Learning your river

Discussion in 'OHIO RIVERS TALK' started by catfishrollo, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Sorry guys, i hate posting things all the time, but really do want to help those that need it. i have gained soo much myself since being on the BOC, thanks to everyone that has p.m me and posted to answer my questions.. I think the biggest thing I can think of, from all the questions and posts i've read on here, about river fishing has really not to do with the river you fish, but maybe how you fish it. there are plenty of rivers in ohio that hold big fish. I spent many years trying to find the deepest areas, best looking spots i could find. And that will catch you fish, trust me. I'm not saying don't fish them areas. but you can waste time fishing spots that you would think would produce, but don't. i think the biggest thing is people aren't spending the time to learn the river they fish. not how it lays on the surface or map, but where the channel runs through it. i know i posted earlier in another post about obvious spots, such as bends and eddies, im a firm believer these are good areas, but everyone knows them. you need to get out on the water, get a feel for the channel , where it swings and pushes, maybe certain structures submerged it runs through or against. your main channel may flow at different currents, some faster than other areas, these are the ways of learning those hidden areas. Once you understand your river it starts to become easier. It's not about someone being a better fisherman than the next guy. I get tired of hearing that. Anyone can do this sport, you have to spend the time and really concentrate on the water. like i said before, i look at long streches a few miles, but you can't speed through them while looking. it may take two three four trips to sucessfully study a 5 mile stretch. Even then they may not produce. But, it you use this over a period, i bet you start figuring out where you need to be. i hope everyone has a great year, and i promise i will quit writing these long posts... i hate reading them myself:lol:
     
  2. Catfish_John1979

    Catfish_John1979 New Member

    Messages:
    37
    State:
    Dayton, Ohio, U
    My experience with river fishing is... you have your basic theory... say you have a dam... right after the damn you are going to have a swift section.... ive found that after the swift section you will have a hole... ( my favorite spots to fish) usually have structure.. due to log jams or etc right at the head of the hole... old bridges that are in the water make great structure for flatties... my most productive spot is just down stream from a damn after the dam is a rapids(swift area) and a bridge they blew up years ago... and its right at the head of the hole.... then you will have what ppl refer to as the run... which in my experience is a calm water area... can have good fishing too... like stated about... eddies... bends... etc .. are know good spots... but usually overfished... the biggest advice i can give about river fishing.. is if you find a spot that produces.. that doesnt mean you have to stick to it... keep searching the river... because once ppl see you fishing a spot and it produces fish... it will end up being overrun.. overfished.. unless its really secluded... ive also found that a rising water level makes the flatties put the feed bag on... just be safe... high water is swift.. and dangerous...hopefully my 2 cents is helpful to someone

    John
     

  3. bilyjojimbob

    bilyjojimbob New Member

    Messages:
    227
    State:
    North Carolina
    A long post is usually informative. thanks for all the info, keep postin, and good luck to ya.
     
  4. dudlbugr

    dudlbugr New Member

    Messages:
    176
    State:
    Cleveland, AL
    Great post, rollo.
    I have been fishing the Mississippi here at Greenville for about 20 years, and I'm still learning it. A lot of times, I go out with 2 or 3 places I know I'm gonna fish, and will spend the rest of the day looking at the fish finder, hoping to find one good fish to fish for. Several years back, I read in an In-Fisherman article ( the catfish edition that ran about 3 magazines!) that said that a river was made of 3 sections, repeated over and over. Ripple, hole, and run. In the Mississippi, the dikes are the ripple, the scour holes are the holes, and everything else is the run, pretty much. Something like 90% of all fish caught in a river were caught in the run. Well, the run covers a lot of space!
    But other fishermen sometimes accuse me of wasting time and gas because I spend a lot of time riding and looking. I also realize that the currents are different on a 3 tenths rise than they are on a 3 tenths fall. There are an awful lot of variations just due to currents and river stage.
    I also like to think... I might be wrong... but I think you can get an idea of what the river looks like under the water by looking at the lay of the land adjacent to the water you want to fish. Watch how often, on an inside bend, the land makes steps down to the water. Sweep the timber off of the land, and it looks a lot like it does under the water.

    Huh! Guess I went kind of long, too! This is almost getting into "fishing-philosophy!"
     
  5. onlyriverfish

    onlyriverfish Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Nebraska
    Name:
    james
    Jason,
    Nice post.
    Sounds like you are feeling the rewards of "effort and persistence". Been there still feeling that. Its said that 90% hold in 10% of the water, but not all the 10% is at the same place.
    The persistence part to me is how can "I" change my approach and the willingness to make it happen.

    Good fishing this year!
     
  6. beetle

    beetle New Member

    Messages:
    1,003
    State:
    Ohio
    Great post guys! I like to learn as much as possible, some things may take more than once of hearing it before the info sinks in. dudlbugr...In-Fisherman just prints an annual Catfish Insider magazine now, it comes out in April every year. Its on the stands now, though I thought the 2006 issue was better.
     
  7. SubnetZero

    SubnetZero New Member

    Messages:
    1,619
    State:
    Sherman IL
    I believe it was Pee-Wee that posted a while some really good tips on learning your river.. Best one I remember, was leave your pole at home during low water levels, and just walk/scout sections of the river. Take notice of all the different things that will be covered when the water rises back up (cuts, structure, holes, etc etc) ... then go back and fish em
     
  8. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    if i took a pole, i simply wouldn't get any scouting done. walking would be fine, but we don't have very good terrain in most areas, and im too lazy to walk 2 or three miles at a time.lol i do think if you have access to get up and down river during low water periods, that would be an excellent time to do your scouting. however i have spots that i only fish in high water conditions that have produced fish reguarly, so i like to scout in high water as well to look for them spots that normally wouldn't have water.
     
  9. Abu65

    Abu65 Member

    Messages:
    582
    State:
    Kentucky
    Great post! I have been fortunate enough to fish several large rivers such as the Tennesee, Cumberland & the Ohio. The Ohio is where I spend most of my time & where I cut my teeth on cat fishing. Its extremely important to learn how to adapt to several different situations, weather, water level, water temp. ect & to be able to find feeding fish. The fish seem to act differently in all the rivers I fish. They respond to differnt baits & different presentations. Thats why this site is really good you can take what you learn & try it where you fish if it doesnt work dont forget it you may be fishing some place different next week & it may work there. Good luck & keep trying and learning.
     
  10. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    Very good post Rollo, I think you have stated a hard reason for being on the water. You can't find fish every time or even a majority of the time if you won't go and spend time on the water. Its as simple as that. I have only been doing this for 9 years, and I know you have at least 10 more yrs of experience than that. Yet you say, like myself, that you still have tons to learn. In my mind I know nothing lol, There are still times and conditions that challenge me to find fish. I look forward to them, I would hate to go out every time and catch a 50 pounder in the same hole or spot. That would soon get boring. I want high water, cold water, clear, muddy, low water. If its not a challenge then its not fishing to me. Fish when you can and fish new water often. It'll make you a better fisherman.
     
  11. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    skip don't make me out to sound good. i may talk a good line, but still don't know sh*t. i agree to a point. i think experience does give you an upper hand on some people. especially when i fish tourneys. It would scare the hell out of me if i had to fish against tony. that guy i guarentee knows alot about fishing, and has that elder approach to things. he don't talk alot, but when he does its always good. there you go tony props for ya lol. and i may have fished a few more years than you skip, but you have told me stuff i have never thought about. you can gain knowledge from anyone if you just absorb what they are saying. this is a lifetime learning sport, and we can never know too much about what were doing.:smile2:
     
  12. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    in case anyone wants to know water on the muskingum was around 55 degrees today. caught some channels in logjams.
     
  13. cats gone wild

    cats gone wild Member

    Messages:
    452
    State:
    canal winchester, ohio
    Thank's again Jason for the update. I'm hoping to get on the river around 2 a.m. or so. I'm going to use frozen shad, fresh cut sucker, and live bluegills. I'll post on how I did and how many mishaps I had. lol...
     
  14. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    phil, you are the only person i know that would drive from canal winchester in the month of April, not to start until 2 a.m, in 55 degree water. to fish. We need to talk! i thought i was dedicated, but you just shown how dedicated a true catman should be ! good luck:smile2:
     
  15. hungoalie

    hungoalie New Member

    Messages:
    27
    State:
    ohio
    im more limited in the spots i fish with no boat but it all holds true.the more you study the spots the more you learn about them. I just need to find more spots. John
     
  16. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    i hope i didn't give the wrong response, like i said before obvious spots will produce fish usually. if there is alot of fishing traffic in that area, you will see the numbers decrease per night. trust me! these are still spots that do attract bait and fish. but, if you want to catch them consistentely, im sayin a 30-50 pound average a night on the musky., you need to find the overseen spots. these maybe spots that would totally blow your mind, and you have motored through them for years. the only advice i can say is slow down!!!
     
  17. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    i had the opportunity to fish with a fellow worker this evening, that doesn't fish. for the fun of it i asked him to pick out areas he thought might be good places to fish. i told him we would go for a ride and i would turn back around, and we would go somewhere i thought he could have some fun! it wasn't difficult need i say for a non-fisherman to pick out the obvious spots. actually, i got a laugh out of it. i have spent how many nights and years on the water, and a rookie that knows hardly anything can show me decent spots!..... we had some small bites in the obvious spots he liked. we then went to a spot i know. we only had i bite there, but a 9 pound channel was caught. im trying to make a point, but i dunno if anyone understands??? this is an honest post from today, that i decided to post because of my thread and so many people asking about what to look for and where to go. im gonna say the biggest downfall to the catfishermen is they speed through areas and don't scout them well enough. slow down guys, they are there. u just gotta look closer....rollo
     
  18. joeczar

    joeczar New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    Parma, Ohio
    Thank you for the post they are both very informative and appreciated
     
  19. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    The spot you knew about.... I expect it came from scouting? What did it have that made you stop and fish it? Bank structure, underwater structure, depth change, bottom consistency, current, slack area?
     
  20. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    Also, spots come from fishing different areas and structures that you normally wouldn't fish. Or they don't look like much at first glance. Other spots are where bait congregates be it shad ,crappies and bass or minnows, or crayfish. Each of those will draw cats in looking for food. Thats why dams are a good producer. But rip rap works too and rock ledges even shallow gravel bars. It doesn't mean you can catch fish there all the time but if you time it right you can make good catches on things like that. If you find cover or lots of cover in a stretch of river you can set up between the food and the cover and intercept roaming fish. You don't always have to set up on a specific log jam to catch fish. Experimentation and educated guesses will gain the most in learning where fish will be or where they are. It just isn't really about (you can always catch fish at spot X or spot Y, or if you set up on structure Z) None of the stuff I have ever read about catfishing told me where to find 30+ pounders, I can't point anyone to a specific sure thing. Time on the water and generalities will have you catching fish. Then fine tune your tactics. I wish I could help you more but there is no sure thing in big flat fishing. I catch alot more under 30 than I do over 30. All the questions in the above post are good ones and all of them could come into play or none of them. Some of them I have never considered. But try them out , (more than once) and see if there is a difference.