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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fished river Thursday and Friday. Smallmouth from 12" to 18" on HJ14 firetiger. Some aggressive some wanted a slow retrieve. Water clarity was good with lots of leaves. Varied retrieve every which way but steady. Half dozen small pike (up to 28" or so Thursday). None Friday. No photos. All released. No cell phone. Every fall ,somewhere under 60 degrees , smallmouth really turn on to minnow baits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Now is the time for winter pike- Big pike. Pike have moved upstream and many will be holding close to creek mouths and river splits, especially areas which will allow them to get out of the current at high water. Pike do NOT like to fight the current. Most Lake Erie tributaries will have pike. The fish are not as active as they were in October, but are feeding almost daily. Live or dead bait is probably best, but I don't have that much patience. Very slow retrieve with a minnow bait. I prefer HJ14 Rapala firetiger. Water is as clear as it will be all year so many strikes are visible. Ice in the guides can be a problem. Reel Magic helps. Good luck
 

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Muskie, with no logical explanation for being where it was, and still is. Forked tail, vertical stripes, not the usual pike in the river.
Friend of mine shared this story with me below. They are finding out that muskie travel really far distances. One went from St. Clair all the way to New York on Lake Erie and then back to St. Clair again. I wonder if you caught one of those travelers or a rare resident fish.

Great Lakes Muskie Movement
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Who knows from whence this fish originated. Fished today. Cold hands. Cold toes. Ice in the guides-out of reel magic. Fish biting. If you have an open river near you, now is the time to catch BIG pike!!!!! SLLOOWWW retrieve. Since pike are slashers, they will also pickup a swimbait or similar plastic on the bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The lack of river ice has made for one of the best winter pike fishing years in memory. The combination of low precip. and mild temps has made for almost unbelievable fishing. Hopefully, we get some colder temps for the ice fishermen.
 

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The lack of river ice has made for one of the best winter pike fishing years in memory. The combination of low precip. and mild temps has made for almost unbelievable fishing. Hopefully, we get some colder temps for the ice fishermen.
I should have went and tried it today, but was a big sissy and stayed home. Good luck.
 

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Nice work, you got em dialed in! I too fished the river yesterday. Got skunked AND I slipped and fell in. Got a decent dose of water in my waders. Do NOT fish in cotton clothing...make sure you have fleece and wool type stuff on for this very reason if you're crazy enough to fish in water this cold.
 
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