Below Dam vs. Above Dam?

Discussion in 'Ohio River Fishing Reports' started by ohiou_98, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. I live a few minutes from the river, however, I don't fish it as much as the lakes and ponds near my house. I have a great boat, perfect for fishing the river, I just haven't taken it out on the river (that much) maybe once a month or so. Because the river is so big, it seems that I just kinda wonder around the river, watching my depth finder, and fishing very little. (Essentially, just going for a boat ride) But, I've made up my mind, I want to seriously target the river for all species. (Plus, due to how close I live, it's a great "after-work" place to fish.)
    Here's the bonus: I live a few minutes from the Greenup Dam, so my options to fish the river is the lower Greenup pool, and the upper Meldahl pool. While I call it a "bonus" the real problem is, "which pool am I more likely to catch fish?" If I fish above the dam the water is deeper, below the dam is a little more shallow, more current. The reason this is an issue for me is because I will not lock through the dam, I'd rather launch at a ramp above the dam or below and stay within that pool.
    So, I'm seeking help on the following questions:

    1. Are fish more abundant above or below a dam (within 10 miles above or below)?

    2. With a 20+ difference in water depth, are there any species more likely to bite on one side of the dam than the other, and which species?

    The fish I will be focusing on are all bass (large, small, striped,white, hybrid), catfish, crappie, carp, sauger/eye.

    Once I figure out which side of the dam I should be on, I'll hammer down!
  2. creekwalker

    creekwalker Moving water...

    Hands down below the dam...any dam. You're more likely to catch fish quickly there. Good structure and good current go a long way. I primarily fish the river below Meldahl dam in the spring and late fall, but I still think it would be better even during summer months.

    I suspect you could catch plenty of fish farther into the pool and have far less company, but finding structure and current would take more time.


  3. Sweeeeet....thanks for the feedback. As soon as I get home I'm get'n the boat ready and will fish about 200 yds. down from the dam. We've had a little rain today (which usually means good catfishing). Today's plan is to use cut bait and chicken liver for some cats.
  4. I agree with Creekwalker, below the dam, there's more bait, as there is usually more oxygen and shad, skipjack, etc. The predator fish usually bunch up below the dams, just because it's as far upstream as you can go.
    Hope you find some big cats!
  5. CoolWater

    CoolWater Multi-Species Fanatic

    Yep, just posting to say I agree...

    Below dams is where you want to fish - from what I've read, more than anything it is about dissolved oxygen... all that tumbling water gets it super saturated with O2. The high O2 levels bring in the fish and the high O2 + congregated fish - brings in those predator fish!
  6. Depends on what you're after. The back waters created just above the dams make for better LM bass and crappie fishing, while the tailwater areas make for great all around fishing.
  7. Depends lots on what time of year, what's running, etc. Above the dam there are lots of deep holes that hold good and big cats and few drums. And also the back pools hold bass and crappie. The river is a big place. Below the dam is always good. The eyes hit well, big cats there also. And of course lots of gar. When a spawn is on, like the white bass run, they go up river and the dam is far as they can go. The white bass run is great below the dam. And I'm like you, don't care much for going through the locks, especially since they have been working on them for months, takes forever to get through most of the time. A good ramp below the dam is the first exit to Wheelersburg, nice ramp and only about 2 or 3 miles down river from the dam. Above the dam there are lots of ramps and I mostly use the one at Greenup on the Little Sandy River. Below the dam many ways to fish, depending what you're after. Plugging the Ohio shore is good, but be aware of the rocks. It's good to anchor in the middle and throw cut baits for the cats. I was there during the gar run and gar was everywhere, 100's. Nothing else was biting, they must have run everything else away. Below the dam the current is swifter so swivels are in order.