Archive for February, 2011
Crappies Are Just Around The Corner

As late winter turns into early spring some of our angling thoughts turn to early season crappies.

The water is warming with each week and you can expect the first crappie movement to begin as the water warms to the upper 40’s. As this occurs, crappies begin to follow the creek channels towards the flat areas, adjacent to these channels, in anticipation of the spawn. These fish are the first movers, and, as a result, tend to be the bigger fish. In this regard they act somewhat like black bass. This movement is slow at first but picks up speed as the season progresses. When the prespawn movement picks up, the smaller fish follow in greater numbers.

Prime places to begin looking for slabs are in the flat areas adjacent to the creek channels. The best flats are between 3 and 5 feet deep. The presence of stumps, laydowns, and wood is essential. Some of the most productive places are areas where trees and bushes are growing alongside, or even into the water. The fish use their root system as cover. Low light conditions tend to produce best: Early morning, late evening and overcast or cloudy days. If you are tough, night fishing at this early stage can produce some fine catches.

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The Best Topwater Baits

Over several decades, I have come to appreciate this form of angling more than any other although I will freely admit that there are other ways to catch more fish. At this point in angling history, topwater baits are suffering from diminished popularity, due in large measure to the plastics revolution. If you fish with them, however, you will not suffer from diminished angling fun.

Do not be deceived into believing that these baits are only for early mornings, late evenings, warm weather or calm water. Some of my best topwater catches have come during the noon to early afternoon hours. This is especially so if you are fishing the River, as fish in the Ohio River tend to hold shallow nearly all year. As a result they sometimes bite all day from the top.

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Fishing Warm & Cold Water Discharges

Fishing warm water discharges in the Ohio River can be one of the most rewarding angling experiences of the year. There are, however, a few rules, ideas, and thoughts that you need to consider.

A discharge is generally considered to be any location that brings water into the River from a non-natural source. Most are from power plants, commercial factories, or manufacturing facilities.

There are hot water discharges and cold water discharges. Hot water discharges are areas of warm water entering the River from a commercial facility. Most originate from cooling systems of some sort.

Cold Water Discharges

Cold water discharges are areas of unheated water entering the river. It may be at, above, or below the River water temperature but it is not heated. Cold water discharges are at their best during the warmer months of the year. They provide current flow and oxygen for the fish.

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