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pa mountain man

A little embarassed

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Hello all,

I've been working at a lake(corps of Engineers) for 3 years, and due to alot of LMB waters around me, and outboard issues, I haven't fished my lake much. This lake has small mouth, trout, and predatory fish in it, it is 5 miles at summer pool, and averages 1/2 a mile wide. It is a deep lake(157' max), with steep banks. It has alot of boulders around it, with a rip rap embankment. Due to issues, it is drawn down about 30' for the next decade, so there is no shore line structure, and won't for a while. It is a fairly clear lake, I can see 20' or so.

Here is my issue, I can't catch a SM for the life of me. I have a decent array of tackle(soft baits and crankbaits). It is a low pressure lake, I can see them, but nothing I throw will get their attention. I can slam walleye on rat l traps, and even caught a small muskie on a rapala countdown, trout love the mepps, but I want some SM action. I know I'm starting at a bad time of the year, but can anyone give up some advice? I've been reading posts on here for weeks, and I've learned alot, but just not quite enough.

I have no idea how to post links, but if you go to the USACE website, under the pittsburgh district, and look at East Branch Lake, you can get some lake statistics if it helps. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Fish a T-rigged Rage Tail Baby Craw on structure.

In, on or around cover or structure.  You will catch

some fish!

8-)

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Fish a T-rigged Rage Tail Baby Craw on structure.

In, on or around cover or structure. You will catch

some fish!

8-)

X2  :)

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I have just orderd some. :) Any thoughts as to presentation, or just play with it to see whats best?

On a side note, I've caught my PB SM at 3:00am this morning there! 2 lbs., caught him on a kelly's pierboy special in red/white.

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Alot of times the problem is you can see them, it means they can see you to! Smallies can be a really temper mental fish, you might be spooking them when you can see them, if you see fish in a certain area back off from the fish give them a couple minutes to settle down and make long casts to the target. Fish also have natural instincts to eat, so you can work this to your advantage, (reaction strikes) try burning a spinnerbait or crankbait right past their face alot of times they will just strike at it out of instinct.

In the clear water you are describing I would also give swimbaits and 3-5" curly tail grubs on a 1/4oz or so head a good try. These are baits that look realistic in the water and aren't gonna make fish shy away! you can also cast a 1/4oz lead head and grub a mile with the right set up, so it gets the bait away from you

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I have fished East Branch, but it has been quite a few years.

My success there was on top water baits. I did best on a 3" popper and a zoom super fluke. Work them parallel to the banks.

Another thing to try.......drop shot small worms along those steep banks.

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If they aren't too deep, try an X-Rap or Husky Jerk.  Jerk them erratically and give them plenty of pauses in the retrieve.  Try lighter line and cast some distance from to boat (to avoid spooking the fish).  Just some suggestions.

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Smallies like chartruese bucktails.  I like mepps or joes flies inline spinners.

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Maybe, I missed it but I would be using fluoro, bare min. a fluoro leader. 

I agree w/riverrat on the jig and twister, sometimes less is more.

BnL has some great advice in top water, fluke, then drop shot.  I would throw them in that order.  Maybe, a walking bait like a spook as well. 

Low light condintions always seem to help me in clear water conditions.

a football or shakey head with a craw trailer dragged on the bottom may work as well.  when you get to a rock/snag resist the urge to pop it, shake your rod tip to flare the claws. 

JMO but natural colors have produced better for me in clear water.  Shad patterns, olives and pumpkin etc. 

Like everyone said back off the target area but toss a marker bouy to help keep track of it.

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