Small Moving Water Magic
If You Are Like Me, You Love Chasing Small Mouth On Rivers
If you are like me you love chasing smallmouth on rivers. Pretty much there is no other place I rather be than exploring a river. But how many times have you drove past a small creek and not even thought twice about it or the creek feeding into the river you are fishing. I live in an area that has a fair amount of this kind of water and have been spending hours exploring them and would like to share what I have discovered.
First these are areas that do not get fished much if at all they are not hammered every weekend! After exploring and fishing them I have discovered what great fishing is to be had. They offer everything smallmouth bass look for structure and moving water. They are similar to large rivers you fish just scaled down some as narrow 10 feet wide but usually not more than 30 or 40 feet wide. They take more work to fish and you must fish them slower and with more care. Most of the time they are very clear and the bigger fish can be very easily spooked. I find it better to work up stream if you are wading this helps to not spook fish. Look for areas that are the same as the spots you would target on larger water. Spots will be smaller and may not hold more the one or two good fish so make your cast count. Short accurate cast are required when you find spots. I find that hair jigs excel for fishing these small waters. I will cast up past my target and let the current bring the jig to the fish. I believe the hair jig is the best bait for this style fishing. Big fish in these waters have not become big by being careless and can be very selective. The hair jig could represent either minnows, crawfish or bugs that they normally would consider as food. I suppose you could throw other baits but I feel finesse style baits are best and hair jigs fit the bill perfectly.
When fishing these small waters all fish will not be big so when you do catch that 15 to 18 inch fish it truly is a great fish. It could take up to 8 to 10 years for it to grow to that size. Also some water may not hold a ton of fish but others 30 to 100 fish days are possible. I especially like it when I find one of these little gems and catch fish in the 6 to 17 inch range shows a healthy system. Get out explore and you just might be surprised at what you discover.
~ Frank B. from Illinois, 2020