The hotter the better. We get our share of cold around here, so you’re not likely me to complain about it being too hot. Besides, the hottest days on the water are usually great days for catching, especially on The River. And it doesn’t get much hotter than Saturday. So why the heck weren’t the smallies chompin’? The water was at a good flow, and the clarity was just right, about 2 feet. I suspect the fact that The River came down about 4 inches overnight had a lot to do with their funk. For once I was glad to NOT be guiding, as it would have been quite a grind. Oh I caught my share on crankbaits of course, and I missed a couple of really nice ones on a Dahlberg Diver. The most consistent producer for me though was my favorite baitfish imitation, the Stay Hungry Streamer.
I got a half dozen or so on it, and it definitely out produced a couple of different craw patterns I tried. I was using an eight weight rod with a sink tip line, and a short heavy leader with a 10 lb. tippet. When using a sink tip line on The River, realize and keep in mind that you are not trying to catch fish that are on the bank. And I think it is safe to say that if you have busted out the sink tip, that you have already been beating the bank without much success. When fishing a popper or diver, yeah you want it right up there, but when using a subsurface fly, especially with a sink tip, do what you can to keep the fly in a deeper zone. When using a sink tip, my boat is often in about five feet of water, and I cast up to about two or three feet. Trying to land your weighted fly on the bank will result in many, many snags. You will lose flies no matter what, but pay attention, and try to visualize where your fly is at all times to minimize snags and down time spent re-rigging. Not the most fun way to fish, but when the bite is slow this can always be counted on to produce. Not just smallies, either—walleyes, channel cats, pike and carp are all willing players as well.
Here’s a video of a couple of the fish from the other day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykPQ35cNamM&feature=youtu.be