In my limited time on the river, I have found that skips were plentiful at the discharges of the plant along the river IF a few conditions exist.
1) The water has to be clean- clean and green I call it. You can actually get a few feet of clarity in the summer on the Ohio during periods of little rain. It is not unusual to be able to see bottom in 2 or 3 feet of water when the water is nice. I have my best luck when the water looks like that.
2) Bright sun- I have not had much luck on skips any other time- it has to be bright, clear skies with lots of sun. It silhouettes the jigs better and the skips attack them with a vengeance. The bite dies off after the sun drops.
3) Calm wind- I have not caught many skips when the water is rough, even with the other 2 conditions being right. They are there or they are not and I don't know where they go when they are not.
I have netted skips from time to time while casting for shad, but they are the small skips- 4"-5" long. These little turds get caught in the mesh of the net and it is tough to get them out of the mesh. I have netted 60 at a time around the corners when barges are tied together. I have also gotten shad in the net at the same time.
It seems that late in the summer or early fall when those 3 conditions hit, you can fill a bucket with skips very quickly. The last time I was out with Dip we nailed probably 200 in an hour or so. My brother and I were out a week after Dip and I went out and did a repeat- filled a cooler full. I haven't nailed a bunch of skips since 2002. I caught a few last year but since the river was a mess pretty much all year, I don't think many people did well.
Power plants, tailwaters, discharges, etc all seem to be skip hangouts. You'll know they're there as soon as you throw a bait. They'll jump all over the thing if you have the retrieve down right. It can be a real blast having them attacking your sabiki rig all the way to the boat.
I think the sabaki rigs are too small when the water is a bit murky and you are better off in that case with 1/16 oz. baits like double twister tails,tiny spinners and spoons,etc. Last Spring there were a bunch at the warm water discharge at Aberdeen and I got a few later in the Year at the mouth of Tanners Creek . At Tanners the water was a bit murky and I had to work really hard with a sabaki rig although the skips were busting the surface all over the place.I think they just didn't see those tiny baits very well in the cloudy water.
Good post Craig, I'll add to it, Aberdeen has been hit or miss the last couple of years, more miss than anything.
The Meldhal dam is real good when the above conditions are present as Craig stated, but those things can be real picky, last year I was there, skips blasting everything but I wasn't getting a bump, was throwing a 1/4oz. jig white curly tail Mr.Fish shows up and starts drilling them one after another, he hadn't been there 5 min. me I was there all day, they wanted a 1/8 oz. jig, which I didn't have but he tied some up for me then I started catching them, sometimes they are on the top side of the dam off the concrete platform, generally they are smaller up there and they want the Sabiki rigs, yea and they are a pain when small to clear out of a net, but even the small ones are great bait.
Anderson Ferry mid summer is a real hotspot, if the river is green and some current, there some underwater springs in that area that brings Shad into that part of the river.
The most awesome place to get them is the Cumberland river in Tenn. those Skips are on steroids down there, I have never seen skips as big as they have them, again they are hit and miss, but the powerplants and the dam areas are the best place to get them and we were using 1/4oz. white curly tailed jigs and large silver spoons.
Normally when somebody gets into them they report on the board after they get there coolers full good luck, hope you find some, I know I'm still looking for the Silver Ghosts of the river.........Doc
They should be below Melendahl any time as soon as the river gets to about 29 feet at cinci. We slayed them last year got a 48 quart cooler full in no time. We split the cooler between the 3 of us enough bait to last all of us the season could have got more but it would have been a waist!! I'll post back as soon as we start catching them & let you know what on . Just dont be selfish theres no sense in waisting . I saw guys taking cooler after cooler out last year theres no way they used that much bait unless they were selling it but thats no good either just my 2 cents Ill let you all know as soon as they start hitting.