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  1. Don't forget Guest the Fishing Tackle Flea Market starts this Thursday! http://www.ohiogamefishing.com/threads/2017-fishing-tackle-flea-market.309634/
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Winter Smallie Talk

Discussion in 'Central Ohio Fishing Reports' started by lukejhoward, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. In light of the cooling temperatures, I've been thinking more and more about how limited my fishing opportunities will be in the coming months. But I guess as long as the flows aren't frozen over, I'll probably keep trying to fish the flows. Last year at this time, I just started to read about smallmouth and creek fishing in general. I was pretty much just a pond and lake guy and I figured that waiting until spring would be best as far as taking a crack at the smallies. This year is different though because I have already become pretty familiar with the creeks. I'm determined to make the most out of the cold days that I do decide to go out and try for some smallies. So, what do you local creek guys think about the smallie bite in the winter? What are some of your strategy changes even before you cast your lure? Are you really only looking in deeper holes or are the areas in and around the riffles still a key point of interest? Any key lures specifically (obviously slower, subtle presentations in general)? Also, what are your guys' opinions on slow rolling joshies steadily in the winter? I have just recently gained a lot of confidence in the joshy swimbaits and I want to keep fishing them throughout the winter. Any information or discussion would be awesome, I'm just looking for an interesting thread.



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  2. Deazl666

    Deazl666 A one-man wolfpack...

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    It depends on which flow you like to fish. Smallmouth can travel up to 50 miles in search of a winter hole. I've never had luck in my creek in the dead of winter, or at least the many stretches I fish, because, IMO, there are few if any truly deep holes, and, secondly, there are no impoundments to prevent the fish from making it all the way to the Scioto, or close to it. Bottom line is that I suspect most of my fish are gone. That being said, look for rivers that are dammed up and try those deep holes above the dams, or, seek out the deepest holes you can find in your flow and hit them hard. Keep in mind the colder the water the smaller the strike zone. One last thing: pay close attention to Allbraid's reports; he is the master of locating and catching winter bronze..
     

  3. Great thread idea and I am looking forward to the responses. I am new to the creek fishing scene as well and I can honestly say I enjoy it much more than nay other kind of fishing. I have some waders on back order from Cabelas and plan on fully utilizing them come winter.

    Looking forward to some more info!!!!!
     
  4. [​IMG] [​IMG] My Favorite fishing for smallmouth is during the dead of winter. Catching fish when your not supposed to is very satisfiying. Central Ohio flows for the most part remain fishable all winter. The smallmouth/selfie pic was taken/caught on one of the coldest days of last winter. The other winter smalley shows you a Big Joshy in her mouth. I caught a few good fish during the "Polar Vortex" while most were indoors dreaming of spring....LOL!!

    You asked about lures for winter smallmouth, the Big Joshy IMO is almost perfect for this application and accounted for 75% of my winter smallmouth (I say almost, because perfection is difficult to achieve) . Tubes caught the remainder. Joshys and Tubes are about all that I use in winter and really lighten the load in my pack. They are near perfect for searching the deeper water. My presentation the majority of the time is a cross current or slightly upstream cast, letting the jig/tube sink while maintaining a semi tight line with a high rod tip and then following the path of travel of the lure with the rod tip and maintaining contact with a semi tight line. If I feel any change in the drift or if the jig/tube stops, set the hook and be prepaired to smile:D. I also found that you need to add a floro leader in winter due to the water being gin clear, I use a micro swivel attached to my braid and then 8 or 12lb floro about 15 inches long and then my bait tied directly to this. Also in terms of equipment , keep your line coated in WD40 to repel water and slow down ice build up, and clean your rod guides, this seems to slow down the formation of ice. Your guides WILL ice up and there is no magic formula to stop it, just take your time and remove the ice from your guides, this is just the cost of doing buisness. Put and extra reel in your pack, a long walk to a winter hole and your reel breaks "sucks" to say the least. Or take and extra rod and reel. This should get you started. I will send more later about location and the types of water to look for IMO....but with todays temps going in the 70s I am going to go make what may be my last run of the year for largemouth, they hate the cold, LOL!!! Good luck and tight lines!!! I hope many others chime in on your thread.
     
  5. First of all, I must say that those pictures are incredible, Allbraid! It's always pretty cool seeing a fish laying in the snow (since it is quite the achievement). Anyways, I really appreciate the advice from both Deazl and yourself. I'm glad to hear that you have confidence in josh swimbaits in the winter because they are one of my favorite lures to fish for the smallies. I also really like throwing tubes! Both joshies and tubes have been go-to baits for the creek. As far as presentation, are you saying that you are simply letting your lure drift? o you actually swim or bounce the joshy or bounce tubes at all? Obviously, a subtle presentation is the name of the game in the winter but are you actually working the lure at all or are you letting the water just drift it through? Also, please do share advice on type of water...I know the spring and summer hot spots but I think winter will have me looking elsewhere, so i may have to change how I approach the creeks completely. Anyways, thanks everybody and I'm excited to see any more information that anyone may have to share!
     
  6. Deazl666

    Deazl666 A one-man wolfpack...

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    I recall you recommending big white tubes, but what size and color of Joshy's are you using? Thanks!!!
     
  7. Any thing with sparkles. Slush, salt and pepper, sparkle chart, chart slush and the new one I got is Slims bait, looks like its gonna be good. I like the 2.75 inch on the 1/8 oz jig head. 3 inch white tubes with sparkle. Depending on flow I use 1/8 oz or 1/4 oz. Bounced along the bottom moving with the current, all these can be effective.
     
    Athens_Smallmouth likes this.
  8. Lukejhoward, hope this info is helpful. The water I look for is not necessarily the deepest, but water that offers shelter from current at any level or flow. These fish are looking for places that they can hold out during a midwinter high water event. 90 Degree bends are a good place to start, any type of wing wall type structure, the down stream side of a island. Look closely at your flow now and find the deep water areas and the next time the water is up go do your leg work and find those areas that offer current breaks at high water.

    As far as how I work the bait I attempt to keep it as close to the bottom as possible with the occasional hop or twitch. Jig fishing=jigging, up and down movement. Imitates the dying flutter of a bait fish.
     
  9. Your info is absolutely helpful! It makes sense that fish hold in places that have the least amount of current because they do not want to expend a lot of energy to eat in cold water, so they will not be chasing baits in heavy current (or any current really). I'll definitely have to think back to my wades to see if their were any especially deep areas or changes/structures that would halt flow significantly.

    Keeping the bait on the bottom (as if it were dying) also makes sense. I just wondered if you used a VERY slow swim retrieve with the joshy baits because a swim retrieve is the traditional retrieve (as far as I can tell) for joshies. It makes sense that jigging would be best in the winter though....
     
  10. Luke, I was out on the web looking around and googled "winter river smallmouth fishing" and found a guy in Virginia who writes about this subject and has tons of good tips and advice. He talks about many of the same things that I have shared with you. See if you can find it and read his page, full of great advice and very well written. He really covers all about finding those areas with lack of current at all water levels. Hmmm must be something to that. Let me know if you find it or not and I will track down the web page for you.
     
  11. Found it. I have actually read the very long article on BassResource (that I think you are referring to) before, it's a great article. Very informative and upon reading it again, I feel like I've picked up more info.

    Another question for you, Allbraid...when you river fish in the winter for smallmouth do you simply bank fish or do you actually wade? Or kayak?
     
  12. Glad you found it, very informative article.

    I wear my waders most days that I visit my wintering holes to afford me the ability to move across shallow areas and to be able to get closer to areas I want to cast to. I stay out of the water as much as possible, but want the ability to move freely through the river system. Over the next month is when I will really locate where the bass are holding and as history has shown me they will be in these areas throughout the winter. Get out over the next few weeks and find your fish they will really start to concentrate and abandon the vast majority of your flow.
     
  13. acklac7

    acklac7 S.S.

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    You probably want to take that down or else everyone is going to know your spot. As im sure you are well aware that entire area is 100% private property, the last thing it needs is a bunch of goons back there pissing the landowners off.
     
  14. streamstalker

    streamstalker deleted

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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  15. acklac7

    acklac7 S.S.

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    That gravel bar has really filled the entrance in nowadays, water only gets in when the river is up quite a bit. Still no way in hell i'd ever venture out on the ice there though.
     
  16. streamstalker

    streamstalker deleted

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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  17. back to the subject....

    lukejhoward, glad you asked and started this thread. This will be my first serious attempt to fish throughout the winter season. Much appreciate the knowledge "allbraid" is able to share too. Think I'm going to keep targeting Smallmouth but also attempt Saugeye. Been hitting it once a week but hands are getting cold, so it's the main reason I indicate "attempt". Goodluck and keep the knowledge flowing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2015
  18. Allbraid, have you any luck with hair jigs?
    I have not but wanted to check with the master before writing them off.
     
  19. No Master here, but thanks for the compliment.

    I have never tried hair jigs, but I believe they would work well. They basically have the same movement as a tube if you think of how they would look under water. I have met a few winter smalley chasers that use hair jigs with success. I have 2 hair jigs in my tackle bag that I plan on trying this winter.

    Was out this afternoon and fished 1 hour (2 to 3) caught 5 small smallmouth all on a Joshy craw in ohio special color (brown). Worked one hole of water on the river, started off with a pink jighead 1/8 oz and a antifreeze flash joshy minnow (green with sparkles) worked the hole from tail to head. No bumps or takes. At the head of the hole I switched to the joshy craw with 1/8oz jighead and reversed direction. By the end of the hole I had 5 small 10 to 12 inch fish.[​IMG]
     
  20. Nicely done!
    I have heard plenty of times people say that hair jigs are a great winter bait, but i have had no such luck.
    I do plan on breaking some rules this year and tying a sculpin fly onto my spinning gear! After all I see them closely resembling a hair jig, but the rabbit fur should have a ton of movement.
    In theory.
     
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