Rick, there are lots of differences between rivers. What kind of current flow is typical? Name of river and nearest town fished? Water clarity? Any riprap or jetties stick out into it? Any power plants emptying hot water into it? Are the bayous draining bottomlands or agri fields? Does river water back up into the bayous occasionally? The more information about the river the better the answers.
Notice on the launch ramp side there is a series of jetties. Across the river from those is the main channel. Somewhere between should be a current shear. That's where largemouths will be most of the time.
Another suspect target area is the mouth of Whig Creek directly cross from the launch ramp. Bass should be able to hold comfortably there with river current streaming by. When current is coming down Whig, cast upstream in it. When the river is backing into it go up creek and cast to likely targets.
Don't skip the tailrace of the dam where current streams by a concrete structure. Catfish y=usually take over there, but large bass will compete with them.
Work the downstream bridge structures. Bass will hug the supports, so let lures bounce into and glance around those. Look for holes around the bridge where bass will go when water gets too cold or hot.
Fish the rip rap on the left descending bank below the dam, using a spinnerbait or large jig, or Mojo rig. In spring a Ratl Trap is dynamite over that riprap. Right now you want to put out something imitating a dying shad, more so as the water cools down.
Welcome to the forum, Rick. I replied to your other post requesting more information to be more specific. There are a lot of differences between rivers even though many appear to look the same.
Some facts are common for all rivers. The primary target on any river is an eddy current, a whirlpool caused by something sticking out into the river. A neutral current situation there allows bass to hold an ambush spot with minimal burning of calories. The cardinal rule is to always bring baits down river, as bass typically expect forage to drift down to them. You want to position the boat so as to cast upstream of an eddy, and guide the lure into it or past it as close as possible. You keep casting until a bass decides to eat it. Those laydowns block current and often hold a number of bass ready to dart out and eat anything appearing alive. If they won't come out then pester the laydown bass with weedless tubes and worms, even spinnerbaits crawling around among the limbs.
When the river rises and flows up into the bayous, bass follow to explore normally inaccessible feeding areas. Fish you way up bayou allowing lures to come down to entering bass. When the water level stabilizes bass scatter, so use topwaters and cover every target. When the level begins to drop bass will exit, so go up bayou and swim your lures upstream to the bass. When the bayou flow begins to restore, cast across bayou mouths to intercept the least bass to exit, lure drifting downstream.
Cold fronts usually mean high pressure. Bass typically drift deeper with minimal travel horizontally. They bury up deeper in cover or find the next deepest hole. If the air pressure gets really high they bury their heads into weeds and require pestering with noisy lures. Once pressure starts back down they turn around watching out from weed or brush cover ready to eat the easiest meal they can find. When pressure drops low they get active and roam, eating anything they can get in their mouths.
There are a couple of river areas close to me that I intend to fish more this year. One is the tailwaters of lake Allatoona, Launc ramp approx. 5 mi. from my front door. The other is at the headwaters of lake Weiss. (See "Skunked!!") Both are good looking fisheries, with an absolutely insane amount of wood cover, esp. laydowns, lining the banks. The tailwaters of Allatoona are clear with two extremes of current- when they release water at the dam, the water rises 5-6ft, and it is virtually unfishable. After that water rushes downstream, there is still some current, though little. My best success has been fishing jigs and hula grubs, all in greens, browns, and plastics in the old standby-green pumpkin. The headwaters of Weiss, I have only been to once. It also had laydowns almost literally stacked on each other, and if the water had been slightly stained instead of muddy, and the water temp about 10degrees warmer than the 52 I encountered, it potentially could have been one outstanding day. In that situation I could have thrown spinnerbaits all day, or crankbaits, and never run out of targets.
hey Jim the river I was talking about is in northern Indiana near demotte Indiana and the buyous that it has does hold water year round the river itself I would guess flows about 1 foot a sec and has riprap in scattered areas but gets fished alot in tournement situations exspesealy it just seems hard to think that a large mouth would sit in that current so I hit the obvious spots I catch alot of fish flipping plastics but when I cant get a bite I have a hard time adjusting to find the fish or another pattern unlike a lake there arnt really any drops or points to hit were I am very versital on a lake or resevore I am not on a skinny strong flowing river another question is when I am in a buyou fishing and start to cath alot of northern pike should I leave it seems that it is harder or impossable to catch bass when the pike are active in these buyous and also when I am in the skinny water and see carp everywere should I also leave thanks rick
Let's talk winter for now. Let me just put out some basics about rivers that would apply there.
Shallow rivers have about the same temperature from surface to bottom, all cold in winter, all warm in summer.The slower the river the warmer, absorbing sunlight heat, allowing bass to hang around a little shallower. Exception: new water coming down from a slow rain over a warmed watershed. I'll talk about backwaters and bayous later.
There might be a cold water spring pumping out 50 degree water in August, but water from upstream catches and mixes it until that has no effect on the river. Bass might hang around a cold spring a while, but the water from springs is usually devoid of O2. So the bass must contend with and be satisfied with all places in the river, not finding comfort most of the year, being cold-blooded and dependent on external temperature for activity. Another exception is, in winter bass totally shun current, while in warm weather they will side up next to current because current brings them their forage. It would be a little warmer in the current with the shoreline frozen, but requires burning too many fat calories to deal with the current pressure. If they can find a patch of dark mud in 12" of water on a sunny day they'll probably go there for the day if it's out of the current, but that's the first water to freeze at night and under day clouds. The deepest water won't freeze, but only because of water flow and kinetic/friction energy keeping it flowing to keep it a little above freezing in a really hard winter.
Where am I with this :-\ I got a little lost...maybe ya'll did too?
The pike and numerous other fish can tolerate cold shallow water longer so tend to claim those areas in winter, finding shore minnows and other critters to eat that never go deep. BUT, they keep claiming shallow weedy places all year. What ya gonna do? In general, in winter it's best to avoid shallow even if you find some a degree or two warmer than the river. Let the pike have it.
As the water gets colder bass prefer to go deeper and suspend over solid rock, or at least rock rubble over rock. They "know" not to migrate hoping to find a deep warm pool. Chances are there are none. They stick around their summer areas, only deeper. WHERE deeper? Any steep slope well off a bank, the lee side of a jetty (downstream side), behind a large boulder or rock ledge outcrop that blocks current but allows baitfish to swim around and into a bass strike zone. Keep in mind a cold bass isn't going to work hard to eat anything, and isn't going to chase much below 50 degrees. The meal needs to be right in its face.
I'll close this for now concluding an angler needs to motor upstream and stop short of those target areas. Cast upstream and guide your lure around the points into the calm pockets behind obstructions, but in "deep" water as opposed to shallow banks. Those laydowns look great now, but they are probably in the shallowest water. Get out in the river and fish deep structure changes even if that only means a depth change of 12".
I'll try to get around to backwaters and bayous tomorrow. I fear I'm beginning to ramble and need to go to bed.
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