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Thread: River Smallmouth help

  1. #1

    Default River Smallmouth help

    Hey guys, just back from a couple hour trip down to the local river which has lots of smallmouths. I waded it, and it was my first time wading a river which has deep holes. I was fishing a floating line with a clouser minnow, and while i caught 9 small smallmouths, they all came in shallow water. I wasn't able to catch anything out of the deeper holes (say 4 to 8 feet deep).

    Should I buy a spare spool and put some sinking line on it? This river has shallow water (1 to 3 foot) (which is where i caught the little fish), and deep holes which i couldn't get a bite.

    How are most people fishing clousers in a rivers, and is the technique different than streamer fishing?
    Thanks for any advice!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Northern WI
    Posts
    1,003

    Default Re: River Smallmouth help

    Check out the Rio sink tips thta attach right to the end of your floating line. I have 6 or 8 of them in different lengths and sink rates. Cheaper than buying a full sink link and a spare spool to keep it on and will probably work well for your needs.

    There could be two possible explanations as to why you weren't getting them in those holes that I can think of at this hour of the evening.
    A) The fish weren't there or weren't actively feeding
    B) You weren't getting down to them

    If it was the second thing I listed, I'd probably lengthen up your leader and go with a heavier fly. If you're sure fish are in there, change up flies til you find the pattern that they're keying in on. Also, it might sound dumb, but dead drifting a bugger through those deep holes under an indicator can work well too.


    I'm sure there are other explanations and answers to your questions, but it's been a long day and I'm exhausted. Hopefully this helps a little bit.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    671

    Default Re: River Smallmouth help

    Quote Originally Posted by ted4887 View Post
    Check out the Rio sink tips thta attach right to the end of your floating line. I have 6 or 8 of them in different lengths and sink rates. Cheaper than buying a full sink link and a spare spool to keep it on and will probably work well for your needs.
    This is what i was going to suggest as well.

    I have done a fair amount of SM river fishing and that technique works for me. However, I have always used a leach pattern with a heavy cone head or barbell as part of the pattern, so i am getting deeper than you. In such a case you really dont need the shooting head. as the really heavy fly gets down fast.

    Then again, having a spare reel with a sinking line is always a nice option to have at your disposal. Depending on your reel, it can be pretty inexpensive.

  4. #4

    Default Re: River Smallmouth help

    Yep, you could do the sink tip, but you can also just weight your fly enough to get it down. And one other thing to consider...this time of year, smallmouth are usually pretty active, and when they are actively feeding they won't necessarily be in deep water. There is a lot more smallmouth food in shallower water than in the middle of the deep pools. Fish in the deep pools are often inactive fish that will be difficult to get to take anything. Active fish will either be cruising shallower water (by shallow, I mean 2-4 feet) or lying in cover (rocks, logs, etc.) in water of similar depth waiting to ambush prey. Also, active smallies will usually be willing to come up for a fly...it doesn't have to be on the bottom. My default approach is to fish shallow first, and only go deep if I'm getting nothing shallow.

  5. #5

    Default Re: River Smallmouth help

    I catch almost all my smallmouths on Streamers that are less than 1 foot under the surface or on poppers. Its a hell of a lot of more fun to do it this way.

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