This time of year — postspawn for most of the country — you really hear a lot about fishing offshore. Creeks can be good for a number of reasons. I believe one of the biggest reasons is because of the cooler water. As the water starts to heat up around in the main river or lake, the creeks will often have cooler water temperatures.
It's relatively easy to figure out if a creek is holding fish or not. Look for the obvious things first like laydowns and overhanging trees. I will also check the channel swings before I decide if a creek is good or not.
I am always looking for clear water and cooler water. This week the Bassmaster Elite Series Lake Dardanelle event is not shaping up that way. Three straight days of rain have muddied the creeks up. The creeks can still hold fish, but they might not pan out the way they would have if the water was still clear.
Keep an eye on how the tournament plays out. It will be interesting to see if the creeks clear up enough to be a major factor in this tournament. If they do clear up, the winner could very well come from the back of a creek. If they don't, look for the winner to come from something on the main body of the lake.
I like to target creeks with a number of shallow water baits. Flippin' and pitching baits to obvious targets are two of my favorite techniques. I usually turn to a Tightlines UV Beaver or a MESU jig for these techniques.
I'll also use a square bill like the Livingston DM 20 or the new Howeller Square bill prototype. Both of these baits allow me to cover a lot of water and quickly determine if the creek is holding fish or not.
I always watch my temperature gauge when I am fishing creeks. Just a few degrees cooler can be a sign of a great creek.
When the fish pull off of the beds and start to move to deeper water, think outside the box and check the back of creeks. Find the right creek with clearer and cooler water and you might just be surprised at how good creek fishing during this time of year can be.