking about the very cold water bunching them up in the eddies in the mid to late winter, especially when the river is on a fast rise and getting muddy. We rock them here in those conditions. After ice out it seems that when the water gets in the mid 40's to 52, things start to really come alive again. At 57 or so it really begins to pick up and at 62 and up its go time. A great time for big smallies on spinnerbaits during this time. Our spawn is almost like clock work as well. You can bet that the last two weeks of April up through the first two weeks in May is cha-ching time. This time frame can very from year to year but, not by very much and only in few days either way time frame. Good luck. :)

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justfishin,

Man, you'll like this story:

Every trip starts out anchoring just ouside a creekmouth immediately across the river from the launch ramp. This spot is pretty close to the dam and the water is swift. It usally takes about ten minutes just to get situated just right. We cast straight out into the middle of the river as far as we can and then let out another 50-75 yards of line. The current brings the bait back into the bank and over an extended, submerged ridge. I have been fishing this spot for six years and have never caught a smallmouth!

Then why keep trying? Well, years ago, before I knew my partner, he set-up on this spot and caught seven smallmouth one morning with a combined weight of just over 45 lbs! So when you mentioned "stacking up" I kinda know what you mean. Im still waiting to duplicate that day.

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Great story RW. I would keep hitting that spot as well. I would bet that day put a smile on your face ! I have a similar story, very similar. I was on the Susquehanna one day by myself and having a mediocre day, I had run into a few friends that day and it seemed everyone was just having on of those " catch one here or there days ". I pulled up to a small, very unnoticeable point that I had caught some good fish on from time to time but, had never been one of my sweet spots. I pulled under a overhanging tree where I could get out of the fast flow and pitched up into a eddie. I caught 28 smallmouth out of that hole that ranged from around 3-10 to 5-4. A friend of mine and a couple of his buddies were just above this point and he and his buddies just anchored and watched me catch these fish. It all happened in about 35 or 40 minutes and then it was over. I was using a tube and a 1/4oz jighead and pitching it right into the very top of that eddie. I have been back to that spot, or should I say, I always stop there when I am in that area and have caught one here or there but, have never had a moment like I had experienced that day. Its like the day you were talking about, magic. I guess something was holding them or drew them there that day. To the point, I just cannot go by that hole and not stop, even if just briefly, to see if I can duplicate that magic 40 minutes. :)

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Here in MN on the upper 'sippi the big smallies bite, even when the water is in the mid-30's.  I catch MANY on large Shadraps, husky jerks, and X-raps.  The best places are in slower current. :)

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On the streams in MO I fish all winter in the usual slow down places fairly deep at least for streams. The bite picks up any time the water temp is over 40: under 40 it gets a little tougher and the bites are much mushier.  Been river fishing in the winter for 25 years and that's just the way it is in Missouri.

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When that water gets cold you should have three lures tied on:

1.  Jerk Bait- Because you never know what's going to hit it and if something does it is usually big

2.  Tube- Dead Stick- enough said.

3.  Last but not least the silver buddy or any replica of it. Hop it and let it sit and hold on.  Works great on points and in deep water and have caught a ton of good bass on it.

And just one last point-- watch the birds.  When shad get grouped up and start getting chased by pearch and trout and eveything else in the lake the birds flock for the free meal.  Smallies will follow teh sounds of the shad clicking and the birds hitting the water.  Throw the Jerkbait as far as possible and rip it through that school.  Follow it with a silver buddy or a tube for teh big boys sitting below just looking for a dead or wounded shad.  

Just my two cents

iced in -in New Hampshire

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