Largemouth Bass Fishing in Creeks

Largemouth Bass Fishing in Creeks

In this article we will cover largemouth bass fishing in creeks. These smaller waters are often overlooked by anglers. In most cases, the fish will be smaller. However, the simplicity and relaxing nature of Creek fishing is appealing. Also, fish and smaller creeks are much easier to locate and therefore catch. There are a few things than anglers need to know in order to be successful when fishing for bass in creeks.

largemouth bass

Largemouth bass fishing in creeks does require a slight change in tactics and tackle. This means that almost everything is scaled down a bit. The tackle used is a little bit lighter. The lures are smaller and the presentations are a bit less aggressive. However, the same basic principles of bass fishing and lakes applies to streams and creeks as well.

The first thing anglers must do is identify creeks that have decent largemouth bass populations. Often times, these are tributaries to lakes and river systems. Largemouth bass do not like strong current. The best creeks will have a slow to moderate current. Other attributes would be areas of deeper water as well as sufficient cover such as weeds and fallen trees.

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Best tackle for creek fishing

In most cases, the best choice for anglers largemouth bass fishing in creeks when it comes to a rod and reel is spinning tackle. A medium light spinning rod that is 6 1/2 feet to 7 feet long and matched with a 20 series reel and 10 pound braided line or monofilament line is a good all-around outfit. As mentioned above, the lures being cast are downsized a bit. This letter tackle will allow anglers to make the proper presentation while still being heavy enough to land a decent fish.

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Those who prefer it can use a light bait casting rig as well. A 6 foot to 6 1/2 foot light bait casting outfit with 10 pound monofilament or 15 pound braided line will be fine. It will be difficult to cast lures that do not weigh very much with this outfit.

Bass creek fishing spots

One of the primary advantages of fishing for largemouth bass or any other species in creeks is that the fish are simply much easier to locate. The the holding and feeding spots are just more obvious and easier to identify. In most cases, largemouth bass will stage in slightly deeper water were cover is present. Unlike trout and smallmouth bass, largemouth bass will usually not be found in the runs and riffles a fast-moving current. Occasionally, they will be caught behind boulders in the middle of the creek.

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Outside bends in the creek are prime spots for largemouth bass and other species. These spots are naturally deeper as the current gouges out a hole in the bank. Often times, there is an undercut bank as well. This is a guaranteed hotspot! Another factor in the spots is that the current tends to deposit debris in these locations. The combination of deep water, undercut banks, slowing current, and cover result in an ideal habitat.

Other prime spots to target largemouth bass in creeks are the heads and tails of riffles. These areas will generally have a slightly deeper depression were fish can hide in feed while staying out of the current. Eddie’s and slack water areas behind current break such as boulders and trees will also hold largemouth bass. Man-made cover such as bridges and docks will attract fish as well.

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Understanding changing conditions when creek fishing for bass

One challenging aspect of fishing in creeks, streams, and rivers is the constantly changing conditions. Creeks are changing constantly. A heavy rain miles away can result in a Creek turning from low and clear to high and muddy in a very short time. Identifying how these conditions affect fishing is crucial to success.

The two main factors are water clarity and height. In most creeks, the best fishing will occur during periods when the water level, clarity, and flow are at normal levels. Bass will be used to these conditions and will be more comfortable and feed more often. Also, anglers who fish a particular Creek enough to know it well will be in tune to the changes in conditions during these times.

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Fishing creeks during high, fast, muddy water is not only difficult, it can be dangerous. In most cases, small creeks do not really present a danger. However, it is always best to put safety first and not take a chance. Also, fishing can be extremely difficult under these conditions. Fish will not be able to see to feed in most cases will just find a spot out of the heavy current to hunker down. In all honesty, it is best to not even try to fish during these conditions.

Low-water can be challenging as well, though for different reasons. This often occurs in late summer. With little water, largemouth bass will congregate in the deepest water available. They will also become quite finicky and spooky. Anglers will need to scale down their lures and line size as well as taking care when approaching and waiting in the creek.

Fishing for largemouth bass in creeks with live bait

While most anglers choose to fish with artificial lures when largemouth bass fishing in creeks, live bait works very well. The three top live baits are nightcrawlers, minnows, and crayfish. Nightcrawlers are readily available at most retail outlets that sell fishing tackle. Minnows can be available in some cases at bait shops. Crayfish are less available for anglers to purchase, in most cases they will have to catch their own.

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All of these live baits can be free lined on a hook or fished under a float. Where possible, free lining the bait results in a more natural presentation. However, if snags become a problem, adding a float above the hook will solve the problem. The best spots to fish live baits are deeper holes and slow-moving runs.

Nightcrawlers are best hooked through the front so that they can wriggle seductively in the water. Minnows should be hooked through the lips. This is especially true in creeks where current is present. Crawfish are usually hooked in the tail from the bottom up. The angler can then work the bait along the bottom, moving backward, which is how they flee when frightened.

Creek fishing for bass with lures

Anglers largemouth bass fishing in creeks can get the job done with just a handful of lures. In most cases, anglers are doing a fair amount of walking and lugging around a great big tackle box is neither fun nor efficient. A small backpack or even a penny pack will hold the few lures that an angler will need to be successful.

Small spinnerbaits

Small spinner baits are excellent creek bass fishing lures. While they resemble nothing that lives in the water, they put out flash and vibration as well as action to attract bass. In most cases, a 1/4 ounce spinner bait is the best size. While many anglers are familiar with the rubber skirt and spinner baits that bass anglers use and lakes, there are a few baits that are more effective when fishing in creeks.

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Anglers can choose from a spinner bait that has a grub body, such as the BeetleSpin. A spinner bait with a curly tail grub is effective as well. These smaller spinner baits with the grub style bodies are not quite as obtrusive and are more productive when fishing for bass in creeks, especially smaller ones.

Rooster Tail spinner

The Wordens Rooster Tail is a famous Creek fishing lure. Most anglers associate it with trout fishing. However, it is an outstanding lore for anglers fishing for largemouth bass in creeks. The great thing about this bait is its simplicity. An angler simply casts it across the current, let it sink a few seconds, then retrieve it in a slow steady manner. In most cases, the slower the better as long as the blade a spinning.

rooster tail

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The one quarter ounce size in a variety of colors will produce fish. Generally speaking, a light colored spinner with a silver blade is the best choice when the water is clear and the sun is shining brightly. Conversely, darker and brighter colors with a gold blade produce better under low light conditions and when the water has some color to it.

Heddon Tiny Torpedo

The Heddon Tiny Torpedo is the perfect top water plug for fishing creeks. It is small enough to where it can be presented properly yet still puts out enough commotion to attract a largemouth bass. It is a compact bait with a conical nose and a propeller on the tail. Short jerks of the rod tip will result in the propeller digging into the water, imitating a wounded bait fish.

tiny torpedo

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Sticking to the theme of “less is more” when fishing in creeks, anglers fishing this top water bait should not overdo the action. Gentle, subtle twitches are all that it takes. The best spots to fish this lore are around any type of fallen timber or other cover. It is important when fishing a top water plug to wait until the weight of the fish is felt when a strike occurs. Setting the hook on the visual strike will usually result in a fish missed.

Yamamoto Senko

Of course, no list of largemouth bass fishing baits would be complete without some type of soft plastic worm. The Yamamoto Senko is a terrific and versatile bait. It is available in a 4 inch or a 5 inch length. Darker colors such as green pumpkin usually work best. In most cases, the best approach is to fish this bait on a 1/8 ounce jig head or with no weight on a plastic worm hook.


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As with other lures, it is best not to give this bait too much action. Just a gentle raising of the rod tip or a slight twitch will give it enough action, especially if current is present. The Senko can be crawled across the bottom in over cover as well as drifted in the current. Often times, just that drifting the bait with no action at all will be the most productive presentation.

Rebel Crawfish

The Rebel Wee Craw is a legendary lure for fishing in creeks and rivers. It imitates one of the top forage species in all creeks and rivers; the crayfish. While many anglers associate it with smallmouth bass fishing, it works extremely well in creeks that house largemouth bass, too. It is available in several sizes and colors, with a natural Olive and crayfish colors being best.

bebel wee craw

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This bait does the best when it is constantly bumping and bouncing off of the bottom. This action realistically imitates a fleeing crayfish and will often draw a strike from a nearby largemouth bass. If smallmouth bass inhabit the same creek, anglers will surely catch a few of them as well. In most cases, they are a quite welcome interloper!

In conclusion, this article on largemouth bass fishing in creeks should help anglers fishing these smaller waters catch more fish.

Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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