Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bottom Feeders on the Surface??

My buddy Jay and I fished a local river yesterday evening for a bit.  The section we fished is downstream of a flood-control reservoir, which is still recovering from our early-summer rains. Consequently, the river is still flowing very high and fast.  There is some foam on the water that collects along shoreline eddies.  Water clarity was decent, but there was suspended rod-shaped algae particles in the water.

We went hoping to find White Bass & Wipers, and anticipated long casts would be necessary to reach the fish.  So, I left my fly rods in the car and too my spinning rods.  Big mistake.  Again.

Jay caught a small Smallmouth Bass on a Pop-R.  I saw signs of fish feeding in and under the foam along a shoreline eddy.  I foul-hooked a couple Smallmouth Buffalo.  I knew I could get these fish to hit a fly, so I dug in my sling pack and found a likely-looking fly (I had just taken my usual fly boxes out of my sling pack before I left the car, but still had some flies on the foam fly-patch inside the sling pack), and grabbed a larger strike indicator that would be visible even in the foam.  I set the indicator about 7" above the fly (the fly was a glass beadhead woolly bugger in kind of a natural mottled brownish color).  The fish were right under the areas with the thickest foam.  I don't think it would have been possible to get a floating fly to the bottom of the foam for the fish to actually find and eat.  But many of the fish had their mouths right up into the foam...a very unusual position for this species.

It took awhile, and I may have had several light strikes that I didn't bother trying to hook, but then I finally got a serious fish to hit it.    24" Smallmouth Buffalo, a new personal best on the fly rod for me.

Despite the low-slung mouth of a dedicated bottom-feeder, they are actually rather pretty fish.  They are blue-colored on their lower flanks.  This one had so much foam on him because of where I landed it, so I only took a picture of his pouty mug.


  1. Only a face a mother could love.....................
    Congratulation on your new personal best...........
    Wooly Buggers can do it all!

  2. Those tailwaters can be a blast to fish , you just never know what species you're going to hook next or how big it will be. I bet that fish put up a pretty good tug in that current!