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RumRiverRat

Excessive Crawdads shutting down the bite?

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I have noticed for the last week that the SMB bite on the Rum River has slowed, I have noticed an extremely large amount of small 1/2" to 3/4" crawdads.

The bottom seems to be covered with them.

The last 3 times I have fished from St Francis going north, I have really had to work for the fish.

My money spots that would hold several fish seem devoid of fish or contain fish that are not biting.

I did manage to land a 34" Pike on Tuesday evening.

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Abundant crawdads might be keeping them well fed. How are the water levels? I would think all the rain in the last week would have the water up and moving faster. River fish are always repositioning with changing current. Maybe the smallies have moved in response to rising water...

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Theres lots of factors at play this time of year, water temp, water droppin and rising, available forage.

The biggest factors in a natural river are temp and current imho, both of these have probably changed drastically in the last couple weeks. With the temps rising from recent warm spell and the water dropping from no rain (before the last 2 days) The fish you were on probably moved. They were probably in the fastest water they could find, the best areas for me are shallow fast riffles with deeper water nearby. I don't know the Rum at all in those areas but thats what I would look for. Usually at the tail end of a riffle there is a deeper pool, the fish stack in these areas while at rest because of the oxygenated cooler water, then move into the riffle to feed using boulders and piles as current breaks.

How ever now that its cooled down and we have gotten some rain the fish will have moved again. river fish are constantly on the move, "spots" usually only produce when the conditions are right, you have to be able to adapt to the current conditions you are facing otherwise it will be a feast famine cycle. If I was to go out tomorrow I would look for areas that have water coming in, either from man made culverts or natural creeks flowing in. That fresh water is dumping all sorts of food in right now for the baitfish and they concentrate in these areas, bringing the bigger fish in. I've had unbelievable days fishing this pattern after a heavy rain, its especially good when its been dry for awhile!

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Superduty,

The water is rising steadily, we have gotten 7 inches of rain in the last 36 hours according to my rain gauge.

The only spot that has produce fish every time I have been on the water is a deep hole in a bend in the river, there are some large rocks on the bottom that seem to be where the fish stack up behind.

I tried the usual shadraps and other crank baits on Tuesday with no sucess. I tried 1/8 oz jigs with 4 inch craws, 6" power worms and 4" inch power grubs and came up empty.

I have caught 20 plus bass out of this hole in the last 4 weeks.

I am stumped, may have to expand the search area.

I do realize that "Spots" on a river change, I have had days where fish were spread out at random and all the matter was retrieving a shad rap as fast as possible.

Even with the SMB bite slowing down, I catch enough Pike to keep thing interesting.

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Very good post riverrat! I enjoyed it. Makes me want to try some river fishing again if it weren't for that scum line... I guess I do have a flat bottom though smile

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I had a similar experience in northern Wisconsin a few years ago. I was fishing a river that the bottom actually looked like it was moving under you because of the amount of small crawfish that had hatched. I tried wading it with sandals and cut my feet up by crunching the little guys underfoot.

Anyways, I tried to match the hatch with artificials and could not catch a single fish on any thing that resembled crawfish colors(or anything else for that matter). The only thing I could catch were a few small northerns. I finally decided I had had enough so I switched to live bait and was fishing big chubs figuring I'd at least catch some pike. I ended up

pounding huge smallies(averaged over 18") three different times fishing there like that. So I basically went opposite of the hatch fishing large baitfish when small crawfish were the present forage...

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I am not positive that the smallies even go after the tiny craws, there is not much there as far as protein and everything else, I think they attract the smaller bait fish that feed on them and thats what the smallies are feeding on. I am not positive on this but river fish have to have a certain amount of energy they can get from there food and if its not there they are not going to expend the energy to chase and then process the food if it results in a net loss.

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Very good post riverrat! I enjoyed it. Makes me want to try some river fishing again if it weren't for that scum line... I guess I do have a flat bottom though smile

They make soap for that grin and if you keep your boat out of the eddies the line is not that bad.

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I think that's true to an extent, but there isn't a meal that's much easier to get for a smallie than a nice crawdad. If a bass can get a bunch of them in a short amount of time, I'd imagine it would make up a good % of their forage.

I am not positive that the smallies even go after the tiny craws, there is not much there as far as protein and everything else, I think they attract the smaller bait fish that feed on them and thats what the smallies are feeding on. I am not positive on this but river fish have to have a certain amount of energy they can get from there food and if its not there they are not going to expend the energy to chase and then process the food if it results in a net loss.

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