Understanding New Waters


One thing that I like to do is fish new waters or totally different types of waters, as there is always something new to learn. New lakes are always fun to fish and try to figure out, but rivers, that is something that I rarely fish, may be the intimidating factor, but something that I really need to focus on.

Our local river system is setup somewhat as pool levels, but the dams are not navigable so they fish as separate types of lakes that may or may not have current. So the stretch below the dam typically is a shallow run and as you get to the downstream dam, the depths will dramatically change.

I have picked one of these sections, that has easy access to and I am going to start learning this stretch by breaking it down into smaller sections. Figuring that this approach won’t have me running up and down the river and concentrating more on learn what each section has to offer.

The first section that I had previously fished was right above the dam so it is one of the deeper sections. Many rivers may have some backwater off shoots that offer more of a lake environment for fishing, but this section doesn’t have any of that.

A majority of these shorelines in this section have a fairly deep contour drop with very isolated shallow flats that come out a bit into the river. With the rains that we have been having this spring, the water has been flowing at a decent rate. Water clarity is somewhat clean with up to 3 feet of visibility and the waters are still only in the 60 degree range.

When fishing these newer waters, having current contour maps become a huge benefit and when you can create your own while fishing, while using the SonarPhone and Navionics app, this allows you to the lastest information that is available for finding key fish holding locations.

When I approach a new system like this, typically, I will fish a variety on moving baits, as this will allow me to cover a lot of water. By covering water and constantly watching the electronics, this allows me to seeing what the depths and shelves are doing and learning areas a bit more quickly.

Baits of choice for accomplishing this were topwater popper, minnow stickbait, shallow and deep running crankbaits. What worked more consistently were the shallow and deep crankbaits for targeting the small and largemouth bass.

Like most rivers, there are plenty of trees lying in the water and depending on the waters depth, this would dictate which crank to use. So where the shorelines had a steep drop, the Salmo deep running crank worked very well and once you came upon an area that was more of a shallower shelf, 4-7 feet deep, the shallow Salmo running crank worked well.

So by casting around these trees and also the shallower shelves, were forming a distinct weedline that offered some lush green vegetation. Dragging the baits along the bottom was key and knocking into the rocks as well worked for triggering the strikes. There were a number of fish caught, but most of them were on the smaller side.

Between the areas that were deep and shallow, the shallower shelves held more of the fish. Once these areas were found, had also worked them with some soft plastics, but the crankbaits were what these fish were looking more for.

Learning new waters can be exhilarating, but at the same time, very frustrating to anglers. The main point is that if you learn one thing while you are out there, that is the main goal of the day and something was accomplished. I am looking forward to the next visit to this river and will be picking another section to start fishing and seeing what it has to offer.

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