The recent rain has increased the current drawing fish upriver to their spawning grounds. Water temps are slowly rising and on a warm sunny day this past week, I had surface temps hit 41 degrees. It won’t be long until the water in the marshes warm enough for the females to do their job.
The fish are scattered right now from south of Chico’s landing all the way to Shiocton. Early in the mornings and on the cooler days, look for the fish in deeper holes where there is a lot of brush or in the deep holes around some of the sharp bends in the river.
Days where the sun is out, move to the shallow sandbars and flats on the backside of bends later in the day as the water temps rise.
The fish in the deeper holes have been hugging bottom and staying vertical with a 4-5″ lift and drop method has been working very well. A thin live bait jig that cuts the current paired with some small diameter braided line like the Seaguar Smackdown helps with this method greatly.
The thin diameter braid cuts the current more so than an equivalent strength mono-filament or fluorocarbon line while the narrow profile of the live bait jig also has less resistance than a heavier traditional round head jig.
I really like the parrot colors this time of year in a 5/16 – 3/8 oz. I typically do not fish with a stinger hook because I tend to drag the jig on the bottom alot more than most.
When hooking the shiner or fathead on the hook, I will insert the hook through the minnow’s mouth and get the point to poke through as close to the dorsal fin as possible and then push the mouth of the minnow up the shank of the hook to make it look as natural as possible.
One of the other benefits of using a good braid is the strength of the line will typically straighten out a hook if snagged versus breaking the line with mono. Be prepared to lose a few jigs with this technique but the rewards of catching more fish will be worth it!
Remember these fish are moving! Just because your buddy caught them the day before in one place doesn’t mean they will be there the next.
Use your electronics to find schools of fish in areas away from the crowds of people and you will do well! Sidevision is one of my biggest weapons this time of year while scanning the river for fish.
Keep the lines tight everyone!
Capt. Troy Peterson
Mr. Bluegill Guide Service