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Ohio River Fishing TipsimageRead navigation & fishing tips on each pool in the Ohio River, down to the mile marker

Creek mouths are some of the most productive places in the river to fish — if you understand what they are, and how they appear to the fish. Here are three thoughts to keep in mind.

  1. Water flows from the creek into the river. Since in can’t flow upstream the current will break towards the downstream side. If you’re looking for feeding fish keep this in mind. Almost nothing swims upstream if it can help it, especially small baitfish and the like. Fish with the current, not against it.
  2. As the water breaks downstream it slows. That means it drops sediment, brush and other things that make cover under the water. This cover producing material will be deposited in a crescent shape outside the creek mouth almost directly in line with the creek channel. This makes a great ambush point for predators — bass and flatheads. You’ll lose a lot of baits and terminal tackle fishing that mess but it’s well-worth it if you’re serious about catching fish.
  3. The action that’s been described above also digs out a deep hole — I know of two that are over 50 feet deep — in front of the crescent. It makes for a great resting place for bigger fish, especially giant catfish. Fishing in these deep holes is one of the secrets of trophy flathead and blue hunters. Use heavy weights to get down that deep and heavy tackle to pull big fish up from their dens. For whatever reason these holes seem to be more productive at night.

Think about all this as you motor into a creek and spend time following it back. Maybe the best fishing is over your shoulder.


We’re entering the season on the river when boat traffic gets heavy. Big pleasure boats, ski boats, barges and PWCs are everywhere. Many anglers curse this development. More savvy anglers embrace it.

First, let’s think about what fish are, and what they aren’t. They’re animals. Whatever happens in their world is normal to them. Fish living near a launch ramp are used to trucks and boats pulling into and out of the water. It means nothing to them.

Fish those areas. The fish will bite regardless of how much commotion is going on around them. It’s the occasional sound or splash that causes them to scurry away.

Second, water turbulence can be your friend. When the water churns it stirs the sediment. (Have you ever noticed how muddy the water gets along the shoreline after the rollers from a barge hit it?) This activates the feeding chain.

For bass, throw a reaction bait such as a crankbait, a metal bladebait or your favorite plastic. You’ll be surprised at the number of bites you get. If catfish are your thing go with something alive that moves around a lot or with something that has a fair amount of smell to it. Either one will help the fish find your bait in the murky water.

Use heavy boat traffic to your advantage this year. You’ll be glad you did.


For many, many years I fished thinking that the only fish worthy of catching was a largemouth bass; maybe an occasional smallmouth but never anything other than that.

For the last two or three years I have been working stripers and hybrids seriously, and here is why. They are school fish with excellent populations in the river and they fight like Mike Tyson. You see, the truth is that the river is at its best, at least in the Cincinnati area, as a center for stripers, hybrids, and catfish (especially flatheads).

Summertime brings the opportunity for main river stripers and hybrids from now through early winter. They can be caught not only in the early morning and late evening but also during peak periods of recreational boating. If the correct techniques are used they can be caught during the heat of the day with a blazing sun overhead in July and August.

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