I hit the Juniata River with my son and a friend to enjoy a day of smallmouth fishing. We had a great day swapping stories, poking fun at each other, AND catching some smallmouth bass. We landed over 30 smallmouth between the three of us during the trip. the biggest fish was caught by my friend. We estimated the size at about 18 inches. Unfortunately, as I was paddling down river to get a picture the fish made a few strategic "flops" and was able to escape my buddies grasp! ..now that's a smart fish!
We had sunny blue bird sky all day. Temperatures ranged from 78 degrees in the morning to almost 90 degrees during the warmest part of the day.
River gauge readings were about normal for this time of year. Water levels have been fairly consistent for the past week or so. Visibility was about 3 feet.
Active fish were holding in deeper areas in and around current. The best pattern was current breaks in 3-4 feet of water with medium to medium fast current. The fish were definitely actively feeding in these areas.
The second best pattern was short deeper pools (4+ feet deep) with good current leading into them. They produced the best smallmouth bass. Fish were positioned at the head of these pools.
Deeper longer pools with little current were by far the least productive areas.
Top producing baits in order where: 1. Winco's smallmouth specialty Spinnerbait (Blue glimmar Hollagram Grub trailer) 2. Winco's baby stickworm (3 inch) 3. Blue Glimmar Hollagram Grub on 1/16 oz jig head or white twister tail grub
Presentations for all baits where critical today because the bites were tough to come by. Since the spinnerbait caught the most fish I'll comment on that presentation. The most productive presentation was bringing the spinnerbait "down" from a current shoot upstream then crossing over into a current seam/eddy. If you weren't doing this, your chances of getting bit were slim to none. Also, paralleling behind the shoals or ledges in the "nervous water" was a very productive presentation.
Below are some pictures from the day...enjoy!
The river chariots for the day. My ride 135 and 2008 Tarpon 120 and my buddies brand spank'n new T 120.
Nice smallie caught by "Go Deep" on a 3" stickworm
Two of my Smallies caught. One of a Winco's Baby Stickworm and the other on Winco's Specialty Smallmouth Spinnerbait
We had to run a nice little stretch of white water. I went down first to set up with my new waterproof camera. These guys made short work of it in their T-120 s! ...EDIT: OK I have to throw this in here. Did you notice "GoDeep" using his BB paddle upside down I told him I was going to post this. Forgive him. He's only been out a couple of times in his new kayak.
This one is just us messing around with the video on my waterproof camera. We had a lot of laughs over this one. It was a dink. I like the part where my buddy asks Juan Jr. what he was using... heck he had no idea. I had just thrown him the bait and said it was one of Al's. It's actually one of Winco's new grub creations that isn't on the market yet. We caught quite a few fish on it and I used one of the bigger grubs as a trailer on my spinnerbait.
Last edited by PA-Smallies on Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:59 pm, edited 4 times in total.
It is great water. This was a special trip for us. I just recently found out my son will be leaving for California at the end of the month...The other fella who was with us is a very good friend of mine. We had coached my son for years in youth football.
BlueDaksi wrote:Fantastic report! I wish that I would have been able to join you. There's some very similar looking water that is not really fished by bass anglers not too far from my home.
Laxbass, You bring up a really good point/observation about river fishing. It's all about targets and throwing to the best water. You find "targets" by learning to read the water. Start by learning to recognize current breaks or eddy lines. They are fairly easy to recognize. It's where the fast water meets the slack water of an eddy. This can be a place where fish are holding. There are a lot of other nuances to this but it's a good "spot" to target in general.
It's really similar to fishing lakes. In general, If you saw a big submerged stump would you cast to the stump or just cast out in another direction... You would probably cast to the stump because that represents a high percentage target. River fishing is just like that but many times the "current" plays a key role in fish location/position.
River fishing does take some time to get the hang of, but when you do it's a blast. Figure out a river with a good population of smallies and you will not be disappointed And you can still fish cover in a river, just really pay attention to the stuff that serves as a major current break. The smallies will be there!