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Winter river fishing smallies

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Old 10-04-2012, 01:08 PM   #1
FishermanMurph
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Default Winter river fishing smallies

So I'm new to this river fishing for smallmouths (usually fish lakes in areas I've lived at before) and I been having a blast catching some nice smallies, especially from LMR. But I got wondering this past weekend....how is the fishing in rivers once winter hits? Are they hugging the bottom of deep pools? Are they still catchable? I do need to get some waders to wade the shallow parts (normally fish from my kayak but do have spots I need to walk) but would love to hit the river on a nice winter day.

And I can't believe I'm talking winter already.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:44 PM   #2
stak45dx1
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i don't know much about fishing for smallies in rivers, but i do know a thing or two about wading rivers in the winter (for steelhead in lake erie tributaries) ... if you need to get in the water you're going to need waders. lol. that water is darn cold even if you're in neoprenes. you might be able to get away with some good waterproof boots if its not too deep, but you don't want to be wet if you're out in the cold of ohio's winters.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:57 AM   #3
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I'm also thinking waterproof boots since only time I'll be getting out is in very low water. But still won't mind some good waders. I've fished the streams and other waters around Erie Pa for steelhead also and I got pretty good idea of how cold that water gets
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:08 PM   #4
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Here you are: Cut and pasted from a guy who is a much better fisherman than me:

Late Winter (prespawn) to Spawn
Most people will catch their heaviest fish of the year here, and most truly heavy fish are caught during his period (going by weight not length). Fish will be in lots of different water through this period starting in and around winter holes into mid march, transitioning slowly to eddies and mid depth pace water through April then becoming very hot right next to bedding areas right up to the main spawn, which starts at the very end of April on my waters (with some minor less organized spawns at other times) Fish will be caught on a variety of baits favoring jigs early on transitioning to stop and go baits, and go baits in the middle transitioning to everything at the end depending on the day.


Spawn:
For ruthless bed fishing anglers, the most citations of the year can be caught in the period right before the spawn and until the male abandons the nests about two weeks later. This is a terribly controversial period to fish and I don't want this to turn into a spawning discussion. Let's say we all have a responsibility to know our fishery well enough to know when you must lay off beds, and when the river population can sustain some lower recruitment of young due to bed fishing. That much I know. The morals, I don't claim any higher ground or higher understanding.

Early Summer:
Hate it. And most anglers will catch fewer citations during this period for hours fished than any other period. A select few have gotten pretty good at busting lots of citations during this period but i was never one of them.

Main Summer:
Hot ass sticky ball sweaty dog days. If you master subtle topwater presentation in the middle of the day the monsters await. Most multiple citation fly-rod days I witnessed occurred during this period. Some citations are caught very early and very late using noisier and faster less subtle topwater presentation. Some citations are caught using all other techniques with middle of the water column soft plastics working best for most anglers. A guy willing to throw a buzzbait all day long will probably be rewarded with a half dozen fish for the effort but a couple will be huge.

End of summer through early fall:
More excellent topwater flyfishing and subtle topwater bite and multiple big fish potential without the nasty heat of the day. grasses die back in rivers with grasses and bass will be in the ledgy less grassy areas. For spinfishermen the fluke, spinnnerbait, buzzbait fishing picks up. Senko fishing and slow falling soft plastics can rule. Tons and tons of citations are caught here, most anglers who can be stealthy in the boat will catch more citations here than almost any other period.

Fall:
Late September to November 15th. Jig and pig can rule, but so can other things. Tons of big fish are caught by those who understand where most fish go to winter, and then find the spots within the spots in the vast pools where they hang out. If water remains low and stable (no sharp or large rises) through the fall the fish make much less of a distinct move to wintering areas with lots of fish lingering in shallower summer haunts. A sharp cold rise will drive them to wintering areas.


Winter:
November 15th to March 1st ish. Most anglers don't have the patience, gear, skills or knowledge to bang a bunch of citations here. But there are many who do and their results are impressive. High water can be a boondoggle to those with fast boats and knowledge of bass's high cold water refuges. i always preferred moderate adn stable flows during this period but I'm always rowing a bath tub. Jig type baits rule, period. I dont' hear of as many giant heavy fish during this period as I do in the late winter-spring, my guess is because the giants are more wary and the conditions less often present themselves in this period for those giants to make the mistakes necessary for them to be caught.
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