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Warmwater Fly Fishing Bass, Bream, Perch, etc...

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Old 03-27-2013, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: Winter Smallmouth

I agree on the shade thing. Many of the streams I fish are extremely clear, visibility 6-12 feet. The fish use shade as cover, but if they are actively feeding they don't care whether it's shady or sunny as long as the food is there. And time of day doesn't matter much, either. I'm just as likely to catch a big smallmouth at 1 PM as at dawn, maybe more so.

However, winter fish are a little bit different. If the water is very clear, as it often is during the winter, the fish will often stay on shady banks. Again, it's a cover thing. They don't like to be out in the open and easy to see in the winter. But, if the water has a little color, they will usually move to sunny banks, because their food is also moving to sunny banks where the rocks and bottom and water itself soak up more warmth. On the streams I fish in the winter, I sometimes try to time when I fish a given pool to take advantage of when the sun is on the best parts of the pool.

Winter fishing is very challenging compared to warm weather fishing for stream smallmouth. There are still major unanswered questions about where a lot of the fish actually go in the winter. A recent Missouri tagging study showed that some smallmouth move long distances to certain wintering pools, often passing up a lot of other wintering pools to get to their "favorite". One fish was tagged about ten miles up Courtois Creek, a smallish float stream, and later recovered that winter 35 miles down the Meramec River from the mouth of Courtois Creek, having gone down ten miles of the Courtois, a mile down the Huzzah (passing up a big, deep pool on the Huzzah) and then passing up at least 30 pools that I know are wintering pools on the Meramec to get to the wintering pool where it was caught. Another, tagged in the same area, was caught ten miles UPSTREAM on the Meramec from the mouth of the creek in a big wintering pool.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:12 PM
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Default Re: Winter Smallmouth

It's interesting that Smallies will move so far. Largemouth are not long distance travelers at all. I don't think I have ever heard of a tag recovery with a Largemouth more than a hundred yards from where they caught it. In fact I don't think it's even that far.
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:01 AM
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Default Re: Winter Smallmouth

I read some of the abstracts for the tagging studies.
It makes no sense to me. One paper went so far as to say that the stocked fish did not exhibit the same tendency for long distance travel as the native SM.
J
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:57 PM
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Default Re: Winter Smallmouth

43* water today. I was fishing a crayfish pattern bouncing along the bottom. This was in a deeper section (4') of the river today. Plenty of fight even with the colder water.

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Old 03-30-2013, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Winter Smallmouth

Atta Way Pkins44! I almost forgot what they look like.
I'm envious!
Interesting. I was holding off on fishing Craw. patterns until later in the year. Guess I better reevaluate.

1.5" rain in the last 24 hours here. Rivers up a foot and climbing!

Which brings up other questions.
What is the relation of fish in general SM in particular to rising and falling water?
I am under the impression that at the start of rising water fish activity increases and then decreases at some mystical point. Also that activity is diminished during the fall of the water level after a rise?
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Winter Smallmouth

Quote:
Originally Posted by leftys brother View Post
Atta Way Pkins44! I almost forgot what they look like.
I'm envious!
Interesting. I was holding off on fishing Craw. patterns until later in the year. Guess I better reevaluate.

1.5" rain in the last 24 hours here. Rivers up a foot and climbing!

Which brings up other questions.
What is the relation of fish in general SM in particular to rising and falling water?
I am under the impression that at the start of rising water fish activity increases and then decreases at some mystical point. Also that activity is diminished during the fall of the water level after a rise?
I have been under the impression from different articles I have read. In rivers after it rains the fishing is usually better. This is because the rain sweeps more forage into the river and makes some areas that are inaccessible ,during low or normal water levels, now easier for fish to get to. In my personal experiences fishing in and after the rain the fish usually tend to bite a little more. One of the reasons I keep my yellow rain gear in the jeep. Although I have read that fishing ponds and lakes after the rain does not have the same effect on the fish. The rain will make the water cloudy and without currents to clean the water the fishing slows down quite a bit.

As far as the increase of water level during the fall or early spring I am not sure. If I had to guess, I would think that the added water level would increase the temp of the water. Not sure though, as well as I am not an expert. I just try to offer my .02.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: Winter Smallmouth

the water temp was 49-50 the morning i caught this girl 2 weeks ago. i threw clousers and craws all morning. every deep pool had some dandies waiting to eat!

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Old 03-30-2013, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: Winter Smallmouth

There aren't any hard and fast rules on what they do in rising water. I always read that they feed heavily on a rise due to the stuff washing into the river. I have NOT found that to be generally true. I have found that, once the water level reaches the top of a small rise, a foot or two, and is murky but not brown muddy, the fishing can be terrific. But it always seemed to me that the fish didn't really know what to do on a rise...sometimes they took advantage of food, and sometimes they didn't. I do know that rises of more than a foot or so relocate the fish, and they will go to places where you wouldn't ordinarily expect them to be. I've found them atop submerged gravel bars on the inside of bends, gravel bars that are normally high and dry, during a five foot rise. I've found them in the slack water just downstream of islands. I've found them at the mouths of small feeder streams that are backed up from a big rise. I've found them in little pockets behind submerged tree trunks. The main thing is, they almost never seem to be in the stronger current during a significant rise, they always go to places that are sheltered from the current. They do this even in the summer, and they certainly do it during winter and early spring rises.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:59 PM
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Default Re: Winter Smallmouth

pkins44, bmbailes
Must not be the water temp, not the flies I'm using. Hmm that really only leave one thing ME!

AL_A Good stuff.
J
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:24 PM
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Default Re: Winter Smallmouth

I have never caught a fish (except for some perch) when the water is falling rapidly after a significant rise. What are y-alls experiences during falling water levels?
J
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