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JCrzy4Bass

Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg

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Hey guys, I've been looking at data for the river down by Fredericksburg as of late and the water temps are ranging from low to mid 50s (52-58) degrees. They were on a upward trend a couple days ago but are declining. I know we have this front coming through to the east with rain forcasted for the next couple days, but afterward the temps are going to be in the 60s almost all of next week with no night temps dropping below 45.

I'm new to spring smallie fishing and I'm trying to plan my first outing there for not next week, but the following week. I don't plan on wading (still too cold) but know of a few good spots to hit where there are some deeper pools and slack water adjacent to shallower areas. As long as the temps bring another upward trend over the next two weeks, what would you guys recommend I look for as far as "spots" go on this river system?

There are plenty of islands, larger boulders, winding current areas, rock formations, etc. It's completely non-tidal and the average depth is between 2 to 2 and a half feet in most areas with deeper pools in the middle of the river.

I normally throw tubes, grubs on jig heads, and small minnow jerkbait lures. Where should I focus most of my efforts and where will the fish be moving during this time? Will they require a lot of coaxing or should the normal toss into current, allow bait to come back downstream technique work? Or am I going to need to work holes more methodically?

Oh yea I forgot to mention they like the grass in this river (caught my 1lb 13oz pb in a green patch of weeds last year), but I don't think it's going to be a factor this early as not a whole lot has probably grown before now.

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I doubt you will find a specific pattern, the fish are probably scattered.

However, structure, current breaks and depth changes always have

potential.

8-)

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J, the river fish down here near Harrisonburg have been sitting in deep pools below current. Try drifting baits through the current then down into the deep part of the pool. Not sure if they're doing the same thing in Fredericksburg but that seems to be what they're doing here.

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Thanx Dan.  I'll definately make sure to try that out.  I was planning on keeping the baits a bit smaller (using grubs more so) and bringing them through the slower moving pools and letting them kind of flutter down.  

Are you finding them relating more so to bottom content then?

You fishing the Shenandoah River?

What type of bottom structure are you finding in most pools?

Just curious man... thanks for the help as usual Dan.

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Yes, I've been fishing the Shenandoah, as well as the North River. That's part of the reason why I said it may be different in Fredericksburg, because the Shenandoah and the Rapp are very different rivers. The Shenandoah's bottom goes from silty to bedrock depending where you are, the Rapp is usually more Sandy and has isolated boulders instead of completely rock bottom.

I am not very familiar with the part of the Rapp you are fishing (I'm guessing near River Rd.) but I would try drifting plastics (grubs, senkos, tubes, or my favorite, flukes) through any current that empties into slower, deeper water. That might be a lot of areas to fish but unless you know of specific pools with specific rocks or structure, it might be the best way to find fish. If you find rocks in deep, slower water pools, maybe try targetting them with a shaky head to get down to the bottom more effectively than drifting. You may even want to try a crankbait down on the rocks but I haven't used them yet this year. Good luck, let me know how you do.

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Last time I went the bottom was covered with leaves making shakey heads a less than desirable approach but I'm hoping some of that has lifted and the bottom is a bit clearer of debris now. If so I will probably pick up a pack of finesse worms (don't have any in my smallie tackle) and some jig heads and give it a whirl. Maybe even try wacky rigging one up and jigging it through those deeper areas once I find some good rock structure. I'll let you know and I'll be sure to take pics if it's any good.

And yup, I'll be fishing River Rd and Fall Hill Avenue. If it's not too muddy I plan on crossing the river by the campground (huge rocks go all the way across the river) and fish further up the right side to the first bridge (deeper water and more structure and fish habitat). The plus side to this is there is a spillway pond on this side of the river where some of the water dumps off during high water stages, fish get trapped in here and are really easy to pick off.  Sometimes the water is so clear you can sight fish for them.  I'll have to take you up there sometime.  

Later.

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JCrazy... Im from fredericksburg and am eager to make a trip back down probably next weekend to fish a bit.  Post back about how your trip goes.  I'm excited to see what they are doing around this time.

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Fillip, you should postpone til' the 25th and actually get out with me haha.  Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes.  I don't expect much, but the ones I do expect are good size (hopefully) just because the deeper areas I will be fishing.  But we will see.  I didn't see any bait out there last time so it was tough (February lol).  But this should be a bit better.

You catch em' out here regularly when your up?  Have you ever fished for em' in Fredericksburg this early in the season before?  If so how have you done in years past?

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J,

If you don't want to wade (I wouldn't either this time of year), or get frustrated fishing the bank, you might want to try and fish the tidal portion downstream from Fredericksburg. I have caught smallmouth there in the past. Fish upstream from Little Falls ramp. As you move upriver, be observant of submerged bolders and rock/gravel banks that will appear, particularly on the left (green) side of the river. You might want to try a brown/green jig or perhaps throwing a square billed crank into the laydowns around these areas.

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Hey Vekol,

I'll try that dude, you rock man. How much bank fishing or how far can you walk in this area? Can you reach a lot of the structure from the bank?

I know smallmouth have been caught a ways down and that sounds fun. If I hooked into a largemouth I wouldn't mind, just targeting smallies. Let me know if you get a chance man. Thanks for the help bud.

I just mapquested it and it's only another 4-5 miles from where I normally fish.  I wasn't aware the smallies made it down this far on the tidal portion, but I guess with the dam gone they can migrate just like the shad and so forth.  How big have the ones you caught there been on average?  Any good size?  Thanks for the new spot man, never even knew it existed.

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I hope you guys catch some big smallmouth so you can replace your avatars!    :o

Those ugly green trout just don't cut it.   ::)

8-)

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RW--I don't think anyone is going to pull anything out of the Rappahannock to challenge the two monsters that you're holding in your avatar. There is a huge population of smaller fish though--we had a good year class a few years back, and reproduction has been at normal levels since, so there are a lot of fish in the one lb. range.

J--that is what you can expect to catch. As far as numbers of smallies I've caught on the tidal portion. The truth is, exactly one. I caught it though, a few miles downstream from Little Falls though. So if there was one that far downriver, there is likely more the closer to the fall line you get. As I said, as you get closer to the fall line, the more rock and gravel you find, and that is the key. Smallmouth do not like mud bottom, and that is what you mainly find in the tidal portion of the Rapp. I have not specifically targetted smallies in the tidal portion, I generally fish for largemouth, but as you observed, there is nothing stopping a smallmouth from getting into the tidal portion except preference for hard bottom composition. (Salt content is not much of a factor that far upriver.)

If you happened to catch Mike Iaconnelli's "City Limits" show a couple weeks back on VS you saw him get into a bunch of smallmouth downstream from DC on the Potomac near a water discharge. Good example of smallmouth breaking the rules.

Unfortunately, no bank access that I know of. Your choices for boat launching are the Fredericksburg City dock, just east of the CSX railroad bridge, or Little Falls boat ramp east of Fredericksburg on Rte. 3. Beware, the Rapp can be a tricky river. There are old submerged pilings that extend out towards the centerline of the river, some submerged boulders, and snags. Go slow until you learn where this stuff is at.

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Vekol, I was just going to mention that episode in reference to this thread. I was shocked when I saw them catching smallies that far below the fall line on the Potomac, and they caught quite a few, it wasn't just one random fish. It's always amazing how fish will go against conventional wisdom. For example, I caught a striper up by Elys Ford on the Rapidan

Has anyone fished that really rocky section that you cross on I-95 right before you get to the city? I always look down as I drive over that bridge and it looks like there could be some good spots down there if you can get to them.

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Dan fished it earlier in February. There is quite a bit or rock but the water was really high and muddy when we went. But I fished a jig all morning and there are plenty of breaks for the fish and the bottom is pretty hard. It looks like it could be a good area come spring.

Also there are some nice river bends with some rocky indentations as you approach the route one bridge and you can walk AWAYS down from the parking spot (we parked by the fire station off river rd at the bridge) and find some nice deep holes. I think the water was just too cold in February to expect anything but my dad and I hadn't been out in forever and had the itch.

The current is plenty strong here so wading may be tough unless you know the area. There are also some muddy flats that come out opposite side of the river where the water is a bit calmer, so you may get some largemouth action too, not sure if they come up this far though. But I have caught a largie up by the route 3 bridge wading so who knows.  Also the great part about this spot is the shoreline isn't flat, but it has a little steepness to it, so you can cast really far out and cover at least 1/2 to 2/3 coming across the river giving you a lot of ground to work with when finding the fish.  I can't wait til' it warms up so I can try it again.  I may even hit here on the 25th too.

Vekol, won't have my dads boat but maybe next time we go out on the rap I'll try that spot.  Thanks.

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Fillip, you should postpone til' the 25th and actually get out with me haha.  Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes.  I don't expect much, but the ones I do expect are good size (hopefully) just because the deeper areas I will be fishing.  But we will see.  I didn't see any bait out there last time so it was tough (February lol).  But this should be a bit better.

You catch em' out here regularly when your up?  Have you ever fished for em' in Fredericksburg this early in the season before?  If so how have you done in years past?

jcrazy... I didn't actually really get into smallmouth action until after the spawn last year.  But I spent quite a few days last summer just wading off river road and by fall hill.  My friends and I normally go up by the outdoor center and wade up river where there are a couple of pretty good spots.  I don't remember getting skunked but maybe one time all summer, but there also weren't really many times that I went out and destroyed them other than maybe one day when it started raining and the bite really picked up.  I've learned so much more this winter though so hopefully this year I can refine my skills and put some of that knowledge to the test.  I doubt I will be able to make it up the 25th but I'm up for fishing just about any time this summer because I will be living there.

Good luck when you go and hopefully we can get some fishing time together in a month or so.

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Hey Guys, I was very happy to find this post. I recently moved down to Fredericksburg a few months ago. I am originally from Eastern Pa. I haven't had too much time to fish lately but once I finish up my coursework this semester, I intend to change that. Reading all the posts was a great base of information. I live very close to the Rappahannock and will definitely try it out. I am by no means a master angler, but just enjoy getting out there.

Jcrazy or Phishin Fillip if you guys are ever in the area give or if you know of any other good places for smallmouth, give me a shout. Until I get my profile and everything set up you can email me at SKMafia83@hotmail.com.

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Welcome aboard!

8-)

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