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Post-Spawn Smallies


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Piling on with the Mille Lacs smallies thread...I'm fishing a lake this week that I've never had much luck on despite excellent populations of smallies. Lake has stained water and I'm reading reports water temps will be in the 60-65 range. I've fished this lake with similar conditions before and its been tough. Water is too stained to site fish and its a big enough lake that fish seem to really spread out. You'll catch one here or there, but never develop a consistent pattern. Would love to pick the collective brain and see if anyone has any tactics they've used with success. Besides throwing tubes near structure, I've given some serious thought to just tying on a wacky rig under a float and just chucking it out there. Can't do any worse than I did last year at this time.

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Just find the boat trail I left and go in the opposite direction.

Seriously though, this time of year can be tough unless you know spots where smallies spawn so you can check beds and pull out deeper from those areas to find some post spawn fish if they're not in shallow.

Obviously, based on my report, I don't know any of those spots. You might want to wait until later in the summer (late June through August) when the crayfish bite develops on the rocks and the bite is a little more predictable.

If not, have a plan B in case you can't find the bass. Walleyes can be found just about anywhere right now.

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When I have trouble finding fussy smallies I'll get off the first break into deeper water and watch my electronics....Invariably there will be some suspended smallies , often as not, 15 to 20 deep over much deeper water. Usually you can pick up a few of them using swimbaits, jerkbaits , hair jigs, even topwaters.....A blast on light tackle and no weeds to deal with.....Good luck.

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Juan, that actually made me laugh.

I'd love to pick a plan B, unfortunately, this is my father-in-law's trip and they've been going to the same lake for 30+ years. They are all walleye guys, so think I'm silly that I like to go chase bass. Lots of big fish in the lake, its just unfortunate, we are always there this time of year and it always seem to be post-spawn.

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Hiya -

See if you can figure out - or at least make an educated guess - on where some of them spawn. They like gravel and sand, and like to spawn next to stuff like a rock or log. See if you can spot old beds anywhere, then start looking around for nearby mid-depth flats leading to the basin.

Since you're kind of at square one, I'd go into search mode and use something you can cover water with and try to trigger a response. Get one to bite, then you can slow down and pick through the area. Smallies are gregarious, schooling fish. Where there's one, there's usually more.

I'd search using a grub on a jighead fished fairly fast, a tube on a heavy jighead you can snap and pop off the bottom, a fluke on a jighead you can fish like a jerkbait...even a spinnerbait or crankbait since the water's a little darker. Main thing is to find them, then you can slow down and see if there's anything concentrating them like a break or rock pile. It can be kind of a challenge though because they'll just mill around those 6-12' flats and park on whatever they bump their nose on - an isolated boulder pile, a little weedbed or weedline, or even just a depression on the flat.

Main thing is don't get too hung up on one spot of you do find them. At least in my experience this time of year they seem to be in small pods of 6-10 fish rather than big swarms you might see earlier and later in the season. Catch a few, but when the bite slows down, go back to search mode.

Good luck...



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