Tuesday, April 21, 2015

First Smallmouth Trip of the Year...Small Creeks and Small Fish

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Boy , it seems like it's been forever since my last post or even since I've been online period. Computer issues at home have kept me from throwing up a report the last couple of trips that I've made , but in all honesty , there really wasn't anything worth reporting anyway. It seems that Mother Nature is toying with me and opening up the heavens on just about every body of water I make plans to fish over the past month , six weeks ago I was asking for more water and now I'd just like to see it quit for awhile. Feast or famine as usual , sometimes you just can't win.
This past weekend the weatherman was again calling for rain but Joe and I managed to slip out of the house on Friday for a quick daytrip before it could mess up our plans.
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Those smallmouth had been calling my name for almost a month now and I had yet to put together a real trip to chase them...I was changing that today , high-water be damned!
Of course , the storms that were forecast for Saturday moved in a little bit earlier than predicted...as in Friday morning when I'm two hours from the house and still an hour from my intended destination!
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No big deal , I checked the radar and figured it would be done in an hour or so and just hoped that it wouldn't be enough to raise the water levels much. We stopped off at an access on another creek that I've been wanting to fish and havn't got around to yet just to get an idea of what the area looked like. We killed an hour there but never even got out of the truck as it was raining cats and dogs the entire time.
By the time we hit the road again and made it to our destination the rain had dwindled to a light drizzle and to my relief the water still looked good.
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I'll admit I havn't done much wading for smallies , almost all of my trips are done out of a driftboat or my pontoon so I had to find a few locations that I could access by foot and still have decent sections of water to fish. With a little help from some good friends who frequent the area more than myself I already had a few spots picked out before arriving.
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The water was looking really nice but the higher than average levels and flow made the crossings a little questionable at times , let's just say there were a couple of spots where Joe and I both practically had to swim across the river to reach the other side.
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Just one of the many reasons I like fishing warmwater creeks this time of year...no waders to worry about topping and the water is comfortable instead of numbingly cold.
As far as the fishing goes , it was a little slow to be honest. I suppose I can't really complain about the numbers as I ended the day with around 15 fish or so , the problem was that none of them were of any size.
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I'd guess that 10" was the average size of the fish I caught , the largest one might have been pushing 13". I'm not complaining about the fishing regardless of those facts , it just felt good to get out and wander around a small creek with my best buddy , the fish were just icing on the proverbial cake.
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We spent the better part of the morning fishing both up and downstream of the access before heading back to the truck for a tailgate lunch. Fried chicken...potatoe salad and a cold PBR , the makings of a four-star meal for a couple of guys like Joe and I.
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After lunch we loaded up and headed over to a different stream to see if we couldn't find a little more action before calling it a day. The story was the same here as our first spot , we were able to find a handful of fish but they were all little guys.
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I'm just guessing here, but I think the last few weeks of up and down water on this particular system have put the fish a week or two behind schedule. I didn't see any spawning fish and saw very few fish out moving around the shallower flats or riffles as I waded around. If the weather will settle down and let the water levels stabilize for a few days i'm thinking a guy still might be able to get on a decent pre-spawn bite. The way the weather pattern is shaping up around here though, those fish might be post-spawn by the time water levels stabilize for long enough to do any serious floating. Either way I'm locked into the smallie game at this point , while the fish may have been small the limited action was enough to solidify the fact that trout fishing is just an option to fall back on at this point.
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I'd still like to get out and catch a few white bass before the Spring run is over (I know , I'm running out of time there as well!) but for the near future smallmouth bass are going to be the preferred quarry. I think I've got a new smallmouth fishing partner as well after finding some good wadeable streams , I guess I'm not the only old guy who prefers wading a warmwater creek to a cold ass trout stream this time of year!
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  1. Our rains/snow have finally stopped. I hope this is the end of it. Your water looks in pretty good shape considering.

    1. I am thankful that we havn't had any snow for awhile now , but these darn rains keep blowing out entire systems every weekend I get the chance to fish. I really shouldn't complain as it's good for the fishery and I'd rather see rain than drought...but geez , a guys gotta be able to get his time on the water in!!

  2. Nice little red eyed fish. Except the second to last, with those brown eyes... weirdo.

    1. Thanks RM...I hadn't noticed the difference until you pointed it out , he also looked a little pale like he might have been spending alot of time in deeper water. I like em all , red eyes or brown eyes , as long as they'lleat a fly I'm happy.

  3. how i ADORE your boy, joe!!! so good to see him again! just warms my heart every time you show him!

    1. He's one of a kind for sure Theresa. I have to say that there's nobody I'd rather spend a day hiking river banks with (and I've got alot of good fishing buddies). I'll tell Joe you said Hi!

  4. Congrats on getting out and chasing the smallies. Im jealous! Always good to see you with your dog Joe. I have always wanted to have a dog along fishing. My yellow lab sadly is afraid of the water. Great post!

    1. Thanks man...I've definitely got smallie fever now! Doesn't look like I'll make it back out this weekend but I'm already planning next weekends trip. A lab that doesn't like water...that's a new one. The only thing that would make Joe a better fishing partner is if he would pay for his half of the gas!!

  5. Enjoyed it. Wish I had four legs for wading like Joe.

    1. Thanks Jim...he may have a little more stability with those four legs but the deep holes can be a bit of a problem! He had some pretty good swims on this last trip where the fast water pushed him downstream 50 yards before he could reach the far shoreline , I tried to explain water dynamics to him but he just stared at me with a silly look on his face!

  6. I tossed and turned last night realizing I forgot to say hi to Joe. Good boy!!

    1. I'll give the old boy a scratch on the ears for ya Howard!

  7. Looks like a plan
    If you'll willing to stick around a few extra days next week we cold try a place fairly close to camp. I hope to make at least one pass at it before the week is done.

  8. Unfortunately I gotta be at work on Monday so I wouldn't be able to hang around. Lots of places over that way to chase smallies , it's still just a tad early though from what I've seen. They're geeting started but we need some stable weather and water.

  9. Love wading for crik smallies. Love those pics.