Florida Bowfishing Tips and equipment

Florida Bowfishing Tips

This article shares some great Florida bowfishing tips and techniques. Bowfishing has gained in popularity throughout both freshwater and saltwater.

Bowfishing in Florida combines both fishing and hunting. Fish are quietly stalked, usually in shallow water. After the quarry is spotted, the “angler/hunter” takes aim and shoots at the fish. Special bows are used that are equipped with reels. Once shot, the fish is then reeled in. The combination of stalking, shooting, and reeling along with the constant action attract many to this sport. Only “non game fish” can be shot, so those bowfishing need to be able to identify the fish species that they pursue as well as the size limits.

Bowfishing is a growing sport

Bowfishing is a rapidly growing sport, especially among younger people including many women and children. There are several reasons for this. The investment in decent gear is modest, it can be done anywhere, and it is child-friendly; there is no need for the youngster to sit still or be quiet.

One element that most novice bowfishers enjoy is the constant action; there is always something going on versus traditional hunting where the hunter quietly sits motionless for long periods of time. Finally, hunters can get out there and shoot during the “off season”, honing their skills for the upcoming fall hunt.

Bowfishing charters in Florida

Just as in any fishing or hunting endeavor, bowfishers who can afford it will gain a lot of knowledge by taking out a bowfishing charter. It is a great investment that will allow potential bowfishers to experience the sport while putting them way ahead on the learning curve. Captain Ed McCormack runs Florida Bowfishing Charters based out of Crystal River. He can be reached at Florida Bowfishing. We thank him his tips in this article!

Florida bowfishing tips; freshwater

Most bowfishing in Florida is done in freshwater lakes and rivers. Night bowfishing is generally safer on calm freshwater lakes and rivers. Non-gamefish are the only types of fish that can legally be shot. Tilapia, mudfish (bowfin), catfish, and gar are the primary species.

Florida Bowfishing for invasive species

I am a guide and run fishing charters in Sarasota and I promote catch-and-release on the majority of my saltwater fishing trips. At first the idea of killing everything seemed a bit unpalatable. But, there is a situation here that is perfect for bowfishing; taking invasive species which have become a problem in many parts of Florida. As is the case in much of Florida, in my home area of Sarasota, many of the freshwater lakes and rivers are inundated with tilapia, particularly the Myakka River system. So, anglers can take as many of these fish as they want with a clear conscience. In fact, doing so usually improves the fishery.

Florida bowfishing regulations

Non-gamefish (with the exception of grass carp) may be taken by bow at night as well as during the day with the following exceptions; the spillways of the Eureka and Rodman dams on the Oklawaha River or on the spillway of the Jim Woodruff Dam on the Apalachicola River or in Dade County canals south of the C-4 and east of the L-31N and L-31W canals inclusively.

Black bass, crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, warmouth, redbreast sunfish, spotted sunfish, flier, mud sunfish, longear sunfish, shadow bass, peacock bass, white bass, striped bass and sunshine bass are all freshwater game fish and can NOT be shot with a bow; all other freshwater species are non-game fish and can be taken with a bow.

The tilapia’s habits make it a prime target for bowfishing. They cruise slowly in shallow water, generally in decent-sized schools and their broad sides make an inviting target. A Florida freshwater fishing license is required.Check the FWC site for current regulations.

As in all outdoor pursuits, purchase the best equipment that is within the budget. Fortunately, it really does not take a lot of money to get started.

Florida bowfishing equipment

AMS is the leader when it comes to bowfishing equipment. Their bows are specifically built and designed for bowfishing. Bowfishing is different from hunting in that there will be many more shots taken. Bowfishing bows need to be light and easy to draw.They created the Hooligan bow, It can be drawn easily, allowing the shooter to hunt for hours tirelessly without sacrificing penetrating power. The entire package with reel, arrows, line, and safety system will run around $500. Click on the image to shop.

Using the AMS reel (specifically made for bowfishing) and Safety Slide system included in the Hooligan package is a wise investment, particularly for a beginner. They are safer and eliminate arrow “snap back” as well as making line management and retrieval much faster and easier. These components can also be purchased and used on other bows as well. The arrows have a special tip that is unscrewed a couple of turns, allowing the “barbs” on the arrow to be reversed so that the arrow slides out of the fish easily.

The venerable Jon boat is the perfect craft to hunt fish in Florida’s lakes, ponds, and rivers. Most have a large deck on the bow and are very stable, making them the ideal shooting platform. Add to that the fact that they are easily trailered or tossed into the back of the truck, making more remote areas accessible. Serious bowfishing anglers install rails and spotlights in the bow. Bowfishing can also be done from the shore and when wading.

Florida bowfishing techniques

Florida bowfishing tactics are fairly straight-forward. The best technique is to cruise along a shoreline or weed bed slowly while scanning the water for a target. A transom mounted trolling motor with an operator in the rear and two shooters on the bow is a good combination, allowing the water in front and off to the sides of the boat to be scanned while slowly moving through a promising looking spot. Areas of fairly shallow water with some vegetation are prime areas to search for these over-sized exotic panfish. If the shot is a miss, reel in the line and make ready again. If a fish is hit, the “angler” can either reel it in or simply hand line the fish back to the boat.

bowfishing at night

The same variables that apply to sight fishing also apply to bowfishing. Clear sunny days from mid morning to mid afternoon when the sun is high with little wind will make for easier spotting than an overcast, breezy day. But, that applies to shooting in the daytime. For a truly memorable and surreal experience, try bowfishing at night! This is when many serious aficionados take to the water.

Capt Ed recommends using 200 pound Dacron line on the AMS reels. This makes it much easier on the hands when removing arrows from sando bottoms that are common in Florida. Also, bowhunters use to using a release should learn to shoot fingers because there is little time to work with the “release and snap” shooting that is common in bowfishing. In Addition, hunters have to stay clicked in and at the ready when using a release. That will cause arm fatigue after a while.

Bowfishing at night

Easing through a Florida backwater in the pitch black of night with bright lights shining into the water can be downright unnerving. But also very productive as this is the time when many species feed and are on the prowl. Also, the lights penetrate the dark tannin-stained water that make up many of Florida’s lakes and rivers.

Florida bowfishing tips

Many anglers choose to go bowfishing at night. This can be very productive! However, it does require some special equipment and safety always needs to be the primary consideration. Bright spotlights are placed in the bow. Several batteries and even small generators are used. Fish are easily spotted and are often quite close to the boat. It is an eerie, but really cool, experience!

Florida Bowfishing in Saltwater

Bowfishing in the Florida saltwater is very similar to freshwater bowfishing. Again, only non-game fish may be taken. The top species that are pursued are sheepshead, rays, and flounder. However, jacks, ladyfish, snapper, and other species can be targets of opportunity.

Bowfishing for sheepshead

Florida bowfishing for sheepshead

Sheepshead are a prime target for anglers bowfishing in Florida for several reasons. They often cruise in schools in shallow water along oyster bars. Sheepshead have broad bodies making for a larger “strike zone”. Finally, they are fantastic eating! prime months for sheepshead are from early winter to late spring.

Low, incoming tides are the best time to seek out these saltwater panfish. They really are just saltwater versions of bluegill. Low tides will concentrate fish on the outside edge of the bar. As the tide floods in, the fish will move up onto the bars to feed. Sheepshead are often encountered in small schools or bunches of fish.

Bowfishing for mullet

bowfishing in Florida

Mullet are a perfect fish for anglers bowfishing in Florida. Mullet cruise around slowly in large schools in shallow water, perfect! The only downsides are that their bodies are fairly narrow and the flesh is a bit soft. However, with today’s arrows, very few fish pull off and are lost. Mullet are good eating, whether pan fried or smoked.

Bowfishing for black drum

Black drum are very similar to sheepshead in both looks and habits. They are a bit more elongated and do grow much larger. However, they are found along the oyster bars, same as sheepshead. Smaller black drum are fantastic eating, though the larger specimens can get wormy, especially in the warmer months.

Bowfishing for skates and rays

Many bowfishing anglers enjoy hunting down rays and skates. These are perhaps the largest fish that bowfishing anglers can take. They are easily spotted as the cruise along sandy bottoms. Anglers need to be cautious when dealing with stingrays! Both skates and rays are very good eating, though a bit tricky to clean.

There is a reason that bowfishing is growing rapidly among both anglers and hunters, it combines the excitement of both sports, is easy and relatively inexpensive, and just plain fun! Give it a try, and bring the entire family along!

SHOOTING TIPS:

  1. Aim low! The refraction caused by the water distorts the view of the target. On a wide fish such as a tilapia, shooting at the bottom of the fish should result is a hit in the meat of the body. If misses continue, aim even lower.
  2. Forget about sights, most shots are short and need to be done quickly and instinctively.
  3. Polarized sunglasses are a must for daytime bowfishing. Sunscreen, hats, and insect repellents are also necessities, day or night.
  4. Identify your target to make sure it is a species that is legal to take.

TOP TARGETS:

  1. Tilapia are the best option if freshwater fish is on the menu. The filers are firm, white, and mild. They are widespread and plentiful throughout the state and grow quickly. Most common and largest is the “blue tilapia”. In saltwater, sheepshead and flounder top the list.
  2. Gar are frequently targeted when bowfishing, particularly at night. Their habit of rising to the surface makes them a prime target.
  3. Bowfin or mudfish are another species that tent to cruise just under the surface in shallow water.

Jacksonville Florida Fishing Tips

Fishing Jacksonville Florida, action and variety!

This article will share some great Jacksonville Florida fishing tips . Jacksonville is in the north east corner of Florida, near the Georgia state line. It offers anglers excellent fishing for a variety of species. The St. Mary’s River and Amelia River in Fernandina Beach are a short drive away and offer excellent fishing as well.

Jacksonville Florida fishing tips

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While Jacksonville is in Florida, it is far north enough to have four seasons. It does get cold there. Jacksonville also has a more extreme tidal range that most parts of Florida. Three feet is a “big” tide in many parts of Florida. Jacksonville will see seven feet tides on the full moon.

Anglers fishing Jacksonville Florida have three distinct environments in which to fish. They can work the tidal creeks and rivers. The downtown area of the St. Johns River and inlet offer good fishing, especially for trophy redfish. Offshore anglers target bottom fish such as grouper and snapper along with king mackerel and other pelagic species.

Fishing Ladies local pro Laura Thompson

We are fortunate to have a local expert as our Jacksonville correspondent. Laura Thompson has been fishing this area for years with her husband Shawn.

Jacksonville Florida fishing tips

“I started fishing as a child. I grew up in a rural area and had to keep myself entertained. Fortunately, we had a pond and a creek. My passion for fishing started at an early age. My husband grew up saltwater fishing. Once we bought a boat he showed me a whole new world. I have been addicted ever since!”

Fishing Jacksonville Florida tidal creeks

fishing in Jacksonville

Laura really enjoys fishing the Jacksonville area tidal creeks and rivers. This can be challenging as the tide has so much affect on fish movements. A seven foot tide changes drastically affect fish locations and feeding patterns. Understanding how tides affect fish movements is the key to success

A 7′ medium action spinning outfit works well for this “back country” style of fishing. It is light enough to cast a shrimp or light lure, but has enough muscle to turn a nice fish. A selection of jig heads, soft plastic baits, shallow diving plugs, weedless spoons, and of course hooks, split shot, and corks will fill out the tackle requirements. Here is a Penn Conflict 3000 bombo. It is a nice all-round spinning outfit for inshore fishing. Click on the link to purchase or shop.

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Let’s go through the tide cycle. Low tide will find fish in the holes and channels. As the tide rises, fish move out of the deep water and move up on the bars and flats. As the water reaches flood tide, fish will be scattered everywhere. When the tide turns, fish will reverse the process and work their way back to the deeper water. They do not want to get “stranded” on the flat with no water.

Jacksonville black drum

Redfish, sheepshead, flounder, black drum, jack crevalle, and speckled trout are the primary species that anglers will encounter when fishing Jacksonville Florida on the flats. Laura likes the lower tide stages, especially the falling tide.

Importance of tides

“Low water will concentrate the fish. On the high tide, there is just too much water to fish. Game fish will position themselves at the mouths of feeder creeks and oyster bar points that drop off into deeper water. These are natural ambush spots for predators.”

Florida fishing tips

Anglers can be successful fishing both live and artificial baits. One approach that works well is to employ both techniques. Fish can be scattered over a large area. Power fishing with search baits such as a gold weedless spoon or a shallow diving plug will allow anglers to cover a lot of water quickly. Once fish are found, slowing down and working the area thoroughly with a jig or live bait will maximize the spot.

Shrimp is king in Florida, and Jacksonville is no exception. Shrimp are available all year long and catch everything that swims. They are a great all-round bait. They can be fished under a cork or free lined with a split shot or two. Laura also has success using quarter cut blue crabs, mullet, fiddler crabs, and mud minnows. Fiddler crabs are a popular sheepshead bait. Anglers targeting flounder do well using mud minnows.

Fishing for flounder

Fishing downtown Jacksonville and inlets

The star of the St. Johns River in downtown for anglers fishing Jacksonville Florida is without a doubt bull redfish. Bull reds are giant redfish that usually school up in the river. These fish are VERY large, much bigger than the average five pound fish found in most of Florida. They are found in Fernandina Beach to the north as well.

Jacksonville Florida fishing tips

The primary technique when targeting these giant redfish is to anchor on the edges of the river channel and bottom fish with live and cut bait. Anglers need to heed boat traffic, especially in Jacksonville. Commercial and recreational boat traffic can be heavy. Bends in the channel are top spots.

Anglers need to beef up the tackle for this type of fishing. These are big fish in heavy current. Laura uses medium conventional tackle spooled with 65 pound test braided line. Here is a good, versatile Penn combo for large reds and other saltwater species, a Squall 30 click on the link to purchase or shop.

The rig consists of a 3 ounce to 12 ounce ounce sinker, depending on current, on a weight slide. A 24” 60 lb leader and a 7/0 circle hook completes the rig. Best baits are whole blue crabs, live pogies, and large cut mullet. Laura recommends the bottom of the outgoing tide, just before it turns. It is much easier to fish when the current flow eases up.

fishing for redfish in Jacksonville

Fishing downtown Jacksonville for other species

Anglers fishing the “downtown” section on the St. Johns River can experience some excellent action. While the scenery is a bit “industrial”, that does not deter from the fishing. Flounder, trout, reds, drum, jacks, sharks, and other species with take a jig and grub or live shrimp fished near docks, seawalls, bridges, and other structure.

Once again, tides are very important. The best fishing is before and after the turn of the tide. It can be difficult fishing in the middle of the tide when it is running hard. Holes are excellent ares on the low tides. Docks, seawalls, and shorelines are best on the higher tide stages.

Anglers do not need a boat to enjoy the excellent fishing the Jacksonville offers. There are many parks along the river that give access to shore bound anglers. Also, surf fishing is productive along the entire coast line around Jacksonville. This is a great resource that shows the many parks in the area that offer anglers without a boat fishing access. View these spots HERE.

Fishing Jacksonville Florida inlets

The jetties at the mouth of the St. Johns River and St Mary’s River are terrific fishing spots! They basically long artificial reefs. Abundant structure will attract redfish, black drum, speckled trout, jack crevelle, flounder, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and more. Drifting with a live shrimp on a jig head is a good technique. Angler are discouraged from anchoring in the Jacksonville inlet.

fishing Jacksonville inlets

“Breaking” fish are often found just outside the jetty on a calm morning. Mackerel, jacks, blues, and other species can be seen feeding on the surface. In the fall, the East Coast of Florida experiences the infamous “mullet run”. Action can be incredible for these species as well as tarpon, sharks, cobia, and more.

Tarpon show up sometime in June and stay for several months. This is big game fishing and heavy spinning tackle is generally used. Anglers cast live crabs and mullet to rolling fish. Tarpon are also caught in the inlet and up the river as well.

Jacksonville Florida fishing tips

Fishing Jacksonville Florida waters in the inshore Atlantic

Anglers fishing the inshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean experience some excellent coastal fishing as well. Pelagic species such as Spanish mackerel, false albacore, king mackerel, jack crevalle, and sharks can be caught by anglers fishing within a couple miles of the beach. Spring and fall are generally the best times to fish.

One great aspect to this style of fishing is that much of it is visual. Fish are often times seen feeding ferociously on the surface. Anglers position the boat within casting range and toss jigs, plugs, and spoons into the mix. A strike is all but guaranteed! On days when fish are not “showing”, trolling spons and plugs is a great way to locate them.

Florida Spanish mackerel fishing

One really cool thing happens in early fall, the mullet run! Hordes of finger mullet migrate south along the Jacksonville beaches. Hungry game fish are right on their heels. Just about every species is liable to be encountered when working the schools of mullet. They are easy to see as large dark spots in the water. Anglers work to edges of the schools as game fish seek to pick off the strays.

Offshore fishing in Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville offers offshore anglers several opportunities as well. The fishing is similar to most of the Atlantic coast. Bottom fishing and trolling are the two techniques most often employed when fishing off the Jacksonville coast. The Gulf Stream is quite a way offshore, 50-70 miles or so. That is a long run, but boats that can make it catch tuna, dolphin, and wahoo. Anglers fishing

offshore fishing in Jacksonville

Bottom fishing is pretty basic. Anglers drop a live or cut bait down to the bottom on a natural ledge, artificial reef, or wreck. Shrimp, squid, sardines, and just about any live bait fish will all produce. Laura’s top offshore bottom fishing bait is squid. Anchoring, drifting, or “motor fishing” are all used to keep the boat in prime position. It all depends on the depth of the water and current sea conditions.

Grouper, snapper, triggerfish, cobia, amberjack, and other species will be caught by anglers bottom fishing. The best depth for targeting these fish are 40 Feet to 100 feet. Red snapper do tent to be caught out in deeper water that mangrove snapper and grouper.

snapper fishing in Jacksonville

Fish can be caught all year, but the best time to fish offshore in this area is fall when it starts to cool off. Grouper and snapper are closer to shore. They are found on ledges in depths between 50 feet and 75 feet deep. This is about 15 miles from shore.

Jacksonville bottom fishing spots

Here is a list of local bottom fishing spots,

Sahlman’s Gulley

GPS 30-40.07’N/ 81-09.34’W

Ponte Vedra Ground

GPS 30-12.11’N/ 81-04.52’W

Nine Mile

GPS 30-23.32’N/ 81-10.11’W

Montgomery Reef

GPS 30-26.47’N/ 81-13.12’W

Haddock’s Hideaway

GPS 30-34.03’N/ 81-08.26’W

FA

GPS 30-38.13’N/ 81-13.22’W

FC

GPS 30-36.35’N/ 81-10.35’W

Tournament Reef

GPS 30-27.47’N/ 80-55.46’W

Tanzler’s Waters

GPS 30-29.37’N/ 80-57.30’W

Amberjack Hole

GPS 30-32.49’N/ 81-03.10’W

Desco Boat

GPS 29-53.16’N/ 81-00.31’W

Blackmar’s Reef

GPS 30-21.55’N/ 80-50.05’W

Harm’s Ledge

GPS 30-22.20’N/ 80-53.52’W

Main Flagler

GPS 29-31.65’N/ 80-57.00’W

Drydock

GPS 30-07.05’N/ 80-33.25’W

Anglers trolling lures such as spoons, plugs, and skirted baits catch fish as well. King mackerel are the most targeted species. However, false albacore, tuna, dolphin, wahoo, and even billfish can be encountered, depending on the depth being fished.

Jacksonville Florida fishing

One good strategy anglers use is to employ both techniques on an offshore trip. They troll while on their way to the ledge or reef. Then, once at the destination, they can switch gears and do some bottom fishing. This is also a great way to locate new fishing spots.

In conclusion, this article on our ladies fishing Jacksonville Florida should help anglers catch more fish when in the northeast part of Florida!

Best Snook Fishing Tackle and Lures

Best Snook Fishing Tackle and Lures

This post will cover the best snook fishing tackle and lures. Snook are arguably the premier inshore game fish in Florida.

Most snook fishing tackle and lures evolved from largemouth bass fishing. The hard plastic plugs, soft plastic baits, and bladed baits used by anglers to catch snook were designed and developed by bass fisherman. This makes a lot of sense as snook are very similar in habits to largemouth bass.

Sarasota snook fishing

Capt. Jim Klopfer as a fishing guide in Sarasota Florida. He has been running fishing charter since 1991. While he pursues many different species for his clients, snook are his personal favorite. Also, while many snook can be caught by anglers using live bait, Capt. Jim prefers to cast artificial lures instead.

In this post Capt. Jim will cover the tackle and lures that he prefers to use both on his Sarasota fishing charters and for his personal use. By no means are these the only rods, reels, and lures that will produce snook! They just happen to be the ones that he has found to be effective in nearly 30 years of guiding.

Sarasota fishing excursion

Snook Fishing rods and reels

Spinning tackle is used by the majority of anglers fishing for snook. Spinning reels are easy to use and very affordable. Even novice anglers can learn to cast in a short period of time. The one downside to spinning tackle is line twist. This is due to the line turning 90° when it goes on the spool.

Sarasota river fishing charters

Many serious anglers fishing for snook opt for conventional or bait casting outfits. These are bit more difficult to use as anglers must use their thumb to keep light pressure on the spool as it revolves on a cast. Failure to do so will result in the famous “backlash” or “birds nest”. However, these reels provide more power as the line is wound straight onto the spool. Bait casting outfits are perfect for anglers casting heavier lures such as plugs.

Best Snook fishing spinning combinations

Capt Jim uses a couple different spinning outfits for his snook fishing. His favorite outfit is a Penn Confict 3000 reel on a St Croix 6’6” rod. This is a great all round combo that is light enough to cast lures all day without causing fatigue, yet heavy enough to muscle a big fish away from structure. This outfit retails for around $300.

The other spinning outfit that Capt. Jim uses is a Penn fierce 3000 reel on a 6’6″ Shimano Convergence rod. This is a fine outfit at a reasonable price, retailing for around $130. The main difference between the two is the weight, the Conflict/St.Croix set up is significantly lighter and is of better quality. However, either outfit will be fine for anglers casting artificial lures for snook.

Best baitcasting outfit for snook fishing

The number one bait casting real used by anglers casting lures inshore and saltwater environments is a Shimano Calcutta combo in the 200B size. It is matched to a 7’6″ medium fast action SLX rod.

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A less expensive option is a Kastking combo with a Spartacus reel and Perigee II medium fast rod.

Best line and leader for snook fishing

Capt Jim uses 20 pound Suffix braid on his spinning outfits. 40 pound braided line is a choice on bait casting rigs. He feels that braided line is required as snook are often times hooked in or near heavy cover such as docs, bridges, and mangrove trees.

As seasoned snook anglers are aware, a shock leader is required for this type of fishing. Snook do not have teeth, but do have a very sharp gill plates. Therefore a 2 foot section of fluorocarbon leader is used between the lure and the running line. 40 pound test is a good all-around size, though Capt. Jim will drop it down to 30 pound test if the water is clear and the snook seem a bit skittish.

Top snook fishing lures

Capt Jim only uses a handful of artificial lures for his snook fishing. These are the Rapala X-Rap Slashbait, Rapala Skitter Prop, Bass Assassin soft plastics, Gulp baits, Strike King Redfish Spinnerbait, and a half ounce gold Johnson Silver Minnow spoon.

fishing for snook

Rapala Saltwater X-Rap Slashbait

The Rapala Saltwater X-Rap Slashbait is by far Capt. Jim’s favorite bait when seeking snook. It is a fun lure to fish and is very productive, it will elicit some exciting strikes!

The #8 X-Rap is often used by Capt. Jim for fishing the inshore waters. It is a smallish bait but has excellent hooks and closely imitates the 2 inch to 3 inch forage that is most often found in Sarasota Bay where he fishes. Pilchard and Ghost (white) are his two favorite patterns. White works very well in clear water. Pilchard or olive is a great all round choice as it closely resembles both greenbacks and finger mullet.

This lure will dive down around 3 feet. That makes it an excellent choice for fishing the shallower flats on a high tide. It is also an effective lure for fishing out on the beach in the summer time. Anglers snook fishing around docs and residential canals will catch them in winter as well.

Fishing with the #10 X-Rap

If larger bait is present, Capt. Jim will bump up to a #10 X-Rap. This lure is identical to the other, just a bit larger. It will dive down five or 6 feet. The same colors are productive in the inshore waters. Capt. Jim does do a lot of snuck fishing and brackish rivers. Gold is the best color in these tannin stained waters, with pilchard being his second choice.

Rapala X-Raps are in the family of baits known as jerk baits. They have a very erratic action and the water which simulates a wounded bait fish. The best retrieve is a sharp twitch or two with a pause in between. The pauses is important is that is often times when the snook strikes. This is also an effective lure for anglers trolling and rivers and residential canals.

Rapala Skitter Prop

The Rapala Skitter Prop is Capt. Jim’s favorite top water plug. The single propeller on the rear puts out a lot of commotion and will draw snook and other game fish up to the surface. One reason he prefers this bait over the popular “walk the dog”baits such as the zero spook is that it is easier for clients to master quickly. This plug has a lot of built in action.

saltwater fishing with artificial lures

Fishing this lure is very easy. Anglers simply cast it towards some likely structure, let it settle, then twitch the rod tip sharply. The lure is allowed to rest a few seconds then this is repeated. One important note is that anglers need to wait until the weight of the fish is felt before setting the hook. Often times anglers see the surface explosion and jerk the rod. This will result in the fish being messed and a lore with multiple treble hooks flying back towards the boat.

Bass Assassin soft plastic baits

Bass Assassin makes a fantastic line of soft plastic baits in our Capt. Jim’s preferred choice. The 4 inch see Shad is a great all round paddle tail bait. It comes in a myriad of colors and puts out a good vibration. Capt. Jim’s to favorite colors are glow/chartreuse and new penny. These are rigged on a 1/8 or 1/4 ounce jig head depending on the water depth and current.

This is a versatile lure that can be worked in several different ways. The most effective retrieve is generally to hop it along the bottom and allow it to fall naturally. This imitates a wounded baitfish and will draw strikes from snook. Anglers can also crawl along the bottom when grass is not present or swim it steadily back to the boat.

Gulp! Jerk Shad

Gulp! baits are extremely effective for snook. While this is a soft plastic bait technically, it is heavenly scented. This can really make a difference on a tough day. Capt. Jim rigs that on a jig head just as he would other soft plastic baits is top producer is the Gulp 6 inch Jerk Shad with white being the top color.

Strike King Redfish Spinnerbait

The Strike King Redfish Spinnerbait is an excellent lure for snook as well as redfish. It is one of the few spinner baits made specifically for saltwater applications. This bait has a large gold blade which puts out a nice vibration, weighing 1/4 ounce. It also has a 4 inch Shad tail grub on the hook. Anglers can quickly and easily change the color of the grub.

One of the beauties of this bait is it has a ton of built in action. This makes it a great choice for novice or inexperienced anglers. It is heavy and casts a mile. All anglers need to do is retrieve it in a steady manner and they will catch fish. It works well around structure such as fallen trees and does not hang up very often. It is a great search bait on the open flats.

1/2 ounce gold Johnson Silver Minnow spoon

The last of Capt. Jim’s favorite snook fishing lures is the venerable Johnson Silver minnow in the gold color and 1/2 ounce size. This bait has been around for decades and has accounted for untold numbers of largemouth bass and snook. It is a fantastic search bait when fishing the open flats as it will run in very shallow water with the grassy bottom without hanging up. As an added benefit, it is a top redfish bait as well.

This is one situation where Capt. Jim does use a snap swivel. While he feels that this snap swivel impairs the action on other Lors, it is necessary in order to avoid line twist when using a spoon. The lore is very simple to use. Anglers simply cast it out and reel it back in steadily with a few twitches and pauses in between.

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Summertime snook fishing tips

Snook have a very distinct seasonal migration. They spawn out on the beaches and in the inshore Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean May through September. Many snook will stay in the inlets and passes as well. They find the deep water, good current flow, and abundant structure quite attractive.

fishing for snook

Late spring and early summer are great times to catch a trophy snook in the passes and inlets. They are bunched up and relatively large schools in a pretty small area. While artificial lures will produce, live bait works best in this situation. Live shrimp, pin fish, grunts, mullet, and large scaled sardines are the top baits. Most anglers anchor and cast the baits out near docks and rocky shorelines.

Snook are sight fished off of the Florida beaches. This is great sport, especially on a fly rod. Snook can be seen cruising right in the surf line just inches from shore. They are bit spooky and a quiet presentation is required. This is part of what makes fly fishing so effective. Small white buck tail jigs, small plugs, and small white flies are the top lures. Anglers can go fairly light on the tackle as there is very little structure for the fish to break off on.

Fall snook fishing

After the spawn as fall arrives and water temperatures begin to cool, snook will move out of the passes, inlets, and off the beaches. They will spread out into the inshore waters to feed. Fall is an excellent time to target snook. Flats and structure in the inshore bays will hold good numbers of snook.

Anglers who enjoy bass fishing and casting lures will find fall snook fishing appealing. Top water and shallow diving plugs, soft plastic baits, and weedless spoons are the top lures. Mangrove shorelines, docks, and oyster bars are prime spots. Anglers can cover a lot of water and a lot of likely looking spots using artificial lures. It can also produce some very exciting strikes!

fishing for snook

One deadly technique this time of year is to chum using live bait. This is a bit of a specialized technique. It requires a large bait well, good pump, and a large cast net and the ability to throw it. Once the angler has several hundred 2 inch to 3 inch baits in the well, the boat is anchored up in a likely spot. A few of the live baits are tossed out unhooked to attract snook up behind the boat. Once they are attracted and excited, they are usually fairly easy to catch using hooked live baits. This is a great opportunity for an angler who is less skilled and experienced to catch snook.

Winter snook fishing

Every winter is different in Florida. If the winter is mild, snook will remain on the flats all year long. However, a severe cold snapper to will push them up into residential canals, rivers, and creeks. Snook are a tropical species and cannot tolerate water temperature below 58° for very long. These canals and creeks are warmer and offer snook a refuge from the exposed open bays.

Countless miles of residential canals provide sanctuary for snook in the winter. Casting or trolling artificial lures allows anglers to cover a lot of water quickly. Shallow diving baits such as the Rapala X Rap work very well. A 5 inch or 6 inch soft plastic swim bait on a light jig is another effective bait. Large live shrimp can be deadly once a productive area is located.

Snook on a jig

As it starts to warm up in spring, snook will move out of their winter haunts and spread back out onto the flats and inshore waters. This fishing is a lot like the fall fishing. Both artificial lures and live baits will be effective. There is one difference however, normally the large scaled sardines have not arrived yet. Once they do, live bait chumming again becomes a very effective technique.

River Snook Fishing

Many anglers visit Florida with the hopes of catching a big snook. River snook fishing gives them that opportunity. Snook are the premier inshore game fish in Florida. They are caught year round in the southern half of the state on both coasts.

Snook move into rivers to spend the winter. They do this to escape the harsh conditions on the open, shallow flats. Rivers concentrate the fish, making them easier to locate and catch. Anglers also have protection from the winter wind.

Snook make a distinct seasonal migration. In the cooler months, snook migrate up into area creeks, rivers, and residential canals. This is especially true if it has been unseasonable cold. They do this to escape the temperature extremes of the exposed flats.

River snook can tolerate fresh water

Snook can tolerate a wide range of salinity levels and can live in fresh water. They are one of the few fish species that migrate into fresh water for reasons other than spawning. These areas are fertile with both freshwater and saltwater fish that the snook and other game fish can feed on.

Florida river waters are dark and most have deep holes. This results in the water temperature being significantly warmer than the nearby bays. Here on the west coast of Florida where I live, the Manatee River, Myakka River, Peace River, and the Caloosahatchee rivers all have winter snook migrations.

There are several aspects of river snook fishing that I find appealing. The scenery is stunning! It is also easy and relaxing fishing. Anglers ease down the river with the current, casting lures towards the shoreline cover. It is quiet and serene. Most rivers are “No Wake Zones”. Gators, birds, and other wildlife is seen. Rivers also offer protection on windy days.

River snook fishing lures

I prefer casting artificial lures when river fishing. Lures allow anglers to cover a lot of water in a relatively short amount of time. Anglers will normally be more productive covering as much of the river as possible. The best spots in a river are almost always the outside bends. These spots usually have a deep hole created by the current along with submerged cover.

Plugs are great lures for anglers river snook fishing. They cast well and run at a good depth. Shallow diving plugs will dive down three to five feet, yet run above the submerged cover. They elicit reaction strikes and the hook-up ratio is good. Anglers can cover a lot of water with these lures. They are also effective when trolled.

Rapala plugs produce when river snook fishing

My favorite lure for snook fishing in rivers is the #10 Rapala BX Minnow in gold or firetiger. There are plenty of fine plug manufacturers as well, and they will all produce river snook. The plug is cast out and retrieved in using an erratic retrieve with sharp “twitches” and a pause. Snook will often hit on the pause as the plug sits there motionless. Also, fish the lure all the way back, strikes often come right at the boat!

Topwater plugs can also produce some nice snook. Anglers will do best when the water temperature is a bit warmer. The beginning and end of the season are good times to use topwater plugs. I prefer prop baits such as the Rapala Skitterprop. They give off a good deal of commotion while sitting fairly motionless.

Spinnerbaits and soft plastic baits

Soft plastic baits also are effective baits in rivers. They are a better choice once a productive area is located and anglers want to slow down and work the area thoroughly. However, they do hang up more often. 5” to 6” swim baits on a 1/16 ounce jig head or a swim bait hook work well. Dark colors work best with “Golden bream” being a proven color. These can be reeled in slowly and steadily or with a more erratic retrieve.

Spinnerbaits produce snook and bass in rivers as well. Gold single blade baits work best in the darker water. The bait can have a skirt or swim bait type trailer. Both are effective. Spinnerbaits are a great choice for less experienced anglers. The bait is cast out and just reeled in with a steady retrieve. They are also very weedless. The hook-up ratio is good with the large, single hook.

Fly fishing for snook

River snook fishing gives fly anglers a great opportunity to catch a large snook on fly. Short, easy casts are the norm. The fly is cast out, allowed to sink, and stripped back in. 9wt outfits work best as anglers will need to horse fish out of heavy cover cover. Bait fish patterns such as a Clouser Minnow and Puglisi fly work well. Gold/black is a good color pattern, as is white and bright bluegill imitations.

It is very important when fly fishing for river snook to float with the current. Anglers going against the current will get a “belly” in the line almost immediately. This results in a very unnatural fly presentation. There will also be a bunch of slack line when a take does occur. This will make getting tight on the fish difficult.

Anglers should drift with the current when river snook fishing

The fishing technique is pretty basic. Anglers drift with the current, whether it is river or tidal, and cast the lures towards the shoreline. This fishing has a “freshwater” feel to it. As mentioned earlier, outside bends in the river are the prime spots. In fact, anglers should choose stretches of the river that are winding and twisting. Long, straight stretches are generally less productive.

Tides are a critical factor when river snook fishing, but it can be tricky as the tide tables have no correction for that far upriver. The best approach is to add a couple hours to the closest posted tide times, but only experience will give an angler the tide correction factors. Outgoing tides are preferred as the river current and tide current will be going in the same direction.

Trolling for river snook

Trolling is another easy technique that allows anglers to cover a lot of water and help to locate snook. Plugs are perfect for this, they float on the surface then dive down several feet. This is a proven technique for anglers in canals on the east coast of Florida. It is fairly easy and productive.

It is best to troll with the current where possible. The lure is let out a hundred feet behind the boat. Then, the boat is idled along at a slow speed. Strikes will be unmistakable! It is surprising how many large snook will be caught right out in the middle. Ledges and contour changes that are not visible will hold snook. Trolling is a great way to catch them.

Weather influences river fishing

Weather can have a huge influence when river snook fishing. The best time to fish is just as a front approaches. Cloud cover and bit of light rain are perfect conditions. Conversely, post front conditions are tough. Anglers encountering a blue bird sky and north east winds will have to earn their fish.

Another enjoyable aspect of river snook fishing is that other species will fall for the same lures and tactics. Largemouth bass in particular are often caught. Here in Sarasota, the Manatee River and Myakka River both have lakes that overflow. These push bass into the tidal portions of the river.

Other fish species will be taken as well. Juvenile tarpon, jack crevelle, redfish, catfish, and gar are some of the species that will hit a plug or jig meant for a snook. Anglers should check with the FWC for current Florida fishing regulations.  So, if you are looking for something a bit different, maybe even “Old school”, give river snook fishing a try!

In conclusion, this article on the best snook tackle and lures will help anglers choose their gear and catch more of these terrific game fish!

 

Best 7 River Smallmouth Fishing Lures

Best 7 River Smallmouth Fishing Lures

We will list the top six River smallmouth bass fishing lures in this article. Many anglers enjoy chasing smallmouth bass and rivers. While live bait produces plenty of fish, the majority of anglers opt to use artificial lures.

best 7 river smallmouth fishing lures

The best 7 River smallmouth fishing lures are the #8 Rapala X-Rap Slashbait, the Rebel Middle Wee Craw, the Heddon Tiny Topedo, the 4 inch green pumpkin Senko, 3″ Mister Twister, a 1/8 ounce rooster tail spinner, and a 1/4 ounce Beetlespin spinner bait. These seven baits will produce smallmouth bass and rivers throughout the country.

Best river smallmouth fishing rod and reel

Light spinning tackle is the best choice for anglers fishing rivers for smallmouth bass. The lures are light and light line and tackle in required to cast them. Also, rivers run clear and low in summer and early fall. Light tackle will elicit the most strikes.

A 6 ½ foot light spinning rod with a 2000 series reel and 6 pound monofilament line is a great all-round combination. Anglers can bump the line up to 8 pound test in the spring when the water is higher and has some color. Conversely, dropping down to 4 pound test might be required in extremely low water.

Here is a nice combination at a reasonable price. The 2000 6’6″ medium light outfit is perfect for most river smallmouth fishing. Click on the image to shop.

“Fishing Lido Key is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon”

List of best 7 river smallmouth fishing lures

Here is my list of the best 7 river smallmouth fishing lures. Smallmouth residing in rivers are not as fussy as fish in lakes can be. Anglers can keep it simple with this selection of lures.

1) #8 Rapala X-Rap Slashbait

Number one on the list of the top seven River smallmouth bass fishing lures is the #8 Rapala X-Rap Slashbait. This is a terrific bait for catching smallmouth bass anywhere, but particularly in rivers. It is in the family of lures that anglers term “jerk baits”. It floats at rest and dives down two or 3 feet below the surface upon retrieve. This puts the lure in the strike zone yet in most cases keeps it working above the submerged rocky bottom.

Virginia river fishing tips

This lure has a very erratic action which will trigger a strike from smallmouth bass. The most productive retrieve is to cast it out towards a likely looking spot. With the rod tip low and near the surface of the water, the lure is brought back in using sharp jerks. After a hard jerk, angler should point the rod tip right at the bait. This will put slack in the line and cause the bait to hover there motionless. This realistically imitates a wounded and helpless bait fish and will draw reaction strikes from smallmouth bass.

The best color to use will depend on river conditions. Light-colored work best in clear water while darker colors work better in stained water. White and olive are good all-around choices. These lures work best in a slow to medium current. They will hang up if used in very shallow water.

2) Rebel Middle Wee Crawfish

The Rebel Middle Wee Craw is number two on the list of the top seven River smallmouth bass fishing lures. Is a time proven bait in a bit of a legend among experienced smallmouth bass River anglers. It comes in a half dozen colors, and all of them are productive. Once again, light colors work best in clear water while darker colors work best in stained or dark water.

bass fishing

The Rebel Middle Wee Craw will float at rest then dive down upon retrieve. The idea is to get it down near the bottom and even bouncing off the rocks on occasion. Once that gets near the bottom, the lure is retrieved with short hard twitches, a bit less aggressively than a jerk bait. This will realistically mimic a fleeing crayfish.

It is best to use the Rebel Crawfish in the slower, deeper pools and holes. It will tend to turn sideways and heavy current and will also snag the bottom in shallow water. The Middle Wee Craw is extremely effective when worked over submerged rocky ledges and boulders and 3 foot of water to 5 foot of water.

3) Heddon Tiny Torpedo

The Heddon Tiny Torpedo is number three on the list of the top seven River smallmouth bass fishing lures. This is a top water plug. It has a tapered nose and a propeller on the rear. It is the perfect size bait for River smallmouth and is another tried-and-true producer of smallmouth bass in rivers.

best 7 river smallmouth fishing lures

Top water baits are very easy to use and are a lot of fun to fish! The angler simply casts the lure out to a likely looking spot and then retrieves it with sharp twitches of the rod and a pause in between. Often times, the smallmouth bass will attack it as it sits there motionless.

It is important that when a fish strikes this lure the angler wait until the weight of the fish is felt before setting the hook. Otherwise, the lure and it’s treble hooks can come flying back towards the angler. Since the Tiny Torpedo is a top water bait and virtually 100% snag proof, it can be used in any depth of water. However, it will not be very effective in fast current.

4) 4″ Yamamoto Senko

The 4 inch Yamamoto Senko is a fantastic bait that will catch a variety of species and just about any environment. It is an extremely effective lure when pursuing river smallmouth bass. The soft plastic lures are in the family of what many anglers call “finesse baits”. That means that anglers do not need to impart a lot of action.

Oklahoma smallmouth bass

In open water, these can be rigged on an open hook. However, since most productive smallmouth bass rivers have rocks and other cover, anglers either use a weedless hook or Texas rigged the worm on a 1/0 worm hook. This bait can be effective in both the deeper pools and the faster running water.

In the slower, deeper pools, the bait is simply dragged slowly across the bottom. The Senko is very supple and will have a very lifelike action and the water. Less really is more when fishing this bait. Anglers can slide on a very small 1/8 ounce sliding sinker if necessary. In swift water, the bait is cast out into the deeper runs and just allowed to sweep downstream in the current. Little or no action is needed by the angler.

5) 3″ Mister Twister

The simple yet extremely effective jig is bait number five on the list of the top seven River smallmouth bass fishing lures. A jig bouncing erratically off the bottom is an excellent imitation of a crayfish. The most popular combination when fishing rivers for smallmouth is a 1/8 ounce round black head with a 2 inch to 3 inch root beer or green body. Chartreuse is very productive as well.

The jig and grub combo is very easy to use. And calm her slack water, the lure is cast out towards shoreline cover or submerged rocks are ledges. It is allowed to sink to the bottom then retrieved back in using a series of short hops. Each time the jig head hits the bottom it kicks up a puff of sand or dirt, realistically mimicking a crayfish. Anglers can swim it back using a steady retrieve to imitate a minnow.

Manitoba smallmouth bass fishing

Jigs can be fished in swift water as well. The best approach is to cast 90° and then let the bait work downstream with the current while the angler keeps the tip up and gives the jig just a little bit of action. Anglers will not need to impart too much action as the jig will look very natural just floating with the current. Anglers should use just enough to keep the jig up out of the rocks of possible.

These lures are fairly inexpensive to use. That is a good thing as many will be lost in a day of fishing for smallmouth in rocky streams. Serious anglers buy the jig heads and the grub bodies and bulk. This results in them being around $.50 or so per bait.

1/6 ounce Roostertail spinner

A 1/6 ounce rooster tail spinner is number six on the list of top seven River smallmouth bass fishing lures. This is a very simple lure that will catch just about every species that swims. Anglers that fish rivers with trout in them use Roostertails as they will produce trout as well as bass.

Roostertails are very simple and easy to use. They work best in shallow stretches of the river with a little current. Anglers simply cast across the stream and reel it in as slowly as possible using a steady retrieve. It is a good idea to give it an initial twitch to get the blade spinning. The flashing blade and vibration along with the colorful tail will draw a lot of strikes!

There are many different Roostertail colors to select from. Generally, white with a silver blade works well on bright, sunny days in clear water. A gold blade with a bright green/pink body works great on cloudy days or in stained water. In all honesty, every color will produce fish. It will snag occasionally but not too bad.

1/4 ounce Beetlespin

A 1/4 ounce spinner bait is an extremely effective lure for smallmouth bass and other species. It is #7 on the list of the best 7 river smallmouth fishing lures. 148 ounce is a good all round size, though anglers can drop down to 1/8 ounce if the water is low and clear. Silver blades and a 2” white, green, rootbeer or black grub work well in most rivers.

The beauty of these lures is that they can be used in both fast and slow water and rarely hang up. The design of the lure keeps the hook out of harms way. The grub tail can be easily changed. Like the inline spinners, spinnerbaits work best with a slow, steady retrieve.

River smallmouth fishing lures; techniques and locations

While smallmouth bass are found in lakes, many anglers associate smallmouth bass fishing with rivers. Tactics for pursuing smallmouth bass and rivers are a bit different than when fishing in lakes. Generally speaking, the river fishing experience is more relaxed and less complicated. Anglers mostly wade or drift in small boats.

smallmouth bass fishing

One great advantage to fishing for smallmouth bass and rivers is that fish are much easier to locate. In the confines of a river, likely fish holding spots are much easier to identify as opposed to a large open body of water. Depth is pretty much a non factor as most smallmouth rivers are fairly shallow.

The ideal River habitat for smallmouth bass are rivers with cool, clear water and a lot of gravel and rocks. Smallmouth bass love rocks! Boulders and rocky ledges provide refuge from the current. Smallmouth bass and other game fish will stage in these eddies waiting in ambush. They can dart out into the current to feed while not expending a lot of energy.

Smallmouth bass love rocks!

Rocks have another attraction when it comes to smallmouth bass as well; crayfish! These are the preferred forage of smallmouth bass in both lakes and rivers. They are high in protein and fairly easy to catch. Many of the artificial lures used to catch smallmouth are designed to mimic a crayfish.

fishing in rivers for smallmouth bass

There is one big disadvantage when it comes to rocks, and that is snags. That is one reason why the best seven River smallmouth bass fishing lures are bit different than those used in lakes. Most rivers are shallow and rocky and baits that are dragged along the bottom will snag.

As mentioned above, one advantage to fishing for smallmouth bass and rivers is that likely spots are easy to identify. Unlike trout, smallmouth will rarely be right in the swiftest current. Instead, they will find an eddy or bit of slack water where they can rest comfortably without expending a lot of energy yet be in a prime position to feed.

Areas that hold smallmouth bass in rivers

These highly productive spots include holes or pools where the river slows down and increases in depth. These polls between riffles are prime spots for smallmouth bass, particularly if fallen trees and rocks are present. Often times there will be holes in the slack water area right behind a large boulder. These are prime spots as well.

Smallmouth bass fishing for beginners

Outside bends in the river channel are smallmouth bass hotspots! Debris that washes downstream such as fallen timber will tend to collect in these areas. Often times, the water is deeper as well as the current gouges out a whole. Many of the spots also have an undercut bank. Anglers River smallmouth fishing should never overlook these outside bends.

The heads and tails of pools and riffles can also be good spots to try for smallmouth bass. Anglers will often times find that the smaller fish are found in these shallow waters with a bit a current. While not large, they are great fun on light tackle and can liven up a slow morning.

In conclusion, this article on the best 7 river smallmouth fishing lures will help anglers catch more fish!

How to catch saltwater fish with jigs

How to catch saltwater fish with jigs

This article will teach anglers how to catch saltwater fish with jigs. Jigs are a very simple yet incredible effective artificial lure.

how to catch saltwater fish with jigs

There is evidence to suggest that jigs were the first artificial lure used to catch fish. A jig is simply a hook with a shaped, weighted head at the front. It then has some type of body made of plastic or hair. The weight at the eye of the hook gives the lure an erratic jigging motion. Thus the name. The body of the jig can resemble a crustacean such as crabs and shrimp along with bait fish. While normally fished on the bottom, jigs can also be used throughout the entire water column.

how to catch saltwater fish using jigs

Jig fishing rods and reels

There really is no one best outfit for jig fishing. The conditions and applications vary too much. A 6 1/2 foot-7 foot spinning outfit is a great choice for fishing with fairly light jigs in relatively shallow water. Anglers can spool this up with 10 pound monofilament or braided line. This rig is light enough to be cast all day yet has enough beef to handle a decent fish.

Spanish mackerel and false albacore fishing tips

I have been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. Anglers who are interested in purchasing the equipment that I use and write about in my articles can do so HERE on the PRODUCTS page.

Light conventional tackle is used quite often when vertically jigging. Often times heavy jigs will be required in strong current. Light conventional outfits give anglers the power they need to work the jig and fight a decent flounder or striped bass. These same outfits work very well for trolling. A 7′ medium heavy rod spooled up with 20 pound braided line is a great combo.

fishing report for Sarasota, Florida

Jig types

There are primarily two different types of jigs; buck tail jigs and soft plastic jigs. Soft plastic jigs are by far the most popular these days. They are economical and versatile. Jig head waits can be matched with plastic body shapes, colors, and sizes to mimic just about any forage that fish feed on. Bucktail jigs are still very effective on a variety of fish species and many anglers still prefer them. However, they are not as durable as soft plastic baits and are more expensive to use in the long run.

Lake Murray striped bass

Soft plastic bodies come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. However, there really are only two different styles. Grub bodies with a flat tail are meant to mimic shrimp and other crustaceans. Shad tail and curly tail jigs mimic bait fish. It really is that simple! Anglers should purchase grub bodies and sizes and colors that resemble the locally available forage.

Buck tail jigs actually do a very good job of imitating both crustaceans and bait fish. White is by far the most popular color, though pink and chartreuse are sought by anglers in some areas. A 1/2 ounce white buck tail jig has caught a lot of fish over the years and remains an extremely effective bait to this day. Anglers can even add a soft plastic trailer to the buck tail jig, such as a curly tail worm. This is very effective on striped bass.

The jig and grub is a very versatile fishing lure

One great thing about the jig and grub combo is how quickly and easily baits can be changed. Anglers can switch from a grub body that imitates a shrimp to one that mimics a bait fish in just a few seconds. Jig heads are available in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and colors. The same is true for the soft plastic grub bodies. Anglers can put together combinations that are effective in their area. I personally prefer the Bass Assassin line of baits. They have fantastic action and come in many different colors. The 4 inch Sea Shad on a 1/4 ounce jig head is my favorite combination.

saltwater fishing with jigs

 

Anglers can certainly get confused by the vast selection of jig heads and tails that are available. Local tackle shops are usually a good source of information as to productive lures in that area. Anglers starting out will do well with jig heads in one quarter ounce, 1/2 ounce and 1 ounce heads along with 3 inch to 4 inch shad tail grubs. Pearl, chartreuse, hot pink, root beer, and olive are good all-around colors.

Jig head weights, shapes, and sizes

In most fishing applications, anglers work jigs on or very close to the bottom. As the jig is bounced up and down, the weight it had will often kick up a puff of sand as it lands. This looks very realistic to game fish as it mimics a fleeing shrimp or crab.the weight of the jig required will vary depending on fishing conditions. Water depth and current speed are the two primary factors to consider. Ideally, anglers will use just enough weight to reach the bottom.

inshore saltwater fishing

Jig heads come in a variety of shapes as well. Round or oblong heads are the most popular shapes. These have the eye of the hook 90 degrees to the shank. This results in a more horizontal presentation. Triangular shaped heads cut through the water and are a better choice for anglers choosing to troll with jigs. Jigs that are designed to be fished shallow have a tapered head with the eye at the front. This allows it to go through weeds more easily.

One quarter ounce jig heads are very popular in Florida where I run my Sarasota fishing charters. Most of the water I fish is 10 feet deep or less and currents are not very strong. however, anglers fishing in areas where water is deeper and currents are stronger will need to use heavier jigs. Jigs of several ounces will be required at times, especially when fishing inlets and passes on a swift tide.

How to catch saltwater fish with jigs, jig Fishing Techniques

fishing for flounder with jigs

Vertically jigging

Jigs are a very versatile lures that can be fished in a variety of ways. One of the easiest and most productive methods is to fish a jig vertically while drifting. Anglers motor the boat upwind and up current of the area to be fished. Then, the jig is lowered straight down to the bottom. Once it hits the bottom, the line is real taught and then the jig is jerked sharply up off the bottom and then allowed to fall on a slack line. This motion is continued as the boat drifts along. This is a fantastic way to cover a lot of water and keep the lure in the productive strike zone the entire time.

This is a proven method to catch a variety of fish species. Anglers fishing in the Northeast will catch flounder, fluke, striped bass, bluefish, and other species. Vertically jigging will produce fish in the southern states as well, including speckled trout, pompano, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and more. Anglers fishing offshore will use special jigs that are quite heavy. They get down to the bottom in deep water and are jerked sharply, imitating a wounded bait fish. These are called “flutter jigs” and are extremely effective on a variety of species. Heavy bucktail and soft plastic jigs can be used as well.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge striped bass

In some circumstances, anglers will combine live or cut bait with the jig. This combination can be extremely effective! Flounder and fluke in particular are prone to take a white buck tail jig with a squid strip trailer. The same goes for a soft plastic jig tipped with a piece of shrimp in the south. The extra scent of the bait along with the action of the jig can prove irresistible. This can be particularly effective when the water is stained.

Casting jigs

Jigs can be cast out and retrieved back in as well. This is a very common Lee used method by anglers when drifting the flats. The term flats means a broad area of fairly uniform depth, usually between five and 15 feet deep. The jig is cast out and allowed to settle. It is then retrieved back to the boat using a series of hops. With the rod tip at 10 o’clock, the angler jerks the rod tip up sharply to about 12 o’clock. The jig is then allowed to fall on a tight line. This is important as it will allow anglers to feel the strike, which most often occurs on the fall.

Spotted sea trout fishing

As with all artificial lure fishing, anglers will do best to very the retrieve until a productive pattern emerges. Some days of fish will want the jig crawled along the bottom while on other days they will want a faster more erratic retrieve. The same premise applies to jig body sizes and colors. Anglers should experiment until they achieve success. Generally speaking, light colors work best in clear water, dark colors work best in stained water, and bright colors work best in muddy water.

In the southeastern part of the United States along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coast, this is the most popular technique when using artificial lures. The jig and grub combo is a very effective bait for redfish and speckled trout. These are the most plentiful and sought after fish species, along with flounder, that are found on the open flats. Casting lures while drifting in a boat allows anglers to cover a lot of water. It is also a productive method for anglers fishing from shore and wading.

Top Florida saltwater game fish

Vary the retrieve when fishing with jigs

There will be times when fish will respond to a much faster retrieve. This is particularly true when fish are seen feeding on the surface. Often times when this occurs, a fast, steady retrieve works best. If that does not produce, add in some hard jerks and pauses. When fish are feeding high in the water column, this will generally produces strike. Bluefish, striped bass, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, and ladyfish are species that are commonly found feeding on the surface

saltwater fishing with artificial lures

 

Jigs are also very effective when cast towards shoreline cover. Jetties, docks, oyster bars, and shoreline timber will all hold fish. This type of fishing is very much like freshwater fishing for largemouth bass. The angler cast the lure toward some likely fish holding structure, allows it to sink a few seconds, then retrieve it back in an erratic manner. Since many saltwater fish species relate to cover and structure, this type of fishing will produce a wide variety of fish.

Trolling with jigs

Trolling is another extremely effective technique that anglers can use with jigs. This can be done as simply as putting a few lines out behind the boat and slowly driving around at just above idle speed. It is important when trolling with jigs to keep the speed down. Unlike spoons and plugs, jigs will tend to twist and roll if trolled to quickly. Serious anglers often times use special trolling weights and even wire line to get the jigs down to the preferred depth.

how to catch saltwater fish with jigs

Umbrella rigs are quite popular with anglers who like trolling with jigs. These are clever devices that allow anglers to use multiple baits at one time. The theory is that it resembles a small school of bait fish that are swimming by. Whatever the intent, umbrella rigs work. Striped bass in particular fall prey to these ingenious devices.

How to catch saltwater fish with jigs, fishing for pompano with jigs

Pompano and jig fishing go together. They feed primarily on crustaceans right on the bottom.

Many anglers enjoy fishing for pompano. They are found along the Gulf of Mexico coast and up the Atlantic coast to North Carolina. They fight very hard for their size and are fantastic eating!

jig fishing for pompano

Pompano average a couple of pounds. However, they put up a terrific fight for their size. These smaller cousins to the permit use their broad sides and forked tails to pull very hard. Pompano feed on the bottom, normally on crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs. They range from Texas along the US coast as far north as Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. Pompano are prized as table fare by anglers. Jigs, live shrimp and sand fleas are the top baits.

One look at a pompano will clue anglers as to their feeding habits. The mouth is small and “inferior”, meaning it is behind the nose. It feeds by using that hard nose to root in the bottom in search of crabs and shrimp. It then vacuums up the prey. Pompano will be found over sandy bottoms, grassy bottoms and around rocky structure. All of these areas hold the forage that they feed on.

Pompano fishing tackle

As in most inshore saltwater applications, the same rod and reel used to target speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, and other species will work fine when targeting pompano. As these fish do not grow too large, a light spinning outfit is perfect. A 6 1/2 foot medium action rod with a 2500-3000 series reel and 10 pound monofilament or 20 pound braided line is perfect.

Sarasota fishing charters

Jig fishing for pompano

The top artificial lure by far is the jig. A jig is a hook with a piece of lead molded near the eye. The hook is then dressed with either natural or synthetic hair or a plastic grub body of some sort. Anglers fishing for pompano work the jig right on the bottom. Each time it hits the bottom it kicks up a tiny puff of sand. This mimics a fleeing crab or shrimp and is a very effective presentation.

Pompano have fairly small mouths. Anglers drifting the flats and inlets and passes will catch pompano on the larger jigs meant for speckled trout and other species. Therefore, anglers fishing for pompano specifically generally scale down the size of the lure.

Florida pompano fishing

There are several types of jigs on the market specifically designed for pompano. There are two types, the ball head jig and the banana jig. Ball head jigs are basically smaller versions of a buck tail jig. It will have a round head with a smaller hook, around a size #4. The dressing will normally be synthetic and will be trimmed close, just beyond the bend of the hook. These jig sink very quickly and are great choice when fishing passes and inlets. They can also be cast out by anglers fishing for pompano on the flats.

Banana jigs are odd looking little lures. As the name implies, they are long and slender with a bend in them, looking a bit like a banana. Some also have a little fly attached to add some flash. They have a very erratic action when falling. Anglers can work them either vertically or casting out by jerking the rod tip up and letting the jig falls sharply to the bottom.

top 8 Sarasota fish species

Pompano locations and seasons

Pompano are found along the beaches, in passes and inlets, and on the flats. Generally speaking, the flats closest to the open waters of the Gulf and Atlantic are best. Inlets on the East Coast and passes on the West Coast are also prime spots for anglers fishing for pompano. Many fish are caught by anglers surf fishing as well.

Pompano are found in Florida all year long. The cooler months are best, but the occasional fish can be caught at any time. As it warms up, the fish will move north along the east coast. Summer is the best time to catch them off of the Carolina beaches. Pompano are landed along the Gulf Coast with the exception of really cold weather in the northern portion of the Florida panhandle area.

Passes and inlets

Inlets are veritable fish highways that pompano and other species use to travel from the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean into the back bays. The current is always stronger in these areas due to the natural constricting of the land masses. The result is a natural spot for fish to congregate and feed, especially when structure is present.

Inlets and passes are virtually the same thing. In the Gulf of Mexico, they are called “passes”. And Atlantic Ocean, they are called “inlets”. While they are similar in most cases, they are actually fished a bit differently. This is mainly due to the fact that on the East Coast tides are stronger and boat traffic can be significantly heavier.

Pompano fishing in passes

The best technique to use when fishing for pompano and passes is to drift using a vertical presentation. Jigs work really well in this application and can be tipped with a small piece of shrimp to increase the chances of success. The jig is simply lower to the bottom and twitched sharply using short 1 foot movements. The jig stays in the strikes on the entire time and as the boat drifts a lot of water can be covered in a short amount of time. Once a school is located, anglers will re-drift that area until the bite slows.

Pompano will often times get up into very shallow water on the sandbars in the passes. As the drifting boat will spook them in this skinny water, it is best to make long casts and work the lure back to the boat. Jigs are effective in this situation as well, though anglers can certainly catch fish using live shrimp or sand fleas.

Inlets

Inlets on the Atlantic Ocean side can be a bit tricky. Tides are often times quite swift, resulting in a potentially dangerous boating situation. It also requires a lot of weight to get down to the bottom. Finally, boat traffic, especially on weekends, can be quite heavy. Often times, the best way to fish for Pompano in inlets is from the jetty. Anglers can cast out live bait or jigs and thoroughly work the rocks.

Often times, the best spots in the inlets are little eddies or edges where the rocks transition to sand. These are prime spots for pompano to hold in and feet. The Eddie on the backside of the jetty on the Atlantic Ocean side is a prime spot for anglers fishing for pompano and the inlets.

Surf fishing for pompano

One of the great things about fishing for pompano is that anglers do not need a boat to catch them. All things considered, more Pompano are probably landed by anglers surf fishing than they are by anglers in boats. The entire coastline from South Texas around the tip of Florida and up to Cape Hatteras can produce pompano at one time or another.

Using jigs for pompano in the surf

While most anglers target pompano in the surf using natural bait, they can certainly be caught on artificial lures as well. This is particularly true when the tide is high in the seas are flat. Pompano will cruise the first trough, quite close to shore, in search of sand fleas and other forage. Anglers casting jigs and working at through this area will catch fish under these conditions.

How to catch saltwater fish with jig, fishing for pompano on the flats

Pompano are also caught on the flats in the inshore bays. Often times, there are an incidental catch for anglers fishing for speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, and other species. They are a most welcome intrusion! Pompano generally swim around in small bunches, so once one is landed anglers can be fairly certain that others are nearby.

Flats close to the inlets and passes are generally the most productive ones for anglers fishing for pompano. They tend to be a bit deeper and have good current flow. The best flats are generally those that have a nice mix of grass and sand. Pompano will often times hold in the transition area where it changes from grass to sand.

Drifting is the best technique to use when targeting pompano on the flats. As with the passes, it allows anglers to cover a large amount of water fairly quickly. The best approach is to set up a drift where the wind and tide will move the boat in the same direction. This will result in a nice efficient drift.

Jigs produce on the flats

Both jigs and live bait work well in this situation. Generally speaking, anglers will cast jigs out in front of the drifting boat and work it back in. As with fishing in the passes, the jig will work best when presented right on the bottom. The lure is worked back using short, sharp twitches of the rod tip and then allowing the jig to fall to the bottom.

Live shrimp can also work well when drifting the flats. It will also catch a variety of other species as well. Free lining the shrimp works well on flats with water deeper than 6 feet. Anglers simply hook the shrimp through the horn and allow it to drift out behind the boat. A small split shot may be required when it is breezy or the current is strong. In shallower water, shrimp can be fished under a popping cork to keep it up out of the grass.

Pompano are excellent table fare

One of the best aspects of fishing for pompano is the opportunity for a fresh dinner. Some of the best chefs in the world consider Pompano to be the best eating fish of all species that swim! Pompano have a very fine, moist, buttery flavor. However, they really do not freeze all that well and angler should only keep enough for a fresh meal or two. There are several different ways to prepare them. Anglers can see current Florida fishing regulations on the FWC site.

Pompano are excellent when sautéed in a pan. A 50-50 mixture of butter and olive oil is heated in a pan. Pompano is covered in a tire breadcrumbs on both sides then placed into the hot skillet. The fishes allowed to cook for two minutes on each side and then is finished off in a 400° oven for five minutes or so depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Marinades work very well with Pompano as they absorb the flavor. However, it is best not to use one that is too strong that will mass the delicate flavor of the pompano. An easy marinade is one that is 1/4 cup light soy sauce, three-quarter cup olive oil, with some honey, ginger, and parsley mixed in. The fillets are allowed to set for 1 to 2 hours they can be baked, broiled, or grilled.

In conclusion, this article on how to catch saltwater fish with jigs will add another tool for anglers to use to be successful!

Walleye Fishing, A beginners Guide

Fishing for Walleye, a Beginners Guide

Fishing for walleye, a beginners guide will help anglers new to walleye fishing catch more fish. Walleye are extremely popular in the northern states and in Canada. While walleye put up a respectable tussle, the reason for this popularity is their value on a dinner plate. Walleye are probably the best eating freshwater fish that swims!

walleye fishing tips

Walleye are originally found in Canada and the Midwest. The Mississippi River basin and Missouri River basin had good concentrations of fish. Walleye are nocturnal feeders but many fish are caught during the day. They prefer cool, clear waters of lakes and rivers. They have been successfully transplanted all over North America, as long as the water quality and temperature are conducive to their survival.

Lake Erie is a prime example of a walleye success story. Fishing there has been very good for decades. Recent spawns were historic and anglers fishing for walleye are experiencing outstanding fishing for both numbers and trophy fish. Fish over 10 pounds are caught with regularity. Many other lakes and river systems have excellent walleye fishing as well.

Walleye habits

Walleye spawn in the spring when the water temperature is in the upper 40s to 50 degrees. They migrate from their deeper wintering areas shallow to do so. River walleye migrate into creeks and rivers to spawn on rock and gravel bottom areas. Lake walleye move inshore to spawn on shallow, windswept rock and bars. Many productive walleye fisheries have spawning fish both on the flats, reefs, and in creeks and rivers.

walleye fishing

Once the spawning ritual is completed and the water begins to warm up, walleye will move out and school up in large numbers around deeper, offshore structure. Underwater humps, bends in river channels, steep drop-offs, main lake points, bridges, and any submerged structure can hold walleye in the summer time. They will also school up in open water with no structure around under schools of bait fish.

It is best to target summer time walleye early and late in the day or at night. Fishing can be tough in the middle of the day in the middle of the summer, especially with no wind or cloud cover. A little breeze will put a chop on the surface of the water, reducing sunlight penetration. The same goes for cloudy days.

Summer and fall walleye patterns

As it cools off in late Summer and early fall, walleye will migrate shallow again. This is a great time of year to catch them casting crank baits and other artificial lures as the fish are in an aggressive feeding mood, fattening up for the upcoming winter. Once the water gets cold, or even freezes over, the fish will move back out deeper to areas similar to their summer locations.

fishing for walleye, a beginners guide

Walleye have a fairly diverse diet. They prefer live forage and will feed on just about anything they can find in a lake or river. Nightcrawlers, insects, crawfish, leeches, and bait fish are their primary sources of food. Walleye normally feed on or near the bottom but will certainly feed on suspended bait fish. This is particularly true on large, open bodies of water.

One look at the marble eye of a walleye will let anglers know that this is a nocturnal feeder. However, this is not an exclusive behavior. Walleye can certainly be caught during the day and most fish are caught during the daylight hours. Like most forms of freshwater fishing, dusk and dawn and periods of low light such as on cloudy days can often times be the most productive days to fish.

Fishing for walleye, a beginners guide; techniques

walleye fishing

The two primary angling techniques that are used when targeting walleye are spin fishing and trolling. Since the tackle used for both techniques is quite different, they will be covered in separate sections. Tackle and techniques used by anglers fishing for walleye with spinning tackle are quite similar to those used for other freshwater species such as smallmouth bass. However, the tackle used for deep water trolling is quite different.

Spin fishing for walleye

Anglers fishing for walleye use spinning tackle for the majority of the drifting and casting applications. Light spinning tackle is ideal for drifting rivers and lakes using jigs or live bait as well as when casting lures or live baits in the shallow waters.

walleye pike fishing

A 6 1/2 foot medium light fast action spinning rod matched with a 2500 series reel is an excellent all around walleye fishing combination. It will cover the vast majority of situations that anglers fishing for walleye will encounter. A “fast action” rod is one in which the butt or lower section is relatively stiff while the last couple feet of the rod tip is very limber and sensitive.

The reel can be spooled with 8 to 10 pound monofilament line or 10 to 15 pound braided line. Many anglers these days opt for braided line for the increased sensitivity and reduced stretch. Monofilament line is less expensive and knots are easier to tie. Braided line is more expensive, knots are more difficult to tie, however it will last a long time and has virtually no stretch.

Fishing for walleye in lakes

Anglers fishing for walleye on lakes have good success by drifting. The lure or bait is presented vertically as the boat slowly drifts over submerge structure. Sunken islands, sloping points, channel edges, and schools of bait fish in open water are all prime spots. Depths between 10 feet deep and 30 feet deep are usually the most productive. This is an excellent pattern from late spring after the spawn to mid fall.

walleye fishing for beginners

A live nightcrawler on a Lindy rig is a tough combination to beat for anglers drift fishing for walleye in open water. This rig consists of a special sinker that walks over submerged rocks and other structure. The hook floats a few feet up off the bottom where the bait hangs suspended, enticing the fish. This is an excellent technique for novice walleye anglers to use, as it is fairly simple. Other live baits such as leeches and bait fish can be used as well.

Jigs are an excellent artificial lure to use when fishing for walleye in deeper water. Again, a vertical presentation is often the most effective. It allows anglers to thoroughly cover the bottom as the boat drifts over the structure. The jig is dropped to the bottom and worked in short little hops as the boat drifts along.

Jig fishing for walleye

A jig is a hook with a piece of lead molded near the eye. This weight gives the lure both action and casting weight. The weight of the jig had will be determined by the depth of the water, current if any, and wind speed. The idea is to use just enough weight to reach bottom while the line is Relatively vertical.

walleye fishing guide

Jigs originally came with some type of hair dressing, with bucktail being the most common. Most anglers today use a jig head in combination with a grub body of some sort. This is an excellent system as the grub body can be changed easily to match the available forage. Darker colors such as black, green, and motor oil mimic leeches and crayfish. Lighter colors such as pearl and chartreuse are excellent bait fish imitations.

Grub bodies come in many different shapes, styles, and colors. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the variety that is available. Curly tail jigs and shad tail jigs have excellent action and the water and imitate bait fish. However, a selection of 2 inch to 3 inch grub bodies in both light and dark colors in a couple different styles will cover most angling situations. The same applies to jig heads; a good supply of various colored jig heads and weights from 1/8 ounce to 1/2 ounce is all that most anglers will need.

Cool weather walleye patterns

Walleye are found in shallower waters and lakes in the cooler months. Often times, they are quite active and in a feeding mood. Fish that have moved to the shallows in the spring and the fall from deeper waters will be found around rocks, points, fallen timber, docks, and other structure and water from 10 feet deep up as shallow as a couple feet deep.

This is a great time for anglers to cast artificial lures in search of feeding walleye. Crank baits are an excellent choice as they allow anglers to cover a lot of water in a fairly short amount of time. They also draw reaction strikes from aggressive fish. Crank baits come in many different styles, shapes, colors, and sizes. Every angler has his or her favorite crank bait.

walleye fishing, a beginners guide

Crank baits should match the relative size, shape, and color of the local forage. Lighter, wide body plugs mimic shad. Long, slender jerk bait plugs imitate other bait fish and work very well over suspended grass beds. Other crank baits, and crawfish colors and are deadly when bounced along rocky bottoms.

Shoreline fishing for walleye

The jig and grub combo also works very well for anglers casting shorelines and flats when fishing for walleye in shallower water. The lure is cast out, allowed to sink, and worked slowly back to the boat using a series of hops. As in all artificial lure fishing, angler should vary relive retrieve and the lure until a productive pattern emerges.

Live bait can certainly be used in this application as well. A live nightcrawler fished under a float is a simple angling technique that is still very effective to this day. A live minnow can be deadly when fished this way as well. In deeper water, up to 10 feet, anglers often use a slip bobber. This allows for easier casting while presenting the bait at the ideal spot in the water column.

Fishing for walleye, a beginners guide; Ice fishing

ice fishing for walleye

Walleye can most certainly be caught through the ice! Ice fishing for walleye can be extremely productive and allows anglers without a boat to catch these fish in larger lakes. Most walleye are found between 10 feet deep and 25 feet deep in the winter. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. As with all fishing, anglers should keep moving until a school of fish is located.

Anglers ice fishing obviously must use a vertical presentation. Small artificial lures such as a jig, jigging spoon or specially designed jigging plug will all work well. However, it is tough to beat a live minnow when fishing for walleye through the ice. A live minnow hooked through the lips on a light jig head is an excellent combination and has put many walleye on ice over the years.

fishing for walleye, a beginners guide

Fishing for walleye in rivers

Walleye are found in rivers and streams throughout the Midwest and Canada. Many Lake systems have rivers that connect the lakes. Often times, these are overlooked walleye fishing spots. Many of the techniques that produce walleye in lakes will work in rivers as well. However, there are some differences to take into consideration.

river fishing for walleye

River conditions are very important when it comes to fishing for walleye and rivers as well as for other species. The best time to fish rivers is when the water is at normal stage or a little below, clear, with a light to moderate flow. River fishing is not only difficult, it is quite dangerous when the water is high, dirty, and fast.

One advantageous aspect of river fishing is that fish are easier to locate. There is less area to search for them than there is in large lakes. Also, river fish tend to stage and hold in the same types of locations no matter which River is being fished. Current is the primary factor and will dictate where the fish will be found.

River fishing advantages

Rivers offer walleye anglers other advantages as well. Fish in rivers tend not to be as affected by weather systems as do fish in lakes. Walleye in rivers also get less pressure than do those in lakes. This can result in a larger than average sized fish being landed in rivers.

Walleye will normally be found in the deeper parts of streams and small rivers. Deeper holes between the riffles, especially if larger rocks are present, are prime spots. Walleye do not like a lot of current and will not be found in a swift parts of the stream. Small rivers and large streams can produce some surprisingly large fish.

fishing for walleye, a beginners guide

Walleye will spread out more in larger rivers. However, anglers can still concentrate on the high percentage spots. Anything that causes a break in the current is a potential walleye holding spot. Bridges, rip rap, points, wing dams, jetties, large boulders, and anything that will break the current and create an eddy will be used by walleye as a feeding station.

River lures and baits

The same lures and baits that produce walleye in lakes will produce in rivers and streams as well. The jig and grub combination is an excellent choice to locate fish. Anglers will inevitably snag on the bottom and these lures are relatively inexpensive. Darker colors are normally more productive. Shallow diving plugs can be used as well.

Live bait will certainly produce for anglers fishing for walleye in rivers. A nightcrawler, minnow, or leech bounced on the bottom through a pool is a very productive technique. Anglers can also fish the same live baits under a float in the shallower portions as well. A live minnow hooked on a jig head is another effective bait.

Fishing for walleye, a beginners guide; Trolling

trolling for walleye

Trolling is a very effective technique for anglers fishing for walleye. This technique allows anglers to present multiple baits at multiple depths in the water column while covering a large amount of water in a relatively short amount of time. Trolling is basically the technique where lures or live baits are dragged behind a slowly moving boat. However, it is much more complex than that.

Trolling requires quite a bit of special equipment. Most anglers opt for conventional outfits when trolling. They are the best choice as these reels hold a lot of line, have smooth drags, and provide excellent power when cranking. Trolling rods are longer and quite limber as they must absorb a lot of energy from both the tackle being trolled and when a fish hits.

walleye fishing tips

Both artificial lures and live bait are used by anglers trolling for walleye. Plugs and spoons are the two most popular lures. They come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and shapes. Spoons and plugs wobble enticingly putting out flash and vibration. This closely mimics a wounded bait fish and is very effective for producing strikes. A live nightcrawler on a worm harness with a Colorado or twin willow blades is extremely effective as well. A slow presentation usually works best.

Walleye trolling tackle

The best all round walleye trolling rig consists of an 8′ to 10′ rod matched with a Daiwa Accudepth 47LC or 57 LC reel in spooled up with 17 pound test mono or 30-50 braided line. Reels with line counters are crucial to consistently present lines at the same depth. Once a productive pattern emerges, reels with line counters make it much easier to duplicate the presentation.

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Anglers use several methods to get the lures down in the water column. The easiest method, and one that does not require any extra gear such as downriggers, is to use diving plugs. Plugs come with a plastic lip at the front. The size and shape of the lip along with the plug itself in the diameter of the line will determine how deep the plug will dive. Trolling speed and line diameter will also affect the depth to some degree.

Plugs can be presented at specific depths

Plug manufacturers have specifications that will give anglers an idea of the depth that which a certain lure will run. These steps can often be a tad optimistic. However, it is a good starting point. Anglers can run several different lures at multiple depths using various colors to cover as much of the water column as possible. This technique works very well when trolling in water between 10 feet deep and 20 feet deep.

walleye lures

Inline weights can be used to get the plugs down deeper than they were designed to run. These weights can be tied inline but also come as “clip on” weights. These are convenient and allow anglers to quickly and easily adjust the depth. Lure manufactures often supply charts that will help determine the weight needed to get a particular lure to a certain depth. However, experience is the best teacher.

Walleye fishing with downriggers

Downriggers are a piece of equipment that troll lures use when fishing for walleye. They consist of a spool and a crank, a short arm, and a heavy downrigger ball. Line is let out and then attached to a downrigger clip. The ball is then lower to the desired depth. A counter on the downrigger let’s the angler know how deep the ball is. When a fish strikes, the line is pulled through the clip and the angler fights the fish using just the rod and reel.

trolling with downriggers

Downriggers are expensive and a bit cumbersome. However, they are an essential tool for serious anglers trolling deeper lakes for walleye. Anglers can add multiple clips on the downrigger line, resulting in the ability to run several lures at various depths. Anglers can run just about any lure or bait from a downrigger. Some of the best lures to use are Stinger Spoons, Husky Jerks with a small lip, and Reef Runners. Every geographical area has it’s “favorite” lures. Anglers can monitor online message boards and join clubs to get this information. Local tackle shops are a great source and will usually stock the productive plugs for that region.

Dipsy Divers

Dipsy Divers are a clever little device that anglers use to get their lures down in the water column. It works a bit like a deep diving plugs. It has multiple settings which the angler can use to adjust the depth that which the lure will run. Anglers can also “offset” the Dipsy, which will result in the lure running off to the side. Anglers can then cover a wider path of water by using multiple rigs. When a fish hits, a little clip pops and the angler fights the fish without the drag of the Dipsy Diver.

trolling for walleye

The Dipsy Diver is tied directly to the running line of the rod. A 6 to 12 foot long fluorocarbon leader of 15-20 pound test is attached to the diver. The lure is attached to the other end of the leader. The best lures and baits to use when trolling with this rig are worm harnesses, spoons, and small lipped plugs. It is important not to use a plug with a large lip as it will “trip” the Dipsy Diver. Most anglers opt for braided line when using Dipsy Divers. It reduced the drag in the water while eliminating line stretch when trolling deep with a lot of line out.

Planer boards

Planer boards are used to take lines off to the side of the boat. They work a little bit like Dipsy’s except that instead of going down in the water column they ride on the surface of the water. They generally run about 45° off of the side of the boat. The more line that is let out, the further off to the side the planer board will run.

trolling with planer boards

The boards attach using little clips to the running line. Anglers let the lure out the desired distance behind the boat, then attached the planer board. The planer board is slowly played out off to the side as line is released from the reel. Once the planer board is the desired distance from the boat, the rod is put into a rod holder. These in-line planer boards allow anglers to run multiple rods with different lure combinations on each side of the boat.

Anglers fishing for walleye can run 3 to 4 planer boards on each side of the boat. The best spread has the outside lines being the furthest back and shallowest. Then, each line moving towards the boat is deeper and closer to the boat. This will allow anglers to work the fish up the middle, above the lines. If the fish dives, the lines may tangles, there is just not a lot that can be done about that.

Planer board trolling strategies

When a fish hits, the angler removes the rod from the holder and works the fish up the middle behind the boat. When the planer board nears the rod tip, the angler stops reeling while his or her partner un-clip the planer board. It is critical to keep steady tension on the fish while removing the planer board. Even the slightest bit of slack can result in a lost walleye. This is a bit of a procedure, but once mastered is relatively easy. It is also an incredibly effective technique.

fishing for walleye, a beginners guide

A single planer board can also be used. The planer board is put out the desired distance and then secured. Then, a line is put out. As with the clip on planer boards, the shallowest, furthest line goes first. Once the line is out, the rod is placed in a holder. The line is placed in a released clip and the clip is put on a ring. The ring slides down the planer board line. When a fish hits, it pulls the line from the clip. Multiple lines can be used on each side of the boat.

Speed is crucial when it comes to trolling for walleye. Every day is different and anglers must experiment to see what lure and speed combination will produce that day. However, most walleye anglers find that 1.5 to 2.3 miles an hour is the most productive speed to use.

Top US walleye fishing spots

Lake Erie

Lake Erie may be the best walleye fishery in North America at this time. It offers anglers both good action on smaller fish as well as an excellent trophy fishery. The action starts with anglers jigging the reefs in March and April, after the water clears advice. As it moves into summer, angler switch tactics and cast to the shallow shoreline structure as well as trolling and drifting the open water spots.

Water temperature and forage availability are keys to fishing Lake Erie. The schools of walleye will move east along with the abundant forage such as smelt. As it warms up into the middle of summer, successful anglers switch from crank baits to live bait such as nightcrawlers on a harness. It is important to cover the entire water column, as walleye will often be found at mid depths, especially if there is a little breeze.

Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods did not earn its nickname “The walleye capital of the world”without merit. This lake that borders the United States and Canada in northern Minnesota has over 1 million acres of water that offers excellent angling for walleye all year long. As with the other best walleye fishing lakes, Lake of the Woods offers both numbers and trophies.

Anglers divide Lake of the Woods into three sections. The rainy river feeds Lake of the Woods. Big Traverse Bay is basically 25 miles long and 25 miles wide. The Northwest angle is home to over 15,000 islands. All three sections offer excellent angling at one time of the year or another.

Anglers successfully target post spawn walleye and the spring at the mouth of the rainy River. Structure in this area is very productive, with jigs, crank baits, and live bait all produce. As it warms up, walleye will gradually move out to the main lake areas. Walleye are generally found on brakes and structure in 15 to 20 feet of water in late spring and early summer. Drifting or slow trolling with a crawler harnesses tough to beat.

Traditional summer patterns produce for anglers fishing for walleye in the warmer months in the open water sections. Trolling crank baits on downriggers and using heavy bottom bouncers with live bait are the two most productive methods. As it begins to cool off, the pattern will reverse itself and fish will move shallow once again. Ice fishing is very popular and very productive on Lake of the Woods.

Saginaw Bay, Michigan

Saginaw Bay is a fisheries management success story. While I were virtually extinct in the 1970s. However, due to the incredible efforts of fishing and sportsmen’s organizations along with the Michigan DNR, the population has rebounded. Saginaw Bay now offers anglers excellent walleye fishing all year long.

While I move into this area in the winter from the main lake. This results in excellent ice fishing for walleye as well as casting the shallow structure and early spring after ice out. Anglers casting jigs, plugs, and line spinners, and live bait should experience success. It is important to keep moving until the fish are located.

Just as in most walleye fisheries, as it warms up the fish head out to the deep waters of Lake Huron. Local walleye experts have found that there are two large concentrations of fish. One school of fish moves towards the tip of the “thumb”. The other concentration of fish normally migrates up the west side of Lake Huron to Thunder Bay. Trolling is a great way to locate these fish as a are constantly on the move.

Lake Winnebago chain

This is a large system in the state of Wisconsin that offers anglers super walleye fishing all year long. It includes four lakes; Winnebago, Butte des Morts, Poygan, and Winneconne as well as the Fox River and Wolf River.

Spring is the prime time for anglers fishing for walleye in the Lake Winnebago chain. These lakes and rivers are shallow and weedy, offering anglers the chance to cast lures in relatively shallow water. The rivers offer excellent fishing as well as spawning fish migrate up into them. Casting works well in the shallow, rocky sections while trolling is productive in the deeper stretches.

Traditional walleye summer patterns produce in the warmer months. Anglers trolling open waters do well with deep diving crank baits as well as nightcrawlers and leeches on harnesses. Shoreline weed beds will also produce fish for patient anglers willing to work a jig through the cover.

Green Bay, Wisconsin

While Lake Michigan offers excellent fishing for walleye south of Bays de Noc. Green Bay in Wisconsin is especially good, particularly for larger fish. Good numbers of average sized fish are available as well.

Starting in spring, anglers target spawning walleye on the shallow reefs as well as tributaries such as the Fox River and the Menominee River. April is usually the prime month to target spawning fish. Trolling flats in 15 feet of water to 20 feet of water is productive in May and into June. In the heat of the summer, fish are found in the deeper water. Anglers who prefer to cast will do well working points, channel edges, reefs, and drop-offs in 15 feet to 20 feet of water using jigs.

Upper Mississippi River, Minnesota/Wisconsin/Iowa

The upper Mississippi from its headwaters south into Wisconsin and Iowa is an excellent all around walleye fishery. This is an excellent option for anglers looking for numbers of fish and who enjoy casting. Most of the fishing, and catching, is done in fairly shallow water.

This is classic River fishing. The best time to fish is during periods of average flow when the water is clear. Any type of structure such as a wing dam, Boulder, bridge, drop off, and fallen timber will hold fish as a weight and ambush. Spinners, jigs, and shallow diving plugs are all excellent artificial lures. Live bait can be drifted through the pools and riffles under a bobber as well. Tail waters of dams are prime spots, especially when water is flowing through.

Leech Lake

Leech Lake in Minnesota is another good lake for anglers fishing for walleye. It offers anglers both action as well is a chance for trophy fish. Leech Lake is a beautiful lake with a lot of unspoiled, natural shoreline in a variety of habitat which supports a good walleye population. It is located within the Chippewa national Forest in the unspoiled scenery is part of the attraction of fishing Leech Lake. All of the standard walleye fishing techniques and seasonal patterns apply here as well.

Detroit River and Lake St. Clair

Despite its urban location and proximity to a large population base, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River offer anglers fantastic walleye fishing, particularly in the spring. Good numbers of walleye move out of the south end of Lake St. Clair and out of the north west corner of Lake Erie and into the Detroit River just after ice out. Fishing remains very good until mid May when the fish move back out into the open waters of Lake St. Clair.

There are couple aspects that make the Detroit River unique. One thing is the numbers of large fish that move into the river and spring. Anglers have a chance to catch 10 pound fish on every outing. Also, most of the fish are caught by anglers jigging using fairly light tackle as opposed to trolling. This really adds to the enjoyment of the catch!

Anglers do well in the Detroit River drifting and trolling. A jig and grub combination or a jig head with a live minnow bounced along the bottom with the current is tough to beat. The same goes for a nightcrawler on a harness. Trolling with crank baits is also productive. Fishing can be tough in Lake St. Clair in the middle of summer, with early-morning, evening, and night being the best times to fish.

Devils Lake, North Dakota

While Devils Lake in North Dakota is famous for its giant yellow perch, it also has an excellent population of walleye. Anglers casting jigs tipped with minnows are leeches around structure such as bridge pilings, rocky shorelines, sunken islands, weed beds, and fallen trees will do well on above average sized fish. In summer, trolling produces around the deeper structure.

Lake McConaughy, Nebraska

Lake McConaughy in Nebraska is a large lake, having over 35,000 acres of surface water to fish. While holding good numbers of average sized fish, it is noted for being a trophy fishery. It produced the state record 16 lbs. 2 oz. Fish.

Spring is a prime time to fish and the spawning run at the dam draws a big crowd every year. After the spawning run is over, the fish scatter out into the lake They will be the dispersed over a large area and trolling is the most efficient way to locate them. Anglers do well with banana shaped crank baits which hang up less in the abundant submerged structure. In fall, anglers do well vertically jigging underwater humps and ledges and 40 to 60 feet of water.

Lake Oahe, South Dakota/North Dakota

Lake Oahe in North Dakota offers good walleye fishing all year long, with an emphasis on fish between 15 and 20 inches long. Walleye can be caught suspended above the flooded timber using spinner baits, jigs, and diving plugs.

In conclusion, this article on Walleye Fishing, a Beginners Guide will help anglers catch more of these very popular fish!

 

 

Fishing Franklin North Carolina

Fishing Franklin North Carolina

Anglers fishing Franklin North Carolina can experience some of the best trout and smallmouth bass action on the East Coast!

The Little Tennessee River flows through the heart of Franklin, North Carolina. There is a dam on the Little Tennessee River that creates Lake Emory right in the center of Franklin. The river then flows north to eventually enter Lake Fontana. This stretch of the Little Tennessee River between Franklin and Lake Fontana offers anglers some fantastic smallmouth bass action! Trout, white bass, rock bass, catfish, panfish, and even musky are also available. Several other rivers and lakes lie within an hour of Franklin and provide outstanding angling opportunities as well.

fishing franklin North Carolina

Franklin is a small town located in the mountains in the western part of North Carolina. It sits at an elevation of about 2000 feet above sea level. There are several rivers and lakes that are within an hours drive of Franklin. These bodies of water offer anglers a wide variety of fishing opportunities.

Trout and smallmouth bass fishing Franklin North Carolina

Smallmouth bass and trout are without a doubt the most popular fish species for anglers fishing Franklin North Carolina. Both trout and smallmouth bass flourish best in cold, clear water. The lakes, rivers, and streams of Western North Carolina provide this habitat perfectly.

Virginia river fishing tips

Rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout are stocked heavily in Franklin area lakes, rivers, and streams. Often times, trout and smallmouth bass can be found in the same waters. However, there are some differences in habits, seasons, and angling tactics. Therefore, smallmouth bass and trout will be covered separately.

Fishing Franklin North Carolina rivers

Many anglers visiting the Franklin North Carolina area are targeting freshwater trout. There are several rivers which offer anglers outstanding opportunities to catch rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. Perhaps the best well-known of these is the Tuckasegee River. It is only a 20 minute drive from Franklin. The Nantahala River is a world-class trout fishery as well and is located an hour west of Franklin, North Carolina.

trout fishing in Franklin

The Cullasaja River is a very technical trout stream that flows from Highlands, North Carolina and eventually empties into the Little Tennessee River. This is a very picturesque stream, though not easy to fish. Although the stream is stocked, there are many wild fish in there as well. This is part of the attraction. The Cullasaja is in a bit of a ravine and anglers need to take care when climbing down and waiting as water levels can rise rapidly.

Both the Little Tennessee River and Tuckaseggee River offer anglers excellent smallmouth bass fishing. Both rivers empty into Fontana Lake. Anglers will find more variety in the areas where the rivers enter the lake. Spotted bass, white bass, walleye, catfish, panfish, and even musky are available.

Franklin smallmouth bass

 

River trout fishing in Franklin North Carolina

There can be no doubt that trout is king in Western North Carolina! Anglers flock to the area from large southern cities such as Charlotte and Atlanta. In fact, anglers from the entire East Coast come to the famed Tuckasegee and Nantahala Rivers to try to catch trout on a fly. Both of these rivers are heavily stocked and offer anglers a Western-style trout fishing experience.

There are several designations of trout waters in this area. These are hatchery supported waters, delayed harvest waters, catch and release/artificial lures only waters, and wild trout waters. It can be a bit confusing as all three have different rules and regulations. However, most trout rivers and streams are well marked making it easy for anglers to comply with local laws.

Hatchery supported waters in Franklin North Carolina

This is the simplest and easiest of the designations. Anglers can keep seven trout of any size for the entire year with the exception of from March first until the first Saturday in April, when the season is closed. Check regulations as every year is different. Anglers may use live bait, artificial lures with treble hooks, and of course flies. These fish are for the most part put in these waters to be taken by anglers.

rainbow trout fishing in Franklin

Hatchery supported waters are designated by XXXX signs along the stream bank. It is important for anglers to understand that if they keep fish and these hatchery supported waters, they can’t then fish closed waters while having fish in their possession. There is no way for law enforcement to know where those fish were actually caught.

Delayed Harvest trout waters

Delayed harvest trout waters are exactly as the name implies; fish are stocked but anglers are not allowed to harvest the fish right away. This results in some fantastic catch and release angling in the stretches of river. Keeping fish is prohibited from Oct 1 to the first Saturday in the following June. The season opens on the first Saturday in June. At this point, fish are allowed to be kept.

fly fishing in Franklin NC

The best actual fishing is in these delayed harvest trout waters. There is a famous stretch on the Tuckasegee River from Cullowhee to Silva. This 7 mile stretch is heavily stocked with fish of all sizes, including some large ones. Most of the fish are rainbow trout. However, brown trout and brook trout can be caught as well. The number of fish per mile and this stretch of river is as high as anywhere in the United States.

Single hook flies and lures only in the delayed harvest waters

Anglers fishing the delayed harvest sections of Franklin area rivers and streams must use flies or single hook artificial lures. Spinners, spoons, and plugs must have a single hook; no treble hooks are allowed. Live bait and prepared bait is prohibited.

There is another delayed harvest stretch of water right inside downtown Bryson city. The fishing can be terrific here as once again the fish density is very high. The river is also very accessible as it flows right through the city. Both of these stretches of delayed harvest water on the Tuckasegee get a lot of fishing pressure, particularly in the spring before the season opens up.

Franklin North Carolina brown trout

The Nantahala River has a delayed harvest stretch as well. This runs from Whireoak Creek to the power plant discharge. The river is well marked with signs so anglers can differentiate the delayed harvest waters from the hatchery supported waters.

Wild trout waters in Franklin

Wild trout waters are once again pretty self-explanatory. These are streams where wild trout breed on their own. These waters are not stocked. Because of this, these waters are heavily regulated. For the most part, this designation is given to small mountain streams with populations of wild brook trout. This is especially true in the Smoky Mountains national Park. 4 fish can be kept with a 7″ minimum size limit.

Catch and release/artificial lures only waters

Catch and release/artificial lures only waters are again self explanatory. Anglers may use single hook lures and flies. No trout can be kept. The only two waters near Franklin with this designation are Flat Creek and the Tuckasegee River above the Clark property.

Trout fishing techniques in Franklin

Anglers spin fishing for trout and Franklin use several different techniques. Live baits work well, with worms and nightcrawlers being the top choice. There are many prepare baits which work well for trout and are very convenient. Anglers casting artificial lures do very well with small spinners, spoons, and plugs. Again, anglers need to be mindful of current regulations.

fli fishing Franklin North Carolina

Light spinning tackle is the best option when trout fishing in Franklin area rivers, creeks, and lakes. A six-foot ultralight spinning rod with matching reel and 4 pound monofilament line is a good all-around combo. Serious trout anglers will drop the line down to to pound test, especially when the water is clear. A very light rod and soft touch are needed to land a nice fish with this tackle.

Live and prepared bait for trout fishing

Anglers using live and natural bait do well with worms, nightcrawlers, and commercially prepared baits. These commercially prepared baits can be eggs as well as dough or putty type baits. These come in a myriad of colors and scents. Anglers will do best to experiment with different baits until they find one that is productive on that outing.

Most anglers fish both live and prepared baits using a small hook under a float. A #8 hook is a good all-around size. A small split shot can be used a foot or so above the hook if current is present. Anglers should use the smallest float possible.

Top artificial lures for trout fishing

The top artificial lure for anglers trout fishing is the small in-line spinner. Every angler has his or her favorite, with rooster tails, Mepps, and Blue Fox spinners being the most popular. These spinners come in a variety of sizes and colors. Anglers should experiment with blade and body colors until a productive pattern emerges. 1/16 ounce spinners are a good all-around size.

Spinners are excellent lures to use for trout fishing for several reasons. They catch fish of all sizes, both small fish and large. Spinners are very easy to use is angler simply cast them out, allow them to sink for a moment, then reel them in using a slow, steady retrieve. Finally, spinners allow anglers to cover a lot of water in search of fish.

Other productive artificial lures include small spoons and plugs. Spoons are a good choice in open water and lakes. They cast a long way and anglers can cover a lot of water in a short amount of time. Plugs are a very effective artificial lure for catching trout, especially larger specimens. Anglers trout fishing with plugs usually will catch as many fish, but they are generally larger.

River and stream fishing in Franklin

Anglers spin fishing for trout will do well working the riffles at the heads and tails of polls. Deeper seams in the rapids are good places to drift a bait or lure. In the warmer months, trout will often seek the deeper water in the pools themselves. Reading trout water in understanding where fish hold depending on current conditions is a skill that can only come with experience.

Franklin trout fishing

Each of the Franklin area trout rivers and streams has a personality of its own. The Tuckasegee is a large river and fishes more like a Western trout stream. In most cases, the best approach is to float it. The Nantahala River is a very good choice for novice anglers as it is easily waded and fished in the non-tail water section of the river. The Cullasaja River is very technical and best suited to experienced anglers who are physically active.

Fly fishing for trout near Franklin North Carolina

Many books have been written on the subject of fly fishing for trout. We are not going to try to cover that here. What we will do is supply some excellent links to fishing reports, fly selection, and other good resources. Local fly shops are the best places to go for current information on fly hatches and river conditions.

Tuckaseegee Fly shop is the closest shop to Franklin, North Carolina. It is a 30 minute drive and is right on the Delayed Harvest waters of the Tuckasegee River.

River smallmouth bass fishing Franklin North Carolina

Smallmouth bass rank only behind the beloved trout for anglers fishing and Franklin. The little Tennessee River is renowned as one of the best smallmouth bass streams in the eastern United States. It is best known for having good numbers of fish, though there are certainly quality fish mixed in as well. The Tuckasegee River from Bryson city to Fontana Lake has a less fish in terms of numbers, but the average size will be larger. All of the area lakes have populations of smallmouth bass as well.

smallmouth bass fishing for beginners

Smallmouth bass are much less fussy than are trout, and this is a good thing! Fishing for smallmouth bass is also an excellent option in the heat of summer when trout fishing really slows. Anglers can wait or float the little Tennessee or Tuckasegee River or fish one of the several area lakes that hold smallmouth bass.

Smallmouth bass tackle is pretty basic. Anglers will do well with a 6 foot to 6 1/2 foot light spinning rod and matching real spooled up with 6 pound or 4 pound monofilament line. In the spring time when the river levels are up, anglers can get away with a bit heavier tackle. However, by late summer the water is low in clear and light tackle works best. Fly anglers will do well with a 5wt or 6wt with an intermediate sink tip line.

Best lures for smallmouth bass fishing in Franklin

While live bait certainly catches smallmouth bass, most anglers opt for using artificial lures when targeting these fish. Lures allow anglers to cover a lot of water fairly quickly. Also, smallmouth bass tend to be aggressive in nature and artificial lures will often times draw a strike. Finally, lures are just a lot of fun to fish!

The top artificial lures used when fishing for smallmouth bass are soft plastic baits, spinners and spinner baits, and hard bodied plugs. Each has their advantages and disadvantages but all of them catch fish.

 

Soft plastic baits are very effective for just about every fish that swims and smallmouth bass are no exception. A 4 inch watermelon Senko worms is deadly on smallmouth bass in both rivers and lakes. A 2 inch tube or grub body in a crawfish color fished on a 1/8 ounce or 1/16 ounce jig head is very productive as well. The one downside to fishing jigs in the rivers is that anglers will experience a fair amount of snags on the rocky bottom.

Plugs are very effective smallmouth bass baits

Plugs are an extremely effective smallmouth bass lure. The # 8 Rapala X-Rap in white or olive is a great all round bait. Anglers seeking larger fish and lakes can bump up the size to a #10. The lure is cast out and retrieved back using hard twitches with a pause in between. These plugs will generally dive a couple feet down which makes them a great choice in the deeper pools of rivers.

Many River smallmouth anglers swear by the rebel Wee Craw. This is a time proven smallmouth bass lure. It closely imitates a crayfish which is one of the smallmouth bass’s favorite meals. It also tends to bounce off rocks though anglers will occasionally hang up on the bottom.

Spinners and spinner baits are also very effective smallmouth bass lures. They are also quite easy to fish is angler simply cast them out and reel them back and steadily. Spinner baits in particular are fairly snag free. A 1/8 ounce spinner bait with a curly tail grub body and chartreuse, white, or root beer is a good choice. 1/8 ounce in-line spinners in a variety of color patterns will produce bass as well.

Fishing the Little Tennessee River

As mentioned earlier, the little Tennessee River flows right through the heart of Franklin, North Carolina. Anglers fishing the little Tennessee River have multiple options. The river flowing from the south to Lake Emory is small and is best navigated with the canoe or kayak. It offers anglers the opportunity to catch smallmouth bass, panfish, and catfish.

A dam in Franklin creates Lake Emory. This lake is a couple miles long and not very wide. It has good shoreline cover with many downed trees and other fish holding structure. Smallmouth bass are the primary target, though largemouth bass, catfish, carp, and sunfish can also be taken there. A very nice boat ramp makes for easy access. There are also several spots to launch canoes and kayaks.

Most serious anglers target the section of the little Tennessee River that flows north from Lake Emory to Lake Fontana. This is classic smallmouth bass water! Rainbow and brown trout are available as well, especially downriver from Tellico Creek. There are many nice ripples and runs with slower, deep sections and pools in between. Anglers can access the river by waiting as well as floating with canoes, kayaks, and rafts. The river is to shallow and rocky for any motorized vessel. The best fishing is in the warmer months, from late April to early November.

Fishing the Little Tennessee River from Lake Emory to Tellico Road

The little Tennessee River can be broken into two sections as it flows out of Lake Emory. The first section, from the dam to Tellico Road, is best floated. There are several access points were anglers can put in and take out their crafts, making it easy to set up a nice float. This section is deeper, which makes it better for float fishing and not as good for wading.

Anglers can access the river at several locations. The first spot is right in the tail water of the dam itself. There is public parking and a path that goes down to the river. Several miles downriver is the route 28 bridge. There is a park at this bridge with a nice deep pool. Also, great Smoky Mountains fish camp and safaris is located just downstream from the bridge. Anglers can rent canoes and kayaks as well as purchase fishing tackle at this location.

There is another public access a mile or so north along route 28. There is a pull off with plenty of parking and a produce stand. Anglers should park as far to the south as possible so they do not interfere with the produce stand business. The bank is a little steeper here and it is not as easy to launch as it is at the route 28 bridge.

More Little Tennessee River public access points

The next public access is Rose Creek bridge. This is a bit of a ways from the route 28 bridge. The bank is a little steep as well with rocks. This stretch of the little Tennessee River has a lot of private land. The owner of great Smoky Mountain fish camp and safaris does own several pieces of property in this area. He can arrange for anglers to be picked up and shuttled back to their vehicles. This is very convenient!

Several miles downriver from the Rose Creek bridge is queen branch Park. This is a nice spot for anglers to put in and take out. It has plenty of parking. However, it is a short distance from parking to the river, so anglers will have to haul their gear. The path is fine in the grade is not steep.

Fishing the Little Tennessee River from Needmore Road to Lake Fontana

The little Tennessee River changes in character right around the Tellico Road bridge. It widens out and gets shallow. This makes for excellent waiting but can be difficult for anglers to float, especially when water levels are low. Needmore Road and upper Needmore Road parallel the little Tennessee River for several miles. There are numerous pullouts and access points for anglers to wade as well as put in small canoes and kayaks.

There are 4 parks developed by the government for accessing the river. These are Rattlesnake Creek, Brush Creek, Wiggins Creek, and Sawmill Creek. Here is a good map of the access points on the Little Tennessee River. It does state that the 28 bridge is private, it is open to the public.

Eventually, the little Tennessee River empties into Lake Fontana. There are a couple boat ramps near this point were anglers can put in larger boats such as bass boats. They can then enter the mouth of the river and worked their way a few miles upstream before it gets too rocky. This can be an excellent place to find schooling white bass and other species, particularly in the fall.

Fishing the Tuckasegee River

The Tuckasegee River, or the “Tuck” as it is known locally, is one of the top trout streams on the entire East Coast. It is heavily stocked, with the delayed harvest section of the river from Webster to Silva having as many trout per mile as any River in the United States. Anglers flock to this stretch to experience some world-class trout fishing!

The Tuckasegee River begins its life and the North Carolina mountains. It is dammed a couple of times forming lakes Glenville, Cedar Cliff, and Bear Creek. The two forks join and it then flows in a north and westerly direction, running through the towns of Tuckasegee, Webster, Silva, and Bryson city before emptying into Lake Fontana. The entire section is stocked with rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. The lower section of the river from Bryson city to Lake Fontana offers anglers the chance to catch a trophy smallmouth bass as well.

Public access on the Tuckasegee River is excellent!

There are excellent access points for anglers fishing the Tuckasegee River. Numerous parks were created with surfaced ramp’s, offering anglers with canoes, kayaks and drift boats access to the tuck a CG River. Quite a few guides and outfitters use these access points and offered drift boat trips to anglers. This has a feel that is very similar to fishing the famous Western rivers in Montana and Idaho. Anglers can see a nice MAP of the river access points.

Anglers can certainly wade the Tuckasegee River as well. Route 107 parallels many miles of the river. From color we to Silva, several roads run parallel to the river with countless pullouts offering wading anglers stream access. State Road 74 parallels the tuck a CG River to Bryson city where Route 19 takes over. All in all, access to the tuck he CG River is fantastic!

The Tuck can be a dangerous river to wade! Anglers need to take care and monitor the dam releases in stream conditions. Here is a link to scheduled flow releases. Anglers wading the Tuckasegee River from Webster to Lake Fontana are advised to wear a life preserver.

Fishing the Nantahala River

The Nantahala River flows from south to north and lies an hour or so west of Franklin, North Carolina. It is a gorgeous stream that flows through a steep ravine. There are really three sections to this River. The southern section which flows into Lake Nantahala offers excellent trout fishing. However, most of this section of the river is private with very little access.

The section of the river downstream from Lake Nantahala and flowing north into Lake Fontana is broken down into two sections. For the first 6 miles from the dam, the stream only receives water from a few tributaries. This area is well-stocked with the delayed harvest section. It offers anglers some outstanding fly fishing opportunities as well is for the angler spin fishing. Wading is normally easy with great scenery.

The Nantahala tailwater fishery

About 6 miles or so downstream from the dam, a pipe at the pumping station discharges water from Lake Nantahala into the river. This is what creates the very fast flowing section of the river. Tubers and white water canoeists and kayakers enjoy this section of the river. Anglers can experience some excellent fishing in the section of the river. It is highly recommended to go with a licensed outfitter and drift the river in a raft. Wading this section of the river when water is running can be very dangerous!

Access to the Nantahala below the dam is excellent. Several roads including Junaluska Road, Old River Road, and Wayah Road parallel the non-Taylor River for many miles. There are countless pull offs and areas to part for anglers to access the river. Keep in mind that this River does get a lot of fishing pressure, particularly on the weekends. Though it is a remote setting, anglers will not have this River to themselves.

Fishing the Cullasaja River

The Cullasaja River is really more of a stream that a river. A dam in Highlands, North Carolina creates Lake Sequoyah. From there, the river flows through the ravines in the mountains, eventually emptying into the little Tennessee River. US Highway 64 parallels the river offering anglers good access. It is a beautiful stream offering anglers the chance to catch a native brook and rainbow trout. The color Ceja is conveniently located to anglers staying in either Franklin or Highlands North Carolina.

The stretch of the color sage a river that is most productive for trout fishing is from Goldmine Road to drive falls. As mentioned earlier, this is a very technical trout stream. It is probably not the best choice for novice fly anglers. Some climbing is required in the rocks can be slippery, so anglers should take care. Also, flash flooding can occur in while the river is small it can gain in velocity and volume quickly so anglers should take care when wading.

Other smaller creeks in Franklin North Carolina

There are smaller streams which are either stocked or have decent populations of wild trout. These include Burningtown Creek, Cartoogechaye Creek, Chatooga River, Jarrett Creek, Kimsey Creek, Overflow Creek, Park Creek, Tellico Creek, and Turtle Pond Creek in Macon County. Jackson County strams include Flat Creek, Cullowhee Creek, Dark Ridge Creek, Greens Creek, Savannah Creek, Scott Creek, and Tanasee Creek.

Franklin North Carolina area lakes

While the stream and river fishing for trout and smallmouth bass gets the majority of fishing attention, there are a half-dozen lakes within an hour of Franklin that offer anglers some excellent fishing as well. These include Glenville Lake, Cedar Cliff Lake, great Bear Lake, Lake Fontana, Lake Nantahala, and Lake Chatuge.

Franklin North Carolina area lakes

Most of these are your classic mountain lakes with steep shorelines in clear water. Smallmouth bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass, white bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, and while I are the top species available. Lakes are listed by their distance from Franklin.

Fishing Glenville Lake

Glenville Lake is the closest Lake to Franklin. It is about a 40 minute drive to the east. This is a beautiful lake and is at the highest elevation of any Lake east of the Mississippi River. It has 26 miles of shoreline. Surprisingly, Glenville Lake offers anglers a chance to catch decent size largemouth bass. This is a bit unusual for a mountain Lake. Smallmouth bass, walleye, and trout are also present in decent numbers.

Glenville like does get a lot of recreational traffic in the summer time. Anglers will do best fishing on weekdays and early and late in the day is best. Spring and fall are excellent times to fish as the water is cooler and the crowds are not present. There are several nice boat ramps offering good access to Lake Glenville.

There are two excellent surfaced ramps on the north end of the lake. These are located at 1371 Pine Creek Road and a mile away at 2799 Pine Creek Road. Anglers can read more about it on the North Carolina Wildlife website.

Fishing Cedar Cliff Lake

Cedar Cliff Lakes is a smaller, lower lake that is formed by a dam on the east fork of the Tuckasegee River. It is 120 acres and 4 ½ miles long. It is not stcked but offers good fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, and panfish.

Cedar Cliff Lake is a bit more remote and does not get the fishing pressure that Glenville does. There is an excellent surfaced ramp at 3072 state road 1132, Tuckasegge, NC

Fishing Bear Creek Lake

Bear Creek Lake is a bit larger than Cedar Cliff lake at 475 acres and a little over 13 miles of shoreline. Smallmouth bass and trout are the primary attractions for anglers. However, largemouth bass, crappie, and panfish are also available. It is stocked by the state.

The water does not drop off as steeply in Bear Creek Lake as it does on some other mountain lakes. This results in a nice “zone between 10 feet deep and 30 feet deep along the shore. Jerkbaits produce some nice smallmouth bass as well as largemouth. The boat ramp is at the end of state road 1137 off of 281.

Fishing Fontana Lake

Fontana Lake is huge! It is the 4th deepest lake in the US, and the deepest lake east of the Rocky Mountains. Fontana Lake is 31 miles long. It has 210 miles of shoreline and the average depth of the lake is over 100 feet deep. It is an easy 45 minute drive from Franklin on good, two lane highways. Bryson City is a short drive away.

The fishing on Fontana Lake can be very good. The list of available species is long and includes largemouth Bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, muskie, spotted Bass, rainbow and brown trout, catfish, and panfish. Fallen trees and sloping rocky points are great fish-holding structure.

Spring rains cause water level in the lake to rise. This triggers a spawning run up into the tributay rivers. Steelhead move upstream in April through May and offer some great afternoon into late evening fly fishing on the mouths of the Tuckasegee and Little Tennessee Rivers.

Summer will find bass on the main lake points and channels. Early and late in the day is best. Anglers will find schooling fish on the surface at times. This is especially true in late summer and early fall as water levels drop. Fish will move from the rivers into the main lake.

There are several public boat ramps on Fontana Lake. Most anglers leaving Frankin use the Lemmons Branch boat ramp.

Fishing Lake Nantahala

Lake Nantahala is a deep, clear mountain lake. The scenery is spectacular! This 1600 acre lake is about an hour west of Franklin. It is off of Wayah Road, which is truly a mountain road! The lake supports a variety of game fish, with trout and smallmouth bass being the most popular species.

Lake Nantahala used to support a landlocked kokanee salmon population. However, that fishery seems to have collapsed the last few years. The shoreline drops off sharply into deep water. Anglers work rocky points and shoreline cover. This is not an easy lake to fish, but the scenery and solitude alone make it worth the trip.

There are two public boat ramps on Lake Nantahala. Most anglers basing out of Franklin use the Rocky Branch access.

Fishing Chatuge Lake

Lake Chatuge is 45 minutes southwest of Franklin on a nice two lane highway. It straddles the North Carolina Georgia border. It is a large lake and has a “southern” feel. Lake Chatuge is around 7,000 acres with 130 miles of shoreline.

While Lake Chatuge is home to over thirty species of fish, bass are the main quarry of anglers. Largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, striped, and hybrid bass are available to anglers. The water is fairly deep without a ton of structure. Boat docks are prime spots, as are underwater points and channel edges. The most convenient boat ramp is at Ledford Chapel Road. Turn south on Ledford Chapel Road from 64, it is a mile or so to the ramp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minnesota walleye and pike fishing

Minnesota walleye and pike fishing

The subject of this article is Minnesota walleye and pike fishing. Walleye are arguably the most popular freshwater fish in our northern states, and Minnesota is no exception.

walleye fishing tips

Minnesota may offer anglers the best walleye fishing in the country. Lakes and river systems with prime walleye habitat abound. Anglers target, and catch, walleye all year long, including through the ice in winter. Multiple techniques are used by anglers to catch walleye. While walleye put up a decent tussle, they are prized for their value on a dinner plate. Walleye have white, flaky fillets that are fabulous eating!

Minnesota walleye and pike fishing expert Brenda

Brenda Chesshir is our Fishing Ladies Minnesota walleye fishing expert. She grew up in St Paul, MN and her outdoor background stems from her parents passion with fishing since she was knee high.

“I was fortunate enough to have a family cabin for 35 years in McGregor, MN on lake Minnewawa. This was a multi-species lake so bass, pike and eyes were my target. I became addicted to walleyes and the challenge of learning different techniques based on the time of year, learning locations, best structure; Minnewawa was a weed walleye lake – shallow, weedy, and full of cabbage. Over the years I have been fortunate to fish alongside some professional fisherman and be mentored by some old-timers.

walleye fishing for beginners

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As I became more addicted to walleyes, I started to upgrade from my small 16.5 foot Northwood’s with 25 horse to a 17.5 foot Lund Pro V with 115 horse and of course at that point, I added a Humminbird Helix 7 and a MinnKota Terrova trolling motor; Spot Lock is a life saver for me, as I am able to mark and get on fish…goodbye anchor!! I get out on the water as often as possible and is highly skilled at catching walleye.”

Minnesota walleye fishing techniques

Walleye can be taken by several different methods. Anglers can cast, drift, troll, and even fish through the ice. Live bait and artificial lures are both very productive. Leeches, minnows, and nightcrawlers are the top live baits. Jigs, spoons, soft plastic baits, and crank baits are the top producing artificial lures. Walleye are generally found near the bottom. However, they will rise up in the water column to feed on overcast days, dusk, dawn, and at night.

trolling for walleye

Minnesota walleye fishing with live bait

Brenda suggests to novice anglers that are just getting into walleye fishing to drift or slow troll with live bait. A live crawler, leech, or minnow on a Lindy Rig or other bottom bouncing rig is the best way for a novice angler to catch walleye. Walleye feed on the bottom, baits need to be in that zone in order to draw a strike.

This system consists of a special sinker that “walks” along the bottom. The line runs through the sinker. A swivel stops the weight. Then, a 6 pound test flourocarbon leader of 3′ to 6′ is then tied on the swivel. A #4 to #8 Gamakatsu hook completes the rig. The baits are hooked in the front so that they swim naturally.

Minnesota walleye and pike fishing

Drifting and slow trolling is effective on walleye

Anglers then drift or very slowly troll over likely areas. Ledges, rock piles, points, and wrecks will all hold walleye. On days with a little breeze, drifting will work quite well. On calm days, anglers will need to provide the movement by trolling very slowly. If a drift or troll does not produce fish, anglers should try another spot. Once fish are located, that area should be worked slowly and thoroughly.

“I find that slow death rigs with Mack’s Smile Blades are very effective. Simply thread a night crawler on the hook and pinch off, it spins slowly along. As summer heats up the fish go deep into32-36 feet of water. This is where trolling with lead-core comes into action and the “Precision Trolling, The Trollers Bible” book comes into play. Though relativity new at this technique, I plan to master it this coming summer. I see a lead core trolling “clinic” in my future. I mostly use leeches on Mille Lacs.”

Minnesota walleye fishing tackle

Here is a nice Diawa Accudepth trolling combo,

“Fishing Lido Key is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon”

Trolling with lures for Minnesota walleye

Artificial lures can be extremely effective when trolled as well. The main advantage is that lures allow anglers to cover a lot of water in a relatively short amount of time. Anglers trolling plugs of different sizes and colors can quickly find a productive pattern that produces fish. Plugs are generally trolled at faster speeds than live bait.

walleye lures

Brenda’s favorite lures for casting and trolling for walleyes are as follows;

“One of my methods for catching walleye is trolling crankbaits. I prefer to use shad style crankbaits as they provide a subtle wobbling action. I mainly use size 5 and size 7 baits. Trolling is a very productive technique that keeps me in good contact with fish that are active.

I also use a variety of stick-style baits. If the fish are holding in deeper water, I will troll similar baits on a line-counter, lead-core rig or use planer boards. This will ensure that the baits get down far enough to entice the fish. I typically troll at speeds from .7 to 1.2 MPH, depending on weather and bite conditions. I adjust my speed accordingly based on the reaction of fish to the bait.

Casting for Minnesota walleye

Casting for walleye is another one of my productive methods. Fishing the shorelines, shallow weed lines, and mid-lake humps while pitching various crankbaits is a blast! I’ll still cast shad and stick style baits, as well as rattling baits such as the Rattlin’ Rapala. You may even find me throwing an occasional spinnerbait for weed-walleyes!

Minnesota walleye fishing

If I want to target deeper water and cast, I will throw a lead jig paired with a leech, crawler, shiner, or plastic paddle tail. I will cover the structure with my bow mount trolling motor and pitching the jig and letting it sink to the depths and actively jig it back to the boat.

All baits used will depend on water quality and feeding patterns. Essentially, you are wanting to match the hatch and mimic the available forage. This could be crayfish, minnows, leeches, or small fish such as yellow perch. The color I use will depend on water clarity and cloud cover. When it is more on the cloudy side, I like to use brighter colors like neon orange, chartreuse, pink, and purple. On sunny days I use gold and silver metallic chrome colored baits. My favorite color patterns are clown and perch.

Catching Minnesota walleye without a boat

While anglers Minnesota walleye fishing from boats have an advantage, shore-bound fishing can produce as well. This is particularly true along river banks. Tailwaters below dams can be extremely effective spots to catch walleye and other species. Live baits can be drifted in the current. Casting lures will also produce fish.

Minnesota ice fishing

Ice fishing is an extremely effective walleye technique. Obviously, it does not require a boat! However, it does require some special gear such as an ice auger, perhaps a shanty, and other equipment. Also, safety is of the utmost importance! This subject was covered HERE in another Fishing Ladies piece.

Brenda really enjoys ice fishing for Minnesota walleye! The ice fishing generally starts in December and goes until first part of March, but this can vary year to year.  Brenda prefers to use rods to fish for walleye, though tip-ups and rattle reels are also very effective.

Minnesota walleye fishing through the ice

Brenda’s favorite method to use when targeting walleye through the ice is Rattle Reels, jigging rod, and bobber-style rods.

“I tend to run 18-24 inches off the bottom using large golden shiners or lite sucker minnows. I jig with a Lindy Frostee Spoon, Northland Forage Minnow or Buckshot spoon with a pinched-off minnow head. A lot of times the action of the jigging calls in the fish, and then the fish will come in and grab the bobber or rattle reel lines.

“I find on Mille Lacs that keeping it simple with a plain hook and a 3 foot leader on the rattle reels is most effective. I use 4 to 6 pound test line and I prefer green Berkley Trilene. Right now I am finding fish for the evening/morning bite in 7-10 feet of water, however I am hearing good reports on North-end in 32-36 feet.

ice fishing for walleye

“With my home in close proximity to the lake, I am fortunate to get out more than most. This year I went from a 6×8 foot skid house to a 14 foot Ice Castle – so no more roughing it, and am not able to spend many comfortable nights out on the ice. There is nothing better than hearing the rattle reel go off in the middle of the night”.

Minnesota walleye season migrations

Walleye follow distinct seasonal migrations. Like most species, they are found in shallow water in the cooler months during spring and fall. Conversely, they seek out deeper water in summer and winter.

Walleye are often found in waters 10 feet deep or shallower early in the season and and fall. During the summer months, many of these areas experience vegetation growths. That, along with rising water temperatures will push the fish out deeper. By early June, most walleye have moved out to deeper water. They will return again in early November.

Minnesota walleye and pike fishing

Walleye will spend their summers offshore, usually relating to some type of structure. Depth changes such as drop-offs on flats or humps, channel edges, submerged rock piles, and edges of weed beds in water between 8 feet deep and 20 feet deep are the best spots to try. Walleye feed best early and late in the day and at night. This is particularly true in the summer time.

Walleye fishing is good in the fall

Again, like most other species, walleye feed heavily in the fall as they fatten up for winter. Successful anglers will find the schools of forage fish, understanding that while I and other game fish will be nearby. Many of the same deep water structure spots that produced in summer will also be good spots to try in the fall.

While I will slow down and be less active in the winter. As weed beds die off, finding the submerged beds will be important. The edges of weed beds and 10 to 15 feet of water that drop off into deeper water are great spots to target winter walleye for both open water boaters and ice fishermen.

Northern pike fishing tips

This article with our ladies shares northern pike fishing tips. Northern pike are a very popular game fish. They are found in the northern United States and Canada, as well as other parts of the world.

Minnesota walleys and pike fishing

Northern Pike are apex predators. They are aggressive and feed mostly on fish. However, they will devour nice, ducks, frogs, and just about anything they can get their teeth into. For this reason, most anglers targeting northern pike use lures that are on the large size. The old axiom, “big bait equal big fish” applies to pike.

Pike are often associated with weed beds in relatively shallow water. They lie in wait and ambush prey as it comes into range. This is another reason why most pike are taken by anglers using artificial baits. Lures are easier to use in these weedy environments. Northern pike are also caught in rivers, particularly where they dump into lakes. Ledges and humps will also hold fish.

Most anglers use medium spinning or bait casting tackle when fishing for pike. Large baits and lures and big fish in heavy cover require fairly stout tackle. 7′ medium/heavy rods with matching reels and 40 pound braided line work well. Most anglers use a short steel leader, but some omit that, especially when fishing in very clear water.

Northern pike fishing tips, lures

Daredevle

The Eppinger Original Dardevle spoon is an old-school lure that has been catching pike for decades. It still produces to this day. The most popular size id the “0” which weighs one ounce. Daredevle spoons can be cast a long way and have an enticing, wobbling action.

pike fishing in Minnesota

The two most popular colors are the red and white and “Five of Diamonds”. Other colors, including chrome, are certainly productive. While not weedless, they can be worked over and through grass beds. The best retrieve is a steady one with some pauses and twitches. A swivel is required to reduce line twist.

Zara spook

The Heddon Zara Spook is a topwater plug that has been around a long time. Iw was invented 75 years ago and has been catching fish ever since. It floats on the surface and is retrieved back using a technique called “walking the dog”. The rod tip is held low and twitched as the lure is retrieved steadily. This causes the lure to swing back and forth. Pike and other game fish find this difficult to resist!

The Zara Spook comes on one size. It is 4 1/2” long and weighs around an ounce. It cast well. Colors matter less on topwater plugs, but Bone, Chrome, and Frog are popular color patterns.

Mepps spinners

Mepps is another company that has been producing lures for a long time. The #5 Mepps Aglia Spinner is a very effective lure for catching northern pike. The thick bucktail dressing helps to reduce getting snagged on the weeds. It weighs ½ ounce and casts well. Most anglers use a steady retrieve, but vary the speed until a productive pace for that day emerges.

Anglers seeking a trophy northern pike will use the Mepps Giant Killer. This is a large lure that produces trophy pike and musky. It is heavy and can be used to effectively work deeper points and ledges.

Rat-L-Trap

The Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap is a terrific artificial lure that catches many different species. It is very effective on northern pike. One once is the most popular size and chrome with a blue back and chrome with a chartreuse back are two excellent patterns. The lure casts well and puts out a tremendous vibration when retrieved.

The Rat-L-Trap is fairly weedless, despite have open, exposed treble hooks. A steady retrieve works well, though anglers can “rip” it through the weeds. This is deadly on pike as the lure is pulled sharply when it hangs on the grass. Pike assault it as it pulls free of the weeds.

Booyah spinnerbait

The Booyah Pikie Spinnerbait is a terrific lure for pike as well as large bass and musky. It is relavively heavy with a large, stout hook. Spinnerbaits are fairly weedless and do through weeds pretty well. It has tandem blades. The single hook makes releasing fish much easier.

Natural baits for northern pike fishing

northern pike fishing Minnesota

Ann White catches plenty of northern pike. She likes frozen smelt and suckers.

“My go to pike baits are frozen smelt or 8-10 inch frozen suckers. Either of which work great in early spring shortly after ice off. Pike will cruise large shallow flats in search of schools of bait fish, so often shore fishing is more productive than fishing from a boat. The large shallows warm up quicker than deeper areas which attracts the bait fish to feed on early insect hatches.

A simple rig of a 3-4 oz. no roll bait, sinker stopper, and swivel, followed by a 12 inch, 50 lb test leader of mono, with a baited circle hook has proven effective for shore fishing. When ice fishing, we switch to a pike rig that is created with a 8 inch loop of wire leader containing two treble hooks. Each hook goes into the bait fish, one at the front, one at the back.

Minnesota walleye and pike fishing

When a pike then takes the bait, the two hooks slide together and will have a better chance of hooking up. Steel leader will prevent breaking line on sharp teeth.  This rig is particularly effective when using automatic fishermen, jaw jackers, or other self setting tip-ups.”

live baits for pike fishing

Most anglers northern pike fishing with live bait use some type of fish. Minnows such as chubs work well for smaller to average sized pike. Those targeting larger fish will opt for a larger bait such as a perch or sucker. The same rig used for frozen bait, minus the sinker, fished under a float works well. Nightcrawlers and frogs can also be used.

Northern pike fishing through the ice

Many northern pike are taken through the ice as well. Anglers fishing the “hard water” do well using both lures and lives baits, often combining the two. A jig and minnow is a top producer. Special plugs that are worked vertically like a jig are also effective. Live minnows and suckers will catch fish, too. The same spots that produce in the fall will also do well for anglers ice fishing. Submerged weed beds, points, ledges, and structure in 8′ to 20′ of water are good spots to try.

Northern pike fishing tips

This article with our ladies shares northern pike fishing tips. Northern pike are a very popular game fish. They are found in the northern United States and Canada, as well as other parts of the world.

Northern Pike are apex predators. They are aggressive and feed mostly on fish. However, they will devour nice, ducks, frogs, and just about anything they can get their teeth into. For this reason, most anglers targeting northern pike use lures that are on the large size. The old axiom, “big bait equal big fish” applies to pike.

Northern pike love weeds!

Pike are often associated with weed beds in relatively shallow water. They lie in wait and ambush prey as it comes into range. This is another reason why most pike are taken by anglers using artificial baits. Lures are easier to use in these weedy environments. Northern pike are also caught in rivers, particularly where they dump into lakes. Ledges and humps will also hold fish.

Most anglers use medium spinning or bait casting tackle when fishing for pike. Large baits and lures and big fish in heavy cover require fairly stout tackle. 7′ medium/heavy rods with matching reels and 40 pound braided line work well. Most anglers use a short steel leader, but some omit that, especially when fishing in very clear water.

Northern pike fishing tips, lures

Daredevle

The Eppinger Original Dardevle spoon is an old-school lure that has been catching pike for decades. It still produces to this day. The most popular size id the “0” which weighs one ounce. Daredevle spoons can be cast a long way and have an enticing, wobbling action.

The two most popular colors are the red and white and “Five of Diamonds”. Other colors, including chrome, are certainly productive. While not weedless, they can be worked over and through grass beds. The best retrieve is a steady one with some pauses and twitches. A swivel is required to reduce line twist.

Zara spook

The Heddon Zara Spook is a topwater plug that has been around a long time. Iw was invented 75 years ago and has been catching fish ever since. It floats on the surface and is retrieved back using a technique called “walking the dog”. The rod tip is held low and twitched as the lure is retrieved steadily. This causes the lure to swing back and forth. Pike and other game fish find this difficult to resist!

The Zara Spook comes on one size. It is 4 1/2” long and weighs around an ounce. It cast well. Colors matter less on topwater plugs, but Bone, Chrome, and Frog are popular color patterns.

Mepps spinners

Mepps is another company that has been producing lures for a long time. The #5 Mepps Aglia Spinner is a very effective lure for catching northern pike. The thick bucktail dressing helps to reduce getting snagged on the weeds. It weighs ½ ounce and casts well. Most anglers use a steady retrieve, but vary the speed until a productive pace for that day emerges.

Anglers seeking a trophy northern pike will use the Mepps Giant Killer. This is a large lure that produces trophy pike and musky. It is heavy and can be used to effectively work deeper points and ledges.

Rat-L-Trap

The Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap is a terrific artificial lure that catches many different species. It is very effective on northern pike. One once is the most popular size and chrome with a blue back and chrome with a chartreuse back are two excellent patterns. The lure casts well and puts out a tremendous vibration when retrieved.

The Rat-L-Trap is fairly weedless, despite have open, exposed treble hooks. A steady retrieve works well, though anglers can “rip” it through the weeds. This is deadly on pike as the lure is pulled sharply when it hangs on the grass. Pike assault it as it pulls free of the weeds.

Booyah spinnerbait

The Booyah Pikie Spinnerbait is a terrific lure for pike as well as large bass and musky. It is relavively heavy with a large, stout hook. Spinnerbaits are fairly weedless and do through weeds pretty well. It has tandem blades. The single hook makes releasing fish much easier.

Natural baits for northern pike fishing

Ann White catches plenty of northern pike. She likes frozen smelt and suckers.

“My go to pike baits are frozen smelt or 8-10 inch frozen suckers. Either of which work great in early spring shortly after ice off. Pike will cruise large shallow flats in search of schools of bait fish, so often shore fishing is more productive than fishing from a boat. The large shallows warm up quicker than deeper areas which attracts the bait fish to feed on early insect hatches.

A simple rig of a 3-4 oz. no roll bait, sinker stopper, and swivel, followed by a 12 inch, 50 lb test leader of mono, with a baited circle hook has proven effective for shore fishing. When ice fishing, we switch to a pike rig that is created with a 8 inch loop of wire leader containing two treble hooks. Each hook goes into the bait fish, one at the front, one at the back.

When a pike then takes the bait, the two hooks slide together and will have a better chance of hooking up. Steel leader will prevent breaking line on sharp teeth.  This rig is particularly effective when using automatic fishermen, jaw jackers, or other self setting tip-ups.”

live baits for pike fishing

Most anglers northern pike fishing with live bait use some type of fish. Minnows such as chubs work well for smaller to average sized pike. Those targeting larger fish will opt for a larger bait such as a perch or sucker. The same rig used for frozen bait, minus the sinker, fished under a float works well. Nightcrawlers and frogs can also be used.

Northern pike fishing through the ice

Many northern pike are taken through the ice as well. Anglers fishing the “hard water” do well using both lures and lives baits, often combining the two. A jig and minnow is a top producer. Special plugs that are worked vertically like a jig are also effective. Live minnows and suckers will catch fish, too. The same spots that produce in the fall will also do well for anglers ice fishing. Submerged weed beds, points, ledges, and structure in 8′ to 20′ of water are good spots to try.

Top Minnesota walleye and pike fishing spots

Leech Lake

Leech Lake is a very popular and extremely productive lake for anglers Minnesota walleye fishing. This lake offers walleye anglers both numbers of fish and trophies. Leech Lake is full of upper slot walleyes. Live bait is very effective but anglers using artificial lures should have no trouble experiencing good action as well.

Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods is a fantastic walleye fishery in northern Minnesota! It’s 25,000 miles of shoreline in over 14,000 islands provide great habitat for walleye and other species. The fishing may even be surpassed by the incredible scenery. It is a long drive for many anglers, however it is time well spent.

Rainy River and the area around Pine Island and the Gap are well known and productive walleye spots. However, just about every point, Island, and tributary can and will produce walleye. Minnows are the top live bait. Anglers using artificial lures do well with bright colors such as gold and pink. Jigs are great bet in the rocky bottom.

Red Lake

Red Lake is another great fishery for anglers Minnesota walleye fishing. It is a terrific early season lake and is an excellent choice for anglers seeking action. Recent DNR surveys have shown an abundance of fish in the 10 inch to 20 inch range. For that reason, harvesting restrictions have been eased. There are a lot of fish in this lake!

The best bet for targeting early season walleye’s is to work the banks on the north and south sides of the lake and water around 6 feet deep. Minnows work very well on Red Lake. Due to the fact that fish are often shallow, anglers can fish live minnow under a bobber effectively. Don’t be surprised if a large crappie intercepts the minnow.

Lake Winnibigoshish

Lake Winnibigoshish is located just north of Leech Lake and is another terrific walleye fishery. The lake is very much in its natural state, with over 90% of the shoreline being undeveloped. There are a lot of walleye in the 15 inch to 20 inch range in this lake, making it a good option for anglers looking to keep of you for a meal. Anglers working 10 foot depths from Cutfoot Sioux to Williams Narrows should have success.

Otter tail Lake

Otter Tail Lake is in the western part of the state. This lake has a lot of walleye and it. It is the largest lake in the region and has a hatchery right on the lake. Anglers seeking numbers of fish will find this lake hard to beat. Shoreline breaks and cover are the best spots early in the season. Live minnows fished on jig heads or under bobbers is the top producing technique. Otter Tail Lake gets less pressure than some of the other more famous walleye fisheries.

Rainy Lake

Big Rainy Lake lies on the Minnesota and Ontario border. It gets less pressure than its sister Lake, Lake of the Woods. However, it is a terrific option for anglers Minnesota walleye fishing. It offers great fishing and outstanding scenery. River mouths are top spots, especially in the spring. Jigs bounced along the bottom, either with a dressing or tipped with a minnow, produce well. Black Bay is a great place to start.

Mille Lacs

Mille Lacs needs no introduction to many anglers Minnesota walleye fishing. It is one of the best walleye fisheries in the world. Despite recent claims, Mille Lacs still offers anglers excellent walleye fishing. Also, with stricter regulations boat traffic will be reduced. As an added bonus, Mille Lacs offers outstanding fishing for smallmouth bass and crappie along with some jumbo yellow perch.

St Croix River

The St. Croix River is one of the better fisheries’ for anglers closer to the cites. Start in the Stillwater area and work your way south. Fishing by the railroad bridge or any of the pier’s from bridges usually produce with bobbers or jigs.  Trolling early morning can generally pull some nice eyes. Best time is early morning till noon, this is based on the popularity of the river and boat traffic gets a little heavy.

In conclusion, this article on Wisconsin walleye fishing will help anglers catch more of these great fish, both in Wisconsin and all over North America!

Best US lakes for northern pike fishing

Most of the best opportunities for catching trophy northern pike are in Canada. Countless remote shallow, weedy lakes and river systems offer anglers a great chance to hook the fish of a lifetime. However, there are plenty of good northern pike fishing spots in the lower 48.

Thousand Islands

This area of the St Lawrence River borders the United States and Canada and has a healthy northern pike fishery. Most fish are in the 5 pound range, with pike over 10 pounds being caught regularly. This is a great fishery for anglers seeking a ,lot of action. Other species such as bass, musky, and walleye will be caught as well.

Great Lakes

Presque Isle Bay is arguable the best norther pike fishery in Lake Erie. Green Bay offers excellent pike action. Michigan lakes including Muskegon Lake, Portage Lake, Manistee Lake, and Lake St. Clair all offer excellent fishing for pike and other species.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin lakes and river systems are well known as top northern pike waters. The Winnebago system in particular is an outstanding fishery. Winnebago, Butte des Morts, Winneconne, and Poygan Lakes, along with the Fox and Wolf rivers provide anglers with the chance to catch pike over 20 pounds.

Minnesota

Minnesota is second to no state when it comes to trophy northern pike waters. Mille Lacs and Lake of the Woods are two large, diverse, and productive fisheries. Rainy Lake is another top producer

Western waters

Not a lot of anglers associate pike with fishing out west, but there are some very good fishing holes. Devils Lake, Mike’s Lake, Silver Lake, and Pelican Lake, North Dakota’s Lake Sakakawea, Lake Oahe, and Fort Peck Lake are top spots. Spinney Mountain, Eleven Mile, and Williams Fork lakes in Colorado are good pike lakes as well.

In closing, this article on northern pike fishing tips  will help anglers

 

 

 

Fishing Guest Posts and Links

Fishing Guest Posts and Links

I am accepting fishing guest posts and links for my website, Fishing Lido Key. If you would like to write a quality fishing guest post, or have an established site or blog and would like to exchange links please read further. This is something that will help both of us as we are not in competition with each other.

fishing guests posts and links

My name is Capt. Jim Klopfer and I am a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. I got my Masters license in 1991 and have been guiding here ever since. My site does very well in local searches, however, I am always trying to improve. While Google’s algorithms have changed somewhat, back links are still a huge factor when it comes to ranking. I am offering several opportunities for other fishing guides and charters as well is anyone else in the fishing or outdoor industry to improve their web presence as well as mine!

Fishing guest posts and links contributors

I have around 100 well written articles on my site to this point. Just about every one of them is over 2000 words with the longest one being 22,000 words! At first, I only did local saltwater and freshwater fishing articles. However, the site now has articles on freshwater and saltwater fishing from all over the United States.

There are a couple different ways that I will allow others to contribute to my site. The first is to submit a well-written fishing article. It needs to be at least 1000 words with very much a “how to” focus. Most anglers come to blogs like this to learn, not to read stories about other anglers adventures. Keep the sentences and paragraphs short and easy to read. Pictures and illustrations are certainly encouraged. I will add an in text back link to your site.

The other method I will allow is to exchange links with other quality fishing websites and especially blogs. They must have good quality content and be a fishing or outdoors dedicated site. No review sites or strictly affiliate websites. I do not mind if you have affiliate links on your site as I do as well. However, there will be no affiliate links allowed in articles submitted.

The best fishing backlinks

The best backlink is an “in context” backlink. This is where a word or phrase is highlighted, with a link to another site. The highlighted text is called “anchor text” and should be relevant to the link. These types of links are much better than links and a byline or in a business listing. They tell Google that the author is using them as a resource. This gives them excellent authority and credibility.

For example; say you have a small mouth bass fishing guide service. I have a very comprehensive article on smallmouth bass fishing. In that article, I can highlight the phrase “smallmouth bass fishing” or “smallmouth bass fishing guide”, with a link back to your site. These links are highly desirable!

I will add links for my content to other quality fishing related websites, as long as they do the same for me. I will only do this with established blogs or sites that have quality content as well as some quantity. This is a super easy way for both of us to improve and increase our link profile, without risking a penalty from Google. I am not doing this in volume, at all! Instead, I would just like to link up with a few quality sites.

Fishing links improve ranking

These links are not meant to drive traffic or steel customers. Very few people reading post actually click on these anchor text links. Therefore, it is fine to install them at the bottom of older posts. The primary goal is not to drive traffic, but to generate quality backlinks. A few quality in text links can make a huge difference in the way website ranks!

As I stated before, quality websites similar to mine will get links for free as long as they do the same for me. For brand-new websites just starting out, I am charging a fee of $25 for a guest post and $50 for a link to one of my existing articles. This really just covers my time for doing the editing and posting. If you do some research, you will find that this is well below the market price for a link. MOZ and other Internet marketers charge as much as $500 for one of these types of links!

Please refer all inquiries to my email, captklopfer@comcast.net and put either “fishing link” or “fishing guest post” in the title and I will get back to you as quickly as I can.

Fishing guest post example

The following is an example of the type of guest post I am seeking. I am posting it for two reasons; to post an example and to add content to this blog post. It has been well proven that the length of the text does matter. The more competitive the subject, the longer and more detailed the post should be.

There are a few tips that will make a BIG difference in how long a reader stays on the page. The title should be in the first paragraph. Use sub-headings every 300 words or so. Keep words, sentences, and paragraphs short. Write to an 8th grade level. This really matters, especially for readers using phones. They do not want big blocks of text. close with “In conclusion”…and then repeat the title again.

“Fishing Ladies fishing Southern California”

This article will focus on our ladies fishing Southern California. Southern California offers anglers a wide variety of fishing opportunities, both in freshwater and in saltwater.

Tracy Hartman is our Southern California Fishing Ladies correspondent. She lives in Temecula, California and knows the local lakes and saltwater fishing scene well. Tracy does a lot of freshwater fishing as it is convenient to her home. She tries to get out, even for a couple of hours, as often as possible.

ladies fishing southern California

Freshwater fishing in Southern California

Freshwater fishing opportunities are plentiful in Southern California. Anglers have the opportunity to target warm water species such as bass, bluegill, catfish and striped bass as well as trout. One great aspect of this fishing is that anglers can be successful fishing from shore. This makes it convenient to get out for a few hours.

https://www.facebook.com/tracy.hartman.779

Tracy’s “home” lake is Lake Skinner. It is close to her home and has good fish populations. She shares some tips on fishing Skinner. These techniques will produce on other Southern California waters

“I really enjoy catching largemouth bass, striped bass, bluegill and catfish. I do a lot of my freshwater at Lake Skinner it is closest lake.

“When targeting catfish I like to use chunks of mackerel. Nightcrawlers will also catch fish. I fish them on the bottom with a standard sliding sinker rig. Some anglers refer to them as “Carolina rigs”. Early mornings, evenings, and at night are the best times to fish. However, plenty of catfish are caught during the day. Channel catfish are the predominant species.

https://www.facebook.com/tracy.hartman.779

Ladies fishing Southern California for multiple species

“Striped bass are another species that I love to catch! Stripers grow large and put up a great fight on light spinning tackle. The striped bass can either be deep or on the top, depending on the time of year. When they are down deep, I will use cut mackerel fished on the bottom using the same rig as for catfish.

“4” to 6” swim baits that imitate trout work well when casting to striped bass that are suspending or down near the bottom. If they are on the top I will throw some top water lures. My favorite topwater bait for striped bass is a Lunker Punker.

https://www.facebook.com/tracy.hartman.779

“Like most of the country, the bluegill usually bite well on nightcrawlers and jigs. I will use a small piece of a worm on a #8 hook fished under a bobber or free lined with a small split shot. The best time to target bluegill is in the spring and summer when they are on the beds spawning.

Bass and trout fishing

“As far as largemouth bass are concerned, I use both live bait and artificial lures. It really depends on the time of year and conditions. Nightcrawlers are very reliable and produce largemouth bass and other species. I hook the worm in the nose using a #2 hook and let it swim naturally.

https://www.facebook.com/tracy.hartman.779

“The standard bass lures work well in Southern California. Topwater plugs produce early and late in the day. Soft plastic baits are effective during the day. My favorite soft plastic baits are Robo Worms and Western Plastics. Other lures that catch bass for me are spinnerbaits, square bill crankbaits, and topwater plugs.”

Most of the trout that I catch are in the local lakes Like Lake Poway, Lake Wolfhord, Lake Skinner, Lake Dixon and Lake Jennings. I use a light Phoenix rod with 2 to 4 pound test. Mini jigs in a natural looking color and the grasshopper color that is green and brown works awesome. Trolling with a Huddleson spoon is also effective. I also am getting into fly fishing and use hand tied flies that my son makes.

https://www.facebook.com/tracy.hartman.779

Saltwater fishing in Southern California

Southern California offers anglers some excellent saltwater fishing as well. Anglers fishing on boats leaving ports such as San Diego and Carlsbad catch a wide variety of species. These include dorado, yellowtail, yellowfin and bluefin tuna on the longer trips. Spotted bay bass, calico bass and sand bass are caught closer to shore.

ladies fishing southern California

While some anglers have their own boats, Tracy likes to fish on charter boats. She enjoys the social aspect and it is a cost effective way to fish. But best of all, she catches a lot of fish! Her favorite party boat is the Chief Sportfishing boat out of Point Loma Landing in San Diego.

ladies fishing southern California

Tracy catches most of her fish using live bait. Anchovies and sardines are the preferred live baits. They produces a wide variety of species as they are the primary forage fish in the area.

Saltwater fishing techniques in Southern California

ladies fishing southern California

“Live bait works well when fishing the top and bottom. When I fish the bottom I use a Dropper loop with a number 2 hook and 1 to 4 once torpedo weight. I will also use 1 to 3 once jig head with a big hammer or soft plastic and a squid strip. When I fish the top I will flat line a sardine or anchovy, both work very well.

fishing guest posts

Most of the fishing in Southern California is best from spring to fall during those months you can get bluefin tuna, yellowtail, yellowfin, and dorado using lures like Flat Falls, Colt Snyper, Surface Iron, poppers or fly lining a sardine or anchovy.

“I do prefer using artificial baits when I’m targeting spotted bay bass, sand bass and calico bass. My “go-to” bait is a soft plastic on a 4 ounce jig head. This is a very effective bait for working the hard bottom structure and ledges that these species are found near. I simply drop it down and work the bait vertically near the bottom. Warmer months are best, but persistent anglers can score in the winter as well”.

fishing guest posts and links

In conclusion, this article on fishing guest posts and links will give other businesses in the fishing and outdoor space a platform to publish great content!

Manitoba and Alberta Fishing Tips

Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips from Jocelyn and Kristen

These Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips will help anglers catch more fish! Both Manitoba and Alberta offer anglers some excellent fishing opportunities.

Manitoba and Alberta are sportsman’s and sports women’s paradises! Streams, rivers, and lakes offer anglers a chance to catch over a dozen species of game fish. The red river is famous as a world-class catfish destination. Walleye are very popular and are abundant. Northern pike and musky will put anglers tackle to the test. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are readily available. Pan fish please anglers seeking a meal. Both open water fishing and ice fishing are extremely productive.

Manitoba Fishing Tips, Action and Variety!

This article will share some awesome Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips. Manitoba, Canada offers anglers a wide variety of fishing options along with many different species that are available.

Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips

Follow Jocelyn on IG

Jocelyn is our fishing ladies Manitoba correspondent. She grew up in this area and knows it’s waters well.

“I work at a Powersports dealership in the parts dept. We sell Ultraskiff and Legend Boats, along with a few motorcycle/atv/side by side lines. I bought a Legend Boat last year and a year prior got myself an Uktraskiff. Check them out if you haven’t yet! Awesome little solo fishing platform! My husband and I are avid fishers and our spare time is spent either on the water or planning our next adventure.”

Fishing in Manitoba for catfish

Manitoba and trophy catfish are synonymous. The Red River flows north from the United States into Lake Winnipeg. It provides anglers with world-class catfish. Shore bound anglers can do very well as there are many different spots to access the river. The section below the dam at Lakeport is particularly productive.

Manitoba fishing tips

Most anglers associate catfish with bottom fishing, and rightfully so. Catfish are built to feed on the bottom. However, that does not mean that there are not discerning predators. Most serious anglers targeting large catfish use chunks of fresh caught fish such as suckers. Nightcrawlers and prepared baits will catch catfish as well. Heavy spinning or medium bait casting tackle is required to handle a large catfish in the river current.

Walleye fishing in Manitoba

Walleye are an extremely popular species and Manitoba and all over North America. While walleye put up a decent fight, for most anglers a value is on a dinner plate. Walleye are one of the finest eating fish that swims! Manitoba waters offer outstanding walleye habitat, both in rivers and lakes.

Manitoba walleye fishing

Trolling and drifting are the most popular ways to target walleye. Anglers trolling use artificial lures such as crank baits which imitate yellow perch and other forage fish. Trolling has advantages in that it allows anglers to present multiple baits while also covering a large area in a relatively short amount of time.

Drifting is extremely productive for walleye as well. While anglers do not cover as much water as they do trolling, they do so more thoroughly. Special sinkers designed to bounce along the bottom are used in conjunction with a leader and a live bait. Leeches, minnows, and nightcrawlers are top baits. Often times a spinner is used ahead of the hook to help attract fish.

Manitoba fishing tips; catching smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass are terrific fighters in are abundant in the streams and lakes of Manitoba. Light spinning tackle is most often used as smallmouth rarely grow over 5 pounds. They are fairly aggressive and many anglers target them using artificial lures. Spinners, jigs, and small shallow diving plugs are the top artificial lures.

Manitoba smallmouth bass fishing

Smallmouth bass will certainly be taken using live bait as well. Crayfish are very high on a basses diet. They have a very high protein content. In fact, many lures are designed to imitate crayfish. Minnows are another top live bait. Like most predator fish, smallmouth bass feed on other small fish. Nightcrawlers are another terrific live bait.

Smallmouth bass love rocks! Boulders and rocks in the middle of streams and rivers will create an eddy which will attract smallmouth bass. They will lie in wait out of the current flow, ready to ambush unsuspecting prey. Submerge rocky bottom and humps and lakes are prime smallmouth bass spots. Sloping points in lakes with rock or gravel are great places to try as well. Rivers and streams entering lakes are prime spots for smallmouth bass and other species.

Manitoba northern pike fishing

Many anglers associate Canada fishing with northern pike. These aggressive predators are abundant in Manitoba and in most of Canada and the northern United States. Pike are ambush predators and are often targeted in and around weed beds. With their shape and coloring, they easily blend in with the existing weeds, waiting to pounce on any unsuspecting prey.

pike fishing in Manitoba

Pie can be taken by anglers using live bait. However, because they are so aggressive and often times are found in the weeds, most anglers opt for artificial lures. Large spinners, top water plugs, spoons, and soft plastic baits are all very effective. Suckers, both live and frozen, are the bait of choice for anglers choosing natural bait.

While many anglers target the weed beds when seeking pike, especially looking for numbers, often times the larger pike are found in deeper water. Submerge grass beds and ledges in water between 10 and 15 feet will often hold the larger specimens. This takes a little more effort, but for the angler willing to give it their all, they can be rewarded with a trophy pike.

Largemouth bass fishing in Manitoba

Manitoba largemouth bass

Largemouth bass are available to anglers and Manitoba. These bass prefer slower moving water stand do smallmouth. They can be found in rivers and streams, however they will be in the slower moving sections. Most largemouth bass caught in Manitoba will be done so in lakes. These fish are usually found near some type of structure such as fallen trees, weed beds, drop-offs, and man-made objects such as docs and bridges.

Most anglers fish for largemouth bass using artificial lures. Soft plastic baits are the number one offering. Plugs, spinner baits, spoons, and just about any other lure can produce largemouth bass as well. Anglers fishing with live bait will catch their share, too.

Anglers in Manitoba catching burbot

Manitoba burbot fishing

Burbot will never win a beauty contest. These fish are ugly and kind of “eel like”. However, they are excellent eating! Burbot are most often caught by accident, few anglers target them. They are found in deep water. Most burbot are landed by anglers ice fishing or deep jigging for walleye or lake trout.

Trout fishing in Manitoba

Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips

Brook trout and lake trout are available in Manitoba as well. Most lake trout are caught in the deep lakes in the northern region of Manitoba. Most lakers are caught by anglers in open water are done so trolling. Jigging produces in open water and through the ice. Brook trout are found in the lakes and remote streams up north as well. Anglers catch them on fly and using spinners and spoons.

Manitoba anglers catching panfish

Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips

Just as they are everywhere else in North America, pan fish are extremely popular and Manitoba as well. Crappy, sunfish, bluegill, and yellow perch are abundant and cooperative. They are all also excellent eating! In many cases, removing some of these fish from local waters can actually help the fishery.

Anglers targeting panfish do so using light spinning tackle most of the time. Ultralight outfits with 4 pound test monofilament line are used. Anglers cast tiny lures such as spinners and jigs to fool them. More panfish are probably caught by anglers using live or natural baits. Worms and minnows are most often used.

Many anglers ice fishing target panfish, especially yellow perch. These fish can all be caught through the ice using very light tackle. Cold water is very clear and the fish are a bit more lethargic. Anglers use tiny jigs often times tipped with a grub or other live bait. This is an extremely effective method to harvest panfish and anglers do not need a boat.

Fishing in Alberta, an Anglers guide

Alberta, Canada is an anglers paradise! Anglers fishing in Alberta have a wide variety of spots with fantastic scenery. Alberta offers a wide variety of freshwater game fish species along with a variety of techniques that can be used. The environments range from tiny streams to huge, open lakes. Many different trout species, northern pike, walleye, sturgeon, and other species are available. Anglers can cast lures and baits, troll, or fly fish for most of these species.

Fishing Ladies expert Kristen

walleye pike fishing

Follow Kristen on her angling adventures on IG

Kristen grew up on Vancouver island where her love for fishing was ignited. She started ocean fishing when she was 5 years old for fun with her dad and 2 older brothers. Kristen now lives in central Alberta, town of Lacombe. The same town that the famous Len Thompson lures are made. Most anglers have a “5 of diamonds” in their tackle box.

“I am a multi species angler and have a goal to catch every single fresh water species Alberta has in its water systems. So far I’m just about half way there. My favorite species to target are cutthroat trout in southern Alberta and tiger trout, rainbow trout, and lake trout in northern Alberta. My heart truly belongs to trout.”

Kristen is a brand ambassador

lake trout fishing tips

Kristen’s friend Andrew is an Alberta fishing guide has taken her under his wing over the last 6 months, taking Kristen on some great angling adventures. He is showing her all about fresh water fishing and getting her into the most beautiful fish Alberta has to offer. The proof is in the pictures!

Kristen is a brand ambassador for Lyman Lures, Rise Apparel, and Canadian Fishing Outfitters. Canadian made plug lures that work amazing for Lake trout and any game species but they are her “go to” lure for Lakers while using downriggers. Rise Apparel makes quality clothing and products for outdoor enthusiasts. Canadian Fishing Outfitters is a premier guide service in Alberta.

Alberta fishing tackle

Alberta fishing tips

Anglers fishing in Alberta have several choices when it comes to the best tackle to use. Most anglers cast lures using spinning tackle. Conventional outfits are best for trolling or bottom fishing in larger lakes and rivers. Fly fishing is favored by anglers fishing streams and rivers for trout.

Spin fishing tackle

Spinning tackle is versatile and easy to use. That is the primary reason that it is favored by many anglers. Tackle size varies according to the species being targeted. Kristen prefers to use a 6ft G Loomis fast action gl3 rod with Shimano Stradic 4000FJ. Her second choice is an Abu Garcia Accurist med heavy HSX 54 rod again matched with the 4000 Stradic. The reel is spooled with 20lb Power Pro braided line.

fishing for rainbow trout

These light spinning outfits can be used to cast light lures such as small spinners in streams when targeting trout. They are stout enough to cast a larger spoon in search of larger fish such as northern pike. Spinning tackle also works well for using live baits such as nightcrawlers.

Conventional tackle uses in Alberta

Many anglers enjoy trolling for large lake trout in the deep, clear Alberta lakes. Conventional outfits are well suited to this type of fishing. Casting is not needed. Kristen uses a 8 ft Shimano Talora rod with a Abu Garcia 6600sx reel combo when trolling for lakers. It is spooled up with 30-50 lb braided line.

Alberta fishing tips

Heavy conventional tackle is also the best option for anglers targeting sturgeon in rivers. These fish grow very large and stout tackle is mandatory. The best rod and reel combination for sturgeon fishing is also a Shimano Talora rod as it provides a sensitive tip where it is easy to see the bites. It is matched with an Abu Garcia 7001C reel and spooled up with 50 lb power pro braided line

Fly fishing tackle in Alberta

Fly fishing tackle will vary greatly depending on the species being targeted. Most anglers fly fishing in Alberta will be chasing some species of trout. However, they run the gamut in size from tiny brook trout to large rainbows and browns. A 5wt or 6wt outfit with a floating and intermediate sinking line is a good place to start.

Alberta creek, river, and lake fishing

top trout species

The three primary fishing areas in Alberta are creeks, rivers, and larger lakes. All three offer excellent fishing opportunities! However, tackle and tactics will be a bit different for each situation.

Creek fishing in Alberta

Small creeks are great fun to fish! While often times the fish are relatively small, an occasional trophy will be encountered. Also, since anglers are using very light tackle, the fish give a good account of themselves. Ultralight spinning tackle and light fly rods are the best choices when fishing small creeks. A 6′ spinning rod with 4 lb line works well. Fly anglers will opt for a 3 wt outfit with a floating line.

One great thing about fishing small creeks is that fish are easier to locate. There is simply less water in which to search. However, they can be spookier in the clear, shallow water. Top spots are eddies behind rocks and fallen timer, pools, holes on creek bends, and riffles. Top lures include small spinners and spoons. Small crankbaits such as the Rapala brown trout pattern CD-7 are effective as well. Most anglers use artificial lures or fly fish, but live worms and leeches produce fish as well.

Fishing Alberta rivers

The term “river” can be a broad one. A river can be a large meandering stream or a fast flowing beast. Most rivers in Alberta are in between and offer some excellent angling opportunities. Rivers will generally produce larger fish in deeper water with plenty of forage.

trout fishing

The same techniques and tackle that produce in smaller streams will also work well in rivers. The main difference is that anglers will need to bump the tackle up a bit. Medium spinning outfits and 6wy fly outfits work well. Larger lures and flies will also be used. Spinners, spoons, and shallow diving plugs are the top artificial lures. Nightcrawlers and leeches are the best natural baits.

Lake fishing in Alberta

Lake fishing is very productive in Alberta. Some of the largest game fish will be found in the pristine area lakes. Most species of trout will be caught in the lakes or the waters entering or exiting the lakes. Anglers can fish from the banks, though they are obviously limited. Boaters can troll, cast the bank, or drift fish for a variety of species.

There are many great lakes for fishing in Alberta. Generally speaking, the best lakes are in the northern part of Alberta. Obviously, with it being in Canada, ice fishing is extremely popular and effective in the winter. The same species that are caught in summer can be taken through the ice in the winter.

Top fishing spots in Alberta, Canada

Alberta has an abundance of great spots to fish for trout and other species. The list is long, with the North Saskatchewan River, South Saskatchewan River, Cold Lake, Bow River, Lower and Upper Kananakis Lakes, Slave Lake, Winefred Lake, Gull Lake, and Pigeon Lake being some top spots. Lake Athabasca is world renowned for giant lake trout.

Top Alberta game fish species

Alberta offers anglers some excellent fishing for cold water species in freshwater. These include brook trout, lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, tiger trout, bull trout, and cutthroat trout. Other species include northern pike, sturgeon, walleye, grayling, and whitefish.

Brook trout

Brook trout are found in both streams and smaller lakes. They average 12-15 inches but brookies to 2 feel long are caught regularly. The best lures for catching brook trout in Alberta are tube jigs, small Panther Martin spinners, and smaller crank baits. Worms are the top live bait. Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park would be top destination.

One great aspect of targeting Alberta brook trout is the unique color patterns that they display. They are found moderately across the province. Anglers are have opportunities to fish brook trout as per the stocking program. There are multiple places that have them stocked. Emerald lake for example.

Rainbow trout

Rainbow trout are an extremely popular species that are found throughout the region. Trout that average a foot or so are found in many small streams. Larger fish are taken in the big lakes by anglers trolling. Rainbow trout have a varied diet and feed on a wide variety of fish, crustaceans, and insects. The Bow River is the top spot in Alberta for targeting rainbow trout.

Small lures such as spinners, plugs, and spoons work well on rainbow trout. They can be taken on a variety of live baits along with eggs and commercial baits. Large spoons and plugs produce big fish in larger, deep lakes.

Brown trout

Brown trout are another popular trout species that flourishes in Alberta. They feed on insects when young and then switch over to foraging on bait fish as they mature. Most big brown trout are caught by anglers casting or trolling plugs, spoons, and spinners. Top area for brown trout would be the Bow River system. There are also many stocked lakes in the province that provide opportunities to catch brown trout.

Lake Trout

Lake trout grow very large and are mostly caught in the deep, cold lakes in Alberta. These fish average 20 pounds but grow to over 50 pounds. Trolling is by far the most effective method used to land lake trout. Large plugs and spoons are the top lures as they mimic the bait fish that lakers feed on. Kristen does very well trolling Lyman Lures.

The best lakes for catching lake trout in Alberta are Cold lake and Lake Athabasca. Lake Alberta can produce lake trout as well The best times of year

Cutthroat trout

Cutthroat trout, or “cutty’s” are found in several Alberta lakes and rivers. The best lures for fooling cutthroat trout are XXXXX, and XXXXXX. They are using found in riffles and eddies as well as fallen trees.

Top spots for anglers looking to catch cutthroat trout in Alberta are the Lower and Upper Kananaskis Lakes as well as the Old Man River, Ram River, and Peace River.

Bull Trout

Top spots for targeting bull trout in Alberta are the Red Deer River, Highwood River, Clearwater River, Lower and Upper Kananaskis Lakes, and the Bow River.

Tiger trout

Top tiger trout spots in Alberta are the Black Nugget River, Blood Indian Reservoir, Chain lakes, and East Twin Lake.

Walleye

Walleye are one of the most popular freshwater game fish in North America. While they put up a decent little tussle, they are prized more for their snow-white delicate fillets. Walleye are mostly target by anglers fishing in lakes, though they are also caught in rivers as well. Trolling and drifting are the two most effective techniques.

Walleye feed close to the bottom near structure. Submerged rocks, timber, and drop offs will all hold walleye. Anglers present their baits close to the bottom and at a slower pace. North Saskatchewan River , Lac la Biche, Pigion Lake, Wabamun Lake, Gull Lake, Marie Lake, and Slave Lake are top walleye spots in Alberta.

Northern Pike

Northern pike are an aggressive species that is found in lakes and river systems. Pike prefer shallow, weedy bays with little current. They are voracious feeders and will attack almost anything when hungry. Larger lures and heavier tackle are often required. Spoons are a top lure, as are spinners and plugs. Live bait fish such as suckers will fool trophy pike.

Sturgeon

Sturgeon are found in Alberta in a couple of large river systems. The main rivers that provide the most success for anglers in regards to lake sturgeon is the North Saskatchewan River and the South Saskatchewan River. Surgeon are also found in other river system like the Bow River, but the opportunities for anglers are not as plentiful.

Most sturgeon are caught by anglers bottom fishing with heavy tackle. These fish grow quite large and stout tackle is required, particularly in heavy current. The best baits are cut sucker and chub.

In conclusion, this article, Fishing in Alberta, an Anglers Guide, will helo both resident and visiting anglers catch more fish!

In conclusion, this article on Manitoba and Alberta fishing tips should help anglers catch more fish when visiting this great area. Anglers can find Manitoba fishing regulations and more information on the government site, HERE.