When I got home from work Friday, I was chatting with the wife trying to figure out what we were going to do this weekend. She wanted to go fishing on Saturday and I reminded her that it was going to be 95F and sunny. I mentioned that Sunday was supposed to be cooler with a high of 82F. We both decided to go fishing on Sunday! What we didn’t count on was a thunderstorm Saturday night. As we went to bed, I was checking the stream gauges and noticed the river was rising. Outside, thunder was booming and lightning was flashing. Rain was coming down in sheets. But it was moving fast so we called it a night. I decided to check in the morning to see if we could actually fish this river.
Upon hearing my alarm at 0430 I immediately grabbed my phone and checked the stream gauges. The water had risen but was dropping fast. Sunday was a GO! After a 2 hour drive we were standing on the riverbank by 0720. Temperature was at 69F with a slight fog. We were the only ones there.
I’m going to diverge a bit here and try to explain this river. The last time we were here we noticed that everything was different. Looking back over my notes I noticed that on May 28th, 2021 the water level in this river was almost 18ft high. That amount of water and flow drastically changed the riverbed. I mentioned that in a previous post. So I had the wife take a photo to give you an idea of what occurred.
We stepped into the river and began casting and trying to locate some fish to develop a pattern. It didn’t take long and we had 5 fish to hand. They were in their summer pattern so would be hanging out in pocket water amongst current. If there are stretches of slow water you might catch some little ones, but generally, only perch and gar are hanging out there so we skip those sections.
We fished for 5 hours and covered 3 miles of new water. Last Spring we did a reconnaissance trip to this area and realized we would be swimming a lot to cross several sections. This time, we were able to wade across everything so it was a lot more enjoyable.
All told we caught 101 Neosho-strain smallmouth bass on this trip which is a new record for us (We are 100% Catch and Release and use barbless hooks) I would estimate that about 40% were dinks, 40% were decent and the remaining 20% were above average. We were very happy and had a great time. The only downside was that we noticed the Owner Cultiva JH-85 and JH-86 2.2 and 2.0 gram jig heads didn’t seem to be as sharp as we prefer and we ended up losing quite a few fish. Definitely considering switching to the Gamakatsu Round 211 3/32oz jig heads.
Thanks for reading!