Fish the creeks and the rivers

About the author

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick is better known to the bass fishing world as the Smallmouth Guru. He lives in Celina, Tenn., and is the owner of Punisher Lures.

Now’s the time to fish smaller, moving bodies of water. Obviously, that means the creeks and the rivers. I say that because the major lakes and reservoirs will be covered over this weekend with recreational boats and PWC partiers. Most of them will look like parking lots.

I’m not throwing stones at anyone who’s out on the water having fun this weekend. Everyone has a right to use our public waters. It’s just that trying to fish when they’re all out there is impossible. And, even if you go at night you’re going to be fighting the traffic. It’s useless to try. It makes more sense to go somewhere else and fish.

The situation around the creeks is especially attractive. Throughout most of the country the weather has been warm up until the last day or so. That means that the shallow water pools in the bigger creeks have warmed up much faster than anything else around them. The smallies respond to that by going on a feeding frenzy.

The best spots are usually long, slack water pools below riffles. The riffles are really important. They don’t have to be anything big or dramatic. Just a short run with lots of big rock will give the fish in the pools what they need at this time of the year — oxygen and food.

The moving, bubbling water tends to pick up oxygen. It stays in the water as it moves down into the pool and makes for a great place for the fish to live.  Fish are no different than people when it comes to how this affects their behavior.  It also washes insects, worms and all sorts of other food stuff into the pool. The fish don’t need to move very far to eat. That’s a combination that’s made for anglers.

You can catch them with almost anything using ultra-light tackle. Small in-line spinners, Beetle Spin-type baits, spoons and small jigs hung below a bobber will all work. If you prefer crankbaits or something that looks a little more natural, give some of the tiny crankbaits a shot. Some of the best ones look and swim just like the real thing.

The rivers are doing the same thing only on a bigger scale. Their water is warming, too, and the fish are really feeding strong. Big catches are possible. On the bigger ones, though, you’ll have to fight boat traffic. But the smaller ones should be fishable.

On a totally different subject, I want to say a few words about Memorial Day. We should all take time to look back and pay tribute to those who came before us. In some way or another, every one of us owes something to past generations. We have all benefited from their efforts. That’s especially true of our veterans who served and who died in combat.

They made our lifestyle possible. We have problems and we have differences of opinion, but that shouldn’t keep us from recognizing the greatness of our country and the benefits we get from living in it.

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