With the River well into the Action Stage for two weeks now–and on the rise AGAIN fishing will be generally tough for the foreseeable future.
The one exception is bass both green and brown. Water temps are now in the mid-50’s and will drop like a stone over the next week or so. When the water temp drops below about 52 aggressive bass activity comes to a screeching halt until next spring when 43 degrees means an active shallower water bite near wood on dark bottom bays with a good northern exposure.
Right now bass are real close to where you would expect to find them in mid-October: congregated at ambush points where they can chow down with little effort in preparation for winter.
In years with ‘normal’ flow this means the top of closing dams, the leading edge of wingdams close to shore, tributary entry points and rocky points on islands: essentially anyplace they can herd minnows for an easy meal.
Minnows aren’t going to fight the current. They will retreat to the DOWN CURRENT side of wingdams and closing dams, SLACKWATER areas of tribs and backside of islands away from current.
I had clients out last week who were amazed to find smallmouth bass stacked on a mudflat and eager to garwoofle Rat-L-Traps fished in a burning retrieve.
The River was rising and stained, the air temp had dropped over 30 degrees overnight and the wind was howling out of the northwest at 20 mph–not exactly prime conditions.
But these conditions slapped those little bass brains into the realization that their metabolism was about to slow waaaay down and the need to take on fuel is critical.
This is definitely a run-n-gun situation. If fish are present you’ll know after about a dozen well placed casts. Hook one and give the spot another five minutes. Hook two and its time to stay and play.
Find a pod of active LMB or SMB (sometimes they’ll be schooling in same spot) and you may find fish-on-every-cast action. When the bite slows, change the presentation instead of the location. If you don’t hook up again in 15 minutes, move on.
With pool levels tickling Minor Flood stage by mid-week with water temps continuing to fall, the show might be over until we get ice. The situation is driven entirely by River level. If it goes up from 628 instead of down look elsewhere to get your string stretched.