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Sunday, March 31, 2013

3/31 LMR

It just so happened that the second half of my previously booked up day became gloriously free just about the time the skies cleared up. Happy coincidence or a sign? Both maybe.. So I saw four deer walking in. A big doe and then a bit further on a big doe and last years fawns. The four deer were four more than the number of people I ran into so things were off to a great start. I also found some marsh marigolds starting to bloom. I guess spring has finally begun to sprung. In a couple weeks the river bottoms will be a beautiful carpet of butter yellow. . The LMR is gorgeous right now. Lots of water in the river but not a bad color at all. I started to wade across a riffle, thought the better of it and waded back to cut a limb to use as a wading staff. About a third of the way across I decided the water was too cold for a dip and chickened out. I'd have waded it with no second thoughts in warmer weather. But it's in not too bad a fishing shape really. Another week or so and things will be booming. In a big eddy I fished a hair jig under a float for a long time with no action. But I did get to watch a couple kingfishers quarrel, or maybe court. I'm not sure. But they put on a good show. Crossing a small creek I flushed a pair of wood ducks at ten feet, I'm not sure who was more startled them or me. By then things were warming up nicely and in another bigger eddy I caught a couple nice smallmouth on a three inch pumpkinseed grub. All in all it felt like the first trip of spring instead of one of the last trips of winter. That's a nice feeling. __________________

Friday, March 29, 2013

personal best 26 inch saugeye

I debated on even going or not. The GMR was up but not alot. But with big plans that didn't include fishing this weekend I thought I'd go for a while today even if the catching wasn't going to be all that hot. I was wrong about that. Five minutes into it and I caught a nice saugeye probably a 22 inch fish and they continued to hit ok the whole time I was fishing. The river wasn't really too muddy, just a bit off color but it was up a foot over where I normally like it. I fished two 3/8th ounce jig heads in tandem to keep them down and bumping bottom. If I'd have brought 1/2 ounce ones I think I'd have been better off. But every ten minutes or so I'd have a strong thump and and then you could feel that head shake that said saugfish. I fished pink metalflake and neon chartruese grubs. With one of each on the line it looked quite festive... I also hooked several suckers, some foul hooked but a few inside the mouth. I bet you would tear them up right now on small hooks and redworms. I made a long cast quartering upstream and let the jigs sweep down reeling just enough to keep a tight line and not hook up on the bottom. Thump and the rod bent double and the drag began to really slip. Couldn't be a saugeye, too big. Then I could feel the head shake. But I still didn't think it was a saugeye till it rolled up out in the current and I could see that bronze. Then I began to worry. Alot. But no problems, a pretty uneventfull landing. I snapped a few pictures and then held her in the current till she was ready to go. Later I couldn't find a picture that did the fish justice, she was fatter and bigger than she looks in the photo. I guess if you go fishing enough your bound to get lucky every now and then. I felt pretty lucky today.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

some saugfish

Finally the river is back down to fishable, just a bit off color. With snow and horrible weather back in the forcast I decided to dam hop my way up the GMR today. I ended up hitting three dams catching a few fish at each one. Plus snaring two suckers on jigs and catching a redhorse and golden sucker fairly on smoke metalflake grubs. The saugeyes seemed to like an orange and yellow three inch grub the best. I switched back and forth between a 1/4 and 3/8 ounce jighead depending on the depth and current. I also saw more fish and minnows working than I have all winter. Things are slowly waking up. At one dam someone had dumped out their nightcrawlers when they left and a great blue heron was feeding on them and let me walk right up within twenty feet. pretty cool. Every saugeye was on some sort of current break or seam and not really in any sort of slack water. I think I ended up with a half dozen, all on grubs.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Minnows of the LMR

Well It's been too crappy to fish and I'm bored, so here goes. Hope somebody finds it interesting... Fishy Foods of the LMR: Very abundant in the Little Miami are the various species of shiners. Shiners are more a fish of open water and less oriented to bottom structure and riffles than other common small fishes. Many like the emerald shiner, are found in open water and stay near the surface. They do not have any preference for a particular type of substrate. Along with gizzard shad, they are the main food of hybrid striped bass and their cousins the white bass in the lower reaches of the Little Miami. Shiners are taller than they are thick and are almost perfectly imitated by floating minnow plugs. Most shiner species are a pearl color tinted with light shades of pink or green. Another good imitation is a swim bait or shad body three or four inches long. Soft plastic jerkbaits are another great choice. Creek chubs are often the top predator in many of the smaller tributaries of the Little Miami. They can reach almost a foot in length and feed on small invertabrates such as aquatic and terrestrial insect larvae. The biggest chubs can even take small crayfish. Creek chubs are a bit fatter in cross section than shiners and might be better imitated with a four inch grub or a fatter shad bait. Many creek chubs have a dark stripe that runs down their side. I sometimes doctor up pearl shad with waterproof markers from the craft store adding a stripe or dash of color to them. Bluntnose Minnows, Central Stonerollers, and similar minnows are the most common small fish in the Little Miami over it’s entire length. Bluntnose minnows spawn over and over starting in spring thru late summer. They spawn under logs, in brush or under rocks in shallow water. Females lay sticky adhesive eggs on the underside of whatever structure they spawn under. Stonerollers spawn just upstream or downstream of riffles in spring. Most minnow species of this size feed on algae growing on rocks, logs and brush in the river. All this adds up to more reasons to throw around good structure and cover besides the fact they are good staging and holding areas for bass. Sinking and suspending minnow plugs in deep runs above and below riffles as well as floating minnow plugs and topwaters fished around structure imitate these minnows well. I think most inline spinners are also imitating these minnows. These minnows are the reasoning behind my number one bait for the LMR, a three inch smoke metalflake grub on a roundball jighead. This, at least in my eyes, perfectly matches the general size, color, and overall impression of these ubiquitous baitfish. If you match the size of the jighead to the depth of the water and speed of the current so your jig is swimming just off the bottom around riffles, runs, and good structure in the river it’s hard not to catch fish on a smoke metalflake grub in the LMR. Darters, sculpins, and madtoms populate the riffles and runs of the Little Miami. Most of these guys run two to four inches in length and average around three. They are both darker and more colorful than the minnows that frequent the slower water of the river. Some like the rainbow darter are as colorful as any aquarium fish you will ever see. Most though are mottled and camouflaged to blend in with their surroundings. While minnows like the stoneroller might be more common over the entire river in certain riffles the majority of small fish will be darter species. These along with helgrammites and crayfish that frequent riffles too make the shallow rocky riffles and runs of the LMR the dinner table for the rivers bass. There are something like eleven or twelve darter species in the river with several being found togethor on most riffles. For this reason you can experiment a bit with color choices. I like to throw things with just a touch of red or orange as even some of the plainer darters show a bit of these colors when spawning. Ill usually throw a darker grub here than in the slower waters of the river too. Maybe something like a motor oil metalflake or pumpkinseed. I also have a few grubs that I’ve strung a piece of orange living rubber thru with a large needle. I trim this so I have a short stubby piece sticking straight out of each side of the grub right behind the jighead to imitate the stiff pectoral fins of riffle minnows. Darters, sculpins and madtoms all use stiff side fins to help anchor themselves to bottom in the swift water of riffles. On many species these are red or orange in color. I also like to throw a small rebel minnow in a rainbow trout pattern just above or below riffles instead of the silvers and chromes I throw in the pools and eddies. Some of the brighter inline spinners with a bit of red are also good choices in fast water. In summary, in the bends, holes and eddies of the river I generally throw pearl, silvery, and chrome colored lures. Since shiners often feed and hold high in the water column these are also prime places to throw topwater plugs. I like lures with a flatter deeper profile here like lipless cranks, shad bodies and flatter minnow plugs. Since shiners run a tad bigger you can get away with a bigger lure here too. In swifter water such as riffles, runs, and chutes I like a fatter rounder lure like a grub or a rebel minnow. And a darker lure with a spash of color. I think a smaller lure like a three inch grub or a marabou jig is better here than a bigger one. That being said, there can be no absolutes in this like any other kind of fishing, but at least I feel like I have a place to start from.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sigh...where's spring?????

With the awful weather and the muddy rivers combining to keep me inside, I've been hitting the vise hard...