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TuscarawasRiverRat

Winter-time bass in a small river

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Hello, all you fellow anglers.  I'm new to this forum and have been enjoying reading the threads so far.

I'm going to just jump in here with both feet and ask for some input from y'all.

I'm in Ohio.  The Tuscarawas River is [literally] in my backyard.  This river is relatively small---probably averaging about 100' in width.  Water depths range from less than 1' to around 4' with some holes about 8' deep.  River bottom is mostly sand and gravel in my area.  Water is normally murky [about like coffee with a lot of milk in it], but in times when the dam remains stationary and when little rain falls, the water can become quite clear.

This year I've had a lot of good success with smallies [especially in September and October] using Rapalas, spinners, and jig-heads with MisterTwister tails.  Now that cold weather is coming I'd like to know where those bass are going to be found and what lures will work in the winter.

Maybe you folks have already discussed this topic previously.  If so, maybe you can point me to the pertinent threads.

Thanks.

-Rob

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Welcome aboard!

I would think those lures would continue to work through the winter, but if not, the classic hair jig would be my prime choice.

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Jumping in with first time post - don't have any answers just facing the same situation fishing the Genesee River in Western NY in the Southern Tier.  Had good luck catching smallies all summer/fall with tubes, went yesterday and never had a strike.  Air temp was 55 degrees and water was a little high.  Should I call it quits or will they hit this lat in the fall?

Any help/suggestions would be appreciated.  

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Welcome aboard!

The smallmouth bass may be inactive in NY, the water is probably just too cold. Fish don't actually hibernate, but the suspend in a very similar state. This would be a very challenging time for you up there. Maybe there are other alternatives: trout?

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im havin the same problem  the only success i found on my smaller river was a small cotten cordel crankbait. i threw the entire box at them last time and caught 2 little ones on that crankbait

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I hate to say it, but in CT lately I've shifted my focus to trout.  The bass fishing is just too tough for my taste, and you can catch some really nice trout this time of year, on bass lures nonetheless (which is part of the fun of bass fishing - using artificial lures).  As soon as I have a boat and good electronics, I may try to do some deepwater bassin', but if you have trout in your area, go for those.

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Jumping in with first time post - don't have any answers just facing the same situation fishing the Genesee River in Western NY in the Southern Tier. Had good luck catching smallies all summer/fall with tubes, went yesterday and never had a strike. Air temp was 55 degrees and water was a little high. Should I call it quits or will they hit this lat in the fall?

Any help/suggestions would be appreciated.

I live in Gowanda not far away from you. I gave up the smallie bite when the trout started to come through. Never really had any luck once those trout fisherman start to crowd the banks.

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Small jigs, hair jigs, tubes, the rapalas and inline spinners. This time of year when that water get under 50* the smallie jerkbait bite can be amazing.

As for too cold of the Mason-Dixon... There is supposed to be a tourney on Candlewood in CT in a few weeks and people are saying it might take 8 smallies for 40 lbs.+ to take it, thats just crazy.

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I called it quites unless Indian summer hits

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Wow. I can't believe it guys  :o ! Never give up on bass  ;D. This has got to be the absolute best time of the year for smallies on rivers! They do not suspend - period. They bottom hug the deepest holes and dams. You won't see them on your sonar, but if you have a UW camera, you'd be shocked! Like a load of logs down there! Lots of presentations work well, but I've found blade baits, drop shotting and Senkos to be excellent at this time of the year. Find the holes, fish slow and close to the bottom and you'll tie into some of the biggest smallies in the water. Water temps in MA are now hovering around 40 degrees. SM will be in very small, well defined areas only - their wintering holes. Dress warm and fish safe!  ;)

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This has got to be the absolute best time of the year for smallies on rivers!

And almost the worst time of year for LMB in ponds  :-/

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Bass gotta eat. My son won an ice tourney last year on a local pond with a 3.7 LM. And there are countless articles written, that substantiate feeding activity of LM during the cold water period. I think it's kinda like cracking a puzzle. You have to find them first. I don't believe you can do that without an UW camera, due to the fishes habit of bottom hugging when the water temps get down to <40 degrees. You just can't see them on a sonar. They are there; just in small, concentrated areas. I don't fish for LM this time of the year, mainly because my focus is on the big smallies available. And the fact that LM - even big ones - don't put up much of a fight in cold, open water conditions. (They come up like a log!) I much prefer targetting fiesty SM during this time of the year.  :)

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You have to find them first. I don't believe you can do that without an UW camera, due to the fishes habit of bottom hugging when the water temps get down to <40 degrees.

My original post mentions the murky [coffee & cream] color of this stream.  I doubt I could see for any real distance down below.

However---if you are willing, I'd be happy to borrow your UW camera and give it a try. :)

-Rob

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Bass gotta eat. My son won an ice tourney last year on a local pond with a 3.7 LM. And there are countless articles written, that substantiate feeding activity of LM during the cold water period. I think it's kinda like cracking a puzzle. You have to find them first. I don't believe you can do that without an UW camera, due to the fishes habit of bottom hugging when the water temps get down to <40 degrees. You just can't see them on a sonar. They are there; just in small, concentrated areas. I don't fish for LM this time of the year, mainly because my focus is on the big smallies available. And the fact that LM - even big ones - don't put up much of a fight in cold, open water conditions. (They come up like a log!) I much prefer targetting fiesty SM during this time of the year. :)

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I would look for areas of very slow moving water, like deep pools off the main river. Also look for the clearest water you can find during winter. I like to use slow moving lures and really saturate an area during winter. My favorite lures are a drop shot with a finesse minnow or worm, hair jig, or a small tube bait.

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