Pic of the Week

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

The weather is finally starting to clear. That’s good news. Because of all the wet weather we’ve been having over the last month or so the spring crappie fishing has been delayed. There should be another three or four weeks of good fishing left.

Over the next week and a half we’ll post information on three of the better spots along our area of the river. Give them a try. You just might be glad you did.

FYI: These areas also produce nice catches of largemouth bass.

Cabin Creek (Maysville)

About 5 miles upstream from Maysville, you’ll find Cabin Creek (mile 403). The entrance is alongside the Dravo Corporation facility. This creek winds its way back, into the hills of northern Kentucky for several miles, depending upon water levels.

Cabin Creek generally runs south and so both banks tend to get a lot of sun early and late in the day. Because of this the water will warm quickly in the spring. Depending upon the weather crappie fishing usually begins around the end of February or the first part of March. On a good year the action will last into May.

The first spot, and arguably the best for high numbers of 8 and 9 inchers, in the creek is at the hard, left-hand turn it makes about 3/8 of a mile from the mouth. There’s a deep wash-out on the right side of this turn that almost always attracts a lot of brush and drift. It also attracts a lot of crappies.

In low water conditions there’ll only be a foot or two of water here. When the water’s up there may be four or five feet under your boat. Either way, a good stringer of crappies can be had if you fish patiently and thoroughly. The crappies hold tight under the cover and won’t move very far to feed.

To reach them most anglers dunk minnows on a tight line rig — no bobber — and allow them to swim under the canopy of the debris at will. Usually, if the crappies are in a cooperative mood, they’ll bite within a few minutes. Sometimes a small, flashy bead just above the hook will get their attention.

Another great technique here is to float a jig under a bobber with the current. Allow this rig to drift past the edge of any debris you can find. Let the bobber bump against the wood as it drifts along. This’ll impart a subtle and lifelike, early season action to your lure.

Just a couple of hundred yards further upstream, on the left, is a long row of stumps and overhanging brush. It’s also a good place to fish. Again, tight-lined minnows and small jigs are the ticket.

Adventurous anglers may want to travel several miles to the very back of this creek, however. At the end there’s a small cut that’ll allow you to enter an equally small slough. This area is well-known for low numbers of big fish.

Most local anglers fish this slough with tiny in-line spinners or small twister tails on leadheads. Casting accuracy is a necessity here. The cover is thick and the trees hang nearly to the water’s surface.

I’ll give you two additional hot spots in the coming week, check back for those!


At the risk of making some of my manufacturing friends angry I’m going to make a short list of the best plastic bass baits available. Any attempt to do this is going to be controversial. No one agrees on lures, and certainly every successful angler has his or her favorite.

Still, there are a few baits around that I hear about time and time again when I interview winning anglers. Each of them has been copied 100 times. Nevertheless, the originals seem to have something the others lack. For reasons known only to the fish they work when others fail.

If you think I’ve got it wrong let me know.


Trick Worms


Brush Hog (both sizes)

Old Monster (big worm)



Reaction Innovations

Sweet Beaver


One of the hidden secrets — hidden in plain sight — among good bass anglers is that they fish where the fish are, rather than worry about having the newest baits. Sound obvious? Maybe, but that’s why they catch them. And why we don’t.

Very few anglers have access to anything that isn’t sold to the general public. A few of the top professionals, men like the Elite Series pros with B.A.S.S., might have a prototype lure in the boat or maybe a couple of custom colors at their disposal. For the most part, though, they fish with the same tackle and lures that we do. They just do it better.

The reason is that they start at the beginning. They find the fish and then try to make them bite. Far too many of us work it from the other direction. We tie a “magic” lure on our line — usually one that we paid a lot of money for after reading about it in a magazine or Internet article — and then expect the fish to chase it.

One of the best bass anglers I ever met was once asked what he thought the biggest and most common mistake recreational anglers make. “They don’t think enough about the season of the year,” he replied. “I see guys fishing deep ledges in the spring and shallow shoreline cover in the heat of the summer. They worry too much about what lure to use instead of where to fish. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s backwards.”

If you want to catch fish this spring find the 10 percent of the water that 90 percent of the fish are in. Then worry about what lure or bait to use.