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River Tip... Eddies

36 posts in this topic

an eddie is described in the geographical dictionary as...

A roughly circular movement within a current of air or water. Eddies may have the circular and intermittent motion of a vortex, the continuous corkscrew motion termed helicoidal flow, the cylindrical motion of rollers, or surge phenomena which are short-lived outbreaks of greater velocity in any flow.

ok? now that you know that... good luck, and have fun ... grin

this is how i define it. smile

when water hits something it's direction is altered. if it hits say, a bridge abuttment, it's flow is altered. at impact it's completly stopped for a brief moment and is forced backward to the side and around at the same time but hit from behind again by the oncomming current on the sides and from in back again. when they collide a swirl is formed. this swirl spreads out to the sides and will even go backwards to form an eddy on the upstream side of the tier. this area will have dead water in it usually underneath the surface a few feet at first form then continuously changed from surface to bottom from there and this dead area is not stable in one spot for very long, maybe a second or two. but it is predictable enough for baitfish to just kind of drift with the flow and always be inside of it and still be able to rest out of current, givin their small size. they are continuously , forcefully, moving around in this vortex and are easy prey for game fish hanging right next to the wall where there is another intermittent dead spot just on the other side of where impact takes place, with very little swirling, formed by the water going around it. as the baitfish are moved around they will eventually be swept into and in front of this area and munched by the waiting predator.

in back of the tier, downstream side, there is another eddy formed and is normally much larger and can go for a good distance from the bridge. it's mostly unpredictable like in front but the amount of continuous dead water is larger and will be all in back of it and only a little to the sides, assuming the ''foot'' doesn't have debris hung up there or by design have a flat surface coming off of it. then it would go sideways for a bit from the wall below and just above whatever is stopping the flow. these are my favorites. underwater eddies. baitfish are suprised and are swept over this, tumbling, and munched by waiting predators. everything depends on the shape of an object. completly flat und it goes upstream even, and up higher to disorient a fish.

but back to the downstream side... it's a good idea, if not excellent, to fish a long way from a bridge tier eddy. shape is the key, but amount of flow matters too. honestly, a big 'ole book would be needed to cover everything. i mean there's bottom type, flow speed, shape, size, upstream habitat... any number of things matter in how the downstream side will be affected. the rule, IMHO, is fish out at least 30 feet to each side and in back a couple hundred or more. these, all three, i like to define as fast water eddies. heavier compact lures like a 2 ounce spinnerbait with willow blades or a 3 to 4 ounce spinnerbait with colorados, 3 ounce jigs, storm plastic shads... that type. cranks maybe but they can be tricky, best to use a sinking type. these areas are tackle eaters too. so put the favorites away untill you know the area. i have a 12/0 treble with weight melted on and a retired tag rope from work (best money can buy, 3/16 rope 3000 lbs tensil) i retrieve stuff back with. tires aint got a chance laugh

another kind of eddy is next... river bends and turns.

any questions about the above anyone has i'll try and answer as best i can.

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So your saying that an eddy will form upstream of whatever object disrupts the flow? Even an island? I would have never thought this and if its true, I have no reason to doubt I guess since I don't know rivers, I would think while baitfish might get caught up in it, the larger fish would prefer back end of eddies where these is more slack water to rest in out of the current.

I also don't get this

Quote:
assuming the ''foot'' doesn't have debris hung up there or by design have a flat surface coming off of it

I'm guessing the foot is the downstream eddy? But what or how is the flat surface by design?

Thanks,

Zelmsdawg

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first, yes it will go upstream unless it is so aero-dynamicly constructed it flows perfectly around it. very few can do it. it's hard to really explain it thouroughly. the surface structure can look one way and underneath the construction can be another shape entirely. it's the ''vortex'' that sends it backwards. not very far mind you but it does and this will create areas for rest out of ''direct'' oncoming current. the ''foot'' is the bottom of the tier... abuttment... consider what you see at the surface the ''leg'' and as it gets to the bottom it widens into a ''foot'' for greater stability.

by design i mean the shape of the foot. some are squared off in a box-like shape, some are rounded some are stop sign shaped some need to be very wide at the base and are weirdly shaped with several edges. the current hitting these different shapes make it do different things according to it's shape. a flat box like shape will create a different eddy underwater than a round.

by debris i mean logs, rocks, volkswagons, whatever is at the base that gets hung up on like say... for example... rebar thats exposed from the tier. it will create an eddy. most are really hard to fish without losing stuff. but they hold everything fishable in a river. other debris can be a mishap when building a bridge, like a truckload of concrete getting dumped wrong, or the mold breaks and concrete splills out the sides making it a flat wall underwater. any number of things. if you don't fish the upside of in-current river structure eddies (not limited to bridges remember) your missing out on some of the best action in a river.

some of the best crappie action in a river is right smack dab against a tier directly in the current. there's dead water next to basicly any tier on any bridge in any river. cast a bobber with minnow against the wall and let it swirl around once. BTW. what eats crappies? uh huh. smile smallies too sit here in big schools. what eats smallies before a crappie if given a choice? uh huh. grin

and downstream theres fish yes, but preferences? dunno, i aint a fish. i just know they are up, middle and downstream of in current mid river structure. anything else?

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how do you fish eddies in relatively fast water? such as casting angles. Quartering up/downstream, perpendicular to the normal current, lined up in the slack water, etc?

I figure once I get out I'll try it all, but just curious if there's a general guideline that you follow

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So how about a big boulder our other obstruction sitting on the bottom that doesn't stick out of the surface of the water? Same or similar effect as a pier or bridge support?

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So how about a big boulder our other obstruction sitting on the bottom that doesn't stick out of the surface of the water? Same or similar effect as a pier or bridge support?

Yep. There are some great video's on youtube of guys who dive on rivers with muskies, shows you just how subtle of a spot they need to get out of the current.

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wow so many questions.. i'll try. smile

Quote:
how do you fish eddies in relatively fast water?

the lures i mentioned are my preferred presentations in fast water in general, not just around eddies. but if i want to do, say, a crankbait like a super shad rap, i set up on one side of the eddy (i anchor a lot) cast past the other side (in a fan cast pattern to cover the whole thing) and let the current bring it inside the eddy and then just retrieve. then set up on the other and do it again.

it depends on the depth and the type of structure some too whether i'll use a crank bait on the upside or sides. too deep and i just blow it off most times... UNLESS it's a bridge tier near shore where another eddy, like a river bend, is in close proximity to the one off a bridge or other construction. these are nice producers. fish pass between both and will hit on the way. usually these areas are also a good funneling area where the current picks up. always good no matter where.

with sinking type lures i like doing the same as with a crankbait but i'll also float inside the eddy and conrol with the electric to stay inside it. and just cast the area. or if theres a place to tie a tether i'll let out a bunch of rope and just let the boat swing back and forth from current to eddy to the other side in current back to the eddy, and so on. casting sometimes or just letting the boats movement to work my lure with the rod sitting still with occational snap or rise here and there. fish finders are helpfull on what depth fish (or baitfish) are at to tell when to bring it up. and setting up well below and casting up inside works too. really hard to fish them wrong IMO. i mean, it's pretty obvious when a lure just isn't doing what it's supposed too. comon sense is the best tactic. good luck.

Quote:
hey bigfish, do you have any tips for nightfishing rivers?

fish the same areas you can safely fish at night that you would durring the day. just nearer the surface works better for me. and don't go flying around even if your a river rat. LOGS. and you'd be suprised how many canoes i've almost smacked into. what is with people and no lights and canoes? yes, i swamped a few too. nothing i could do about it even going just 20 MPH.

Quote:
So how about a big boulder our other obstruction sitting on the bottom that doesn't stick out of the surface of the water? Same or similar effect as a pier or bridge support?

similar. but not exactly. because the water runs over the top the eddy will be thinner, or, not as spread out and not as long behind. but yes they create eddies below and to the sides. to create one behind it, it would need to be pretty big, or completly flat, to even make an eddy big enough to be worth fishing.

Hope this helps smile

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just a little add to the post above...

Quote:
it would need to be pretty big, or completly flat, to even make an eddy big enough to be worth fishing.

a little known thing about bridges is when they are dredging to sink in the pillars there's a lot of rocks and boulders. some the size of trucks. these rocks and boulders are put back in the river in piles, usually but not as a rule downstream. sometimes there are several piles. they are never too far from the bridge. find these piles and you found structure you will probably never see on any map, and existing contour maps won't show them. this is also true about bridges on lakes. these are fish magnets. i like them best when theres a nice flats area below a bridge. the popularity and reason theres muskie and pike off the flats below the 94 brige on the croix is partly owed to this fact. some of these rocks from the 94 bridge were also dumped into the 60 foot hole just south of it. createing a beutifull area for anything your looking for.

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Maybe a final question, but its late on a Friday and I'm still "working" so I could be full of lots of questions... I know you've indicated you'll fan cast areas and play the current to direct the lure into the strike zone - do you (or more importantly the fish) prefer the lure to be moving cross current, into the current, or with the current. The reason I ask is that someone (can't remember who) sometime told my dad and us boys that you "ALWAYS" fish into the current because "ALL" the fish are looking upstream waiting for their next meal to come by. That said, I've always had it in my head to keep the lure moving upstream... Clearly all the fish don't always do the same thing but is this premise directionally accurate?

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Quote:
Maybe a final question

hmmmm, i think you must have been writing fast so you could get back to work... laugh

the great debate continues.

i think what you meant was fish face into the current and wait for food to come ''downstream'' to them. so you'd need to let it follow the current to them instead of comming up from behind them. IMO? h-e double toothpicks, NO. if i was fishing for walleye and had a rig with a worm or minnow, yeah. i'd cast upstream and let it drift down. ok, let's say i'm fishing for walleye again. same rig i'd cast it down stream and work it back to me. only difference is enough weight. obviously i need more working back through than for a drift. just enough to get it down on a drift and just enough to ''keep it down'' coming back. coming back i lose ten times as much tackle but i catch way more fish. once i know a specific area well i know where to target and where those little underwater eddies are, and where not to cast. some other people like it one way, whatever give them confidence, more power to them. but me? i'll adapt according to prior experience. i'm never afraid to just wing it and i catch more fish than if i just kept to one way or one tactic. i lose a lot of tackle but i'm not afraid to tie another knot.

as far as in and around an eddy for muskie i just fish it like the area allows me to. lures are chosen by the conditions. and that can be different tommorow than it is today. day to day week to week. but a spinnerbait properly weighted and blade sized/style to the conditions is always great no matter what. it's my confidence lure. cool

is this what your looking for?

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Makes sense to me Don - I'm reading this and thinking of the swign bridge at the Hudson Narrows, not because I know or think its a good musky spot, but because I've fished walleyes around there a lot so I'm picturing all the eddies and how to approach them. It would seem a bulldawg type lure dropped in and around eddies as well as ripped in and out of eddies could be effective... Way too much thinking for a Friday afternoon. I'll keep an eye on the WBL launch so we can get to work on the video trolling.

-erik

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Quote:
I'm reading this and thinking of the swign bridge at the Hudson Narrows, not because

yup.

and that weedy bay just around the corner aint bad either.... and, and, and...

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Quote:
similar. but not exactly. because the water runs over the top the eddy will be thinner, or, not as spread out and not as long behind. but yes they create eddies below and to the sides. to create one behind it, it would need to be pretty big, or completly flat, to even make an eddy big enough to be worth fishing.

oops, sorry about that.

i wrote it needs to be pretty big to form ''behind'' it. missprint... it should read... to form a fishable size eddy on the upstream side or above, it needs to be pretty big or flat.

coffee time!! smile

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If you anchor a lot, do you carry a couple because I have to guess you lose quite a few. And with all the debris, logs and whatnot in a river and especially like it sounds in eddies why wouldn't you just throw topwater all the time to avoid snags? Are they not as efficient or effective with current?

Thanks,

Zelmsdawg

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ok on to river bends and eddies.

really this isn't too accurate of a discription. i prefer to call them ''shoreline eddies''. mainly because there is other things on a shoreline that create eddies other than just turns. some man made structures create the same eddies as a turn will. as will any outcrop of the shore, like a rock or finger point, or just a regular point.

basicly, in simple terms, any smallish area that allows water to fill it and be out of current is a shoreline eddy. too large (where the actual shore is a long long way away) of an area is considered a bay or backwater and isn't a true eddy. that's not to say they aren't good fish holding areas. they are. great even. especially near the edge where current turns to slack.

a shoreline eddy still has actual water movement caused by the current coming directly into it and is forced back into current at one or more places. and does not have a current as a result of it's capacity being filled and spilling out downstream as a result. that's a bay or backwater and there will be almost zero or zero swirl.

a shoreline eddy will have water coming back on itself from bottom to top. when water hits the second shoreline of say, an eddy shaped like this... ( ... with the water hitting the top point on the right and continuing down to the bottom point on the right the current is forced, slowly in bigger eddies, back to the upper tip where it's put back in the curent and some is forced in at that spot and some to the main river and some back down to the bottom and back in. it's a continuous cycle repeated over and over. although theres still some current in them they make perfect areas for all fish to rest and feed. an eddy can be tiny like 1 foot long or huge like hundreds of yards long. these are the easiest of all eddies to fish of any IMO. easy to find easy to use any lure you choose, so easy to fish. BUT, i observe people all the time avoiding not one of the, but THE, most productive area of any shoreline eddy shaped similar to these. t.v. shows i've seen, books , articles, whatever, never mention it as far as any i've seen. pretty funny because as muskies go this area is hot as the sun. walleyes, cats, dogs, carp the sturg, whatever, don't mainly rest in this area... they are there to eat. i'm not going to tell it just yet. i want someone, anyone, to tell me. (in detail and why it works so well, so i know it's not just a guess). any takers? smile

types of shoreline eddies include this < type also. let's say this < is on a straight shoreline. it could be anything, like a big rock or a tree or man made stuff like rock piles or a mooring deck. any number of things. just after this the river continues straight. behind this structure theres a nice fishable eddy. and depending on the actual shape it may be above also. something going to the bottom will be more fishable than say, a tree just sitting near the top because water goes underneath a tree or dock (pretty much all docks on a river float and are secured by sleeves on posts anchored or sunk in the bottom to allow for river level changes, i've seen a few on chains but not many). but behind that tree is a rest/feeding area. always worth the effort. anyway, as the current heads around the < it forms a swirl. this is an eddy. but because the river stays straight it's going to be fished more towards a fast water eddy type than a shoreline eddy like a ( is. mainly because the swirling water coming back up won't be far away. unless of course it juts out a pretty good distance, then it's fished like a ( is. ( see how hard this is to cover? there's soooo many types crazy and variables it's nut's)

i'm going to stop and wait for questions. too much to just wing info out there i think.

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I don't know the answer, but I'll take a guess anyway. Lately I've been casting down the current breaks on the backside of eddies and we've seen a few fish that way. It was the only way I was managing to see fish a few nights ago.

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Quote:
been casting down the current breaks on the backside of eddies and we've seen a few fish that way. It was the only way I was managing to see fish a few nights ago.

what do you mean by backside breaks? up or downstream edge? bays before or after? smaller continuous points? or something else? specificly what do you consider backside.. start or end?

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downstream. specifically of a rock point eddy. drifting past the eddy and casting back upstream along the seam.

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lol, nice guess and almost the same as i mean. cool .. but not what i mean. i see people fishing what your describing pretty often. these are killer areas you described though.

what i'm talking about is this eddy... ( ... where the river current passes a bend at the top and hits it again because the river bends back out again further down. what i never see is people working well below that second turn. it looks like it's got a lot of current and i'm sure that's why. but there is slack water for a ways past it and past that is managable water speed fish like a muskie, pike, cat's or other larger fish can hold in. i see the top worked below it all the time. but never past the bottom.

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i'm a little fuzzy on the description but i always work eddies for bass and walleyes on the downstream side as well.

my good spots are the push, before it hits an obstruction, then the current seam, and the the washout before the normal current resumes.

Usually the most active fish are sitting in the push or on the washout, in my experience, although that certainly changes with the size of the eddy and the water clarity, current speed, etc. man i love rivers

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it's the washout on the second turn of this eddy ... ( ... that i'm describing. but well below from where it comes out, way below. keep in mind i'm trying to keep it simple using 10 words not 1 to stay away from terms not understood by most lake guys. like ''where the current and slack of the eddies' edge meet'' instead of ''seam''. i'm sure thats why your confused about the description. laugh

yup, i love rivers too. one day your the king next your the jester. grin

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ok, on to another of my favorite underwater eddies, or submerged eddies. i'd even put it on top of my list as the most productive cast for cast of any structure anywhere. it's also about as easy to find as your car in your garage. because you already know right where it is. it fit's into a catagory i call ''sometimes perfect eddies''. because it's only super great sometimes. good all the time but only great under certain easy to identify conditions. the well known term is ''Delta''. a delta is best defined as.. a deposit of sand, silt, and clay where faster water enter's a slower body of water and drop's it's sediment deposit. deltas are mostly triangular in shape, with one of the triangles' points pointing upstream, toward the source of faster water... deltas produce well for muskie pretty much all the time (any fish really) but they produce best for me when the slower water rises and speeds up dramaticly.

when it speeds up there's an unbelieveable eddy formed by this delta, a delta can basicly be described as a sand bar if you don't get too technical. instead of being just under the surface a foot or more or even emergent a foot or more it's now well below the surface. just below a delta is usually a small to medium sized area where a super shallow, unfishable eddy is formed or even dry in real low water. when the water rises the eddy get's bigger, or forms, and has plenty of reverse current in it. plus the up and downstream side of the delta itself forms a beautifull eddy that can be pretty massive depending on the size of the delta. it will most times stretch out into the main river a good distance. the eddy is such that you may not even need your electric to stay in it. the surgeing and returning currents most of the time just keep you going around and around in it without effort.

basicly it's a fish magnet, a perfect storm if you will. just about every bit of food for baitfish coming into it will get thrown around in it and stays in it just like your boat or log or whatever get's caught in it. and baitfish means big fish. the faster the water the better for me.

to find them just look for fast water coming into slower water when the water is low and you'll find a delta 90 percent of the time, as long as the feeder isn't anything but rock's in it's bed and bank's. and when it rains A LOT, wallah, there it is.

back in '94 we had all that rain as some of you may remember. we fished three different deltas on the croix/sippi pretty much exclusively that whole year. i caught more fish, and bigger fish over all, than anytime in my life. my biggest smallie was then. my biggest northern untill last year, my biggest cat, biggest dogfish and at the time i just missed my best muskie by an inch. i caught a few smallish specimens of the sturge too. a trout farm overflowed and for a short time we even hooked into them. that was my best year for numbers of muskie too. i can't tell you how much i wish we'd get a flood like that again... heck even close to it would be cool. grin

edit... and my best sauger, and my best walleye untill 4 years ago.

hope this helps, any questions?

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So this delta is more or less in lake terms a sunken island of sand that will deflect current? Will this mainly happen with smaller feeder creeks or can it happen on a larger scale...like where the St. Croix goes from the river to the lake? I think I've actually seen things like this and even beached my canoe on them in smaller rivers.

Zelmsdawg

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Quote:
like where the St. Croix goes from the river to the lake?

awsome observation Zdawg. north of the bridge and about the spot where the island's are, out from the boomsite launch, there is a massive sediment build up (delta). pretty much the entire area is covered except the main channel that's marked by the navigation markers/bouy's. stray outside and you risk getting beached... completely. even in higher water that area is dangerous because of the small islands that will be underwater then. because of the islands it could really be considered several seperate deltas, but not technicly. in a geologist's mind it's called a distributary network. this is caused by several different channels flowing through the entire area. basicly it's one delta with a bunch of fingers. some big, some small, and a couple that are just huge. some are classic shaped but there's some fan shaped ones, and weird ones also. not that it matters but i figured i'd just throw that in. grin .... anyway, yes, it's a baitfish haven. yes it's got everything imaginable eating them. like anything it's about the timing and if a fish wants your presentation. and in high water should never be ignored. in low water fish can be pretty spooky from a long, long, ways away. anyway, on to your other questions.

in Minnesota, it doesn't matter how big the feeder is. as long as it's going faster than the water it's hitting, and has proper sediment, it will form a delta in front. if the waters are near the same speed, or the feeder is slower it will form a downstream delta. it won't be in front of the feeder out too far, if at all, maybe even up into the feeder. it will form mostly downstream of the feeder mouth, and depending on the waters it's feeding into and what ''it'' does can form down and out and inshore, only down and out, or only in, in rare cases it could form ''upstream'' on itself. a gajillion shapes and sizes are possible. even islands can and do get formed this way.. too small a feeder and it probably won't get big enough to matter, but it will form one.

i guess kind of like an underwater island on a lake but i never thought about them that way. but it could be used very loosly that way i suppose.

answer your questions?

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