Missouri river main channel help

Discussion in 'MISSOURI RIVERS TALK' started by BKS72, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    Guys, I've been doing pretty good this spring (for me, anyway) 3 fish over 20 lbs and 4 or 6 over 10lbs in the last month or so. But I've been catching them in relatively slack waters-behind L dykes mainly or on the flats between straight dykes. I'm always hearing about fishing the main channel and outside bends. I don't have a problem anchoring in the channel or bends (no more of a problem than you'd expect anchoring in 3-7 mph current, anyway) and I can usually keep my bait close to where I want it. I'm just wondering what to look for to fish these areas. I've seen what I think might be good spots on sonar-small depressions on the bottom of the channel 2-3 feet lower than the rest of the river bottom, but no monster holes. Sonar's not seeing any fish in them, but I know the cone's not that wide in 20' of water, either. I guess my questions are- on the main channel, am I looking for big holes or just enough structure or depression to break the current for the fish to rest in/behind or both?

    And on outside bends, do I want to get my bait as close as possible to the bank in the deepest part of the channel so it gets forced up against the bank and hopefully pushed into any undercut that might be there that the fish are in?

    Any help would be appreciated. I know the flats and slack areas are good at the right times, but I also think if I could figure out how to fish the channel portions of the river, I'd catch a lot more (and hopefully bigger:) ) fish.
     
  2. TeamCatHazzard

    TeamCatHazzard New Member

    Messages:
    517
    State:
    Illinois
    Usually when I fish the main channel there will be ridges you see. Or at least there are here. Usually if I see fish in them then I will try it, but I dont always go by what the finder says. If I see structure or ridges on the bottom then I will fish it. As far as the bends I really prefer the rocky bends but I dont know as if there is a big correlation on how close you have to be to the bank. i try to fan my rods out and cover the most area to see and then if they are hitting to one side then move a bit. Im not an expert on the MO river, but around here I just look for the ridges in the channels or any structure and just fish the bends in different spots. A good time to fish the channel is when the water gets low. The cats kinda use it as their travel highway. Good luck and it will be interesting to see what people respond on this.
     

  3. Blue Bruiser

    Blue Bruiser New Member

    Messages:
    200
    State:
    St Louis, Missouri
    I never fished the channel until last year. Aroun the end of july the blues came down with a sick case of lockjaw. So we drifted the channel and hammered em. Only kicker is the channel was the only place that was showing fish. We always fish the down sides of the dikes right at the head of the hole where it turns to flat. Always fish there, last year at this time a few fish showed up but none bit. Drifting the channel was the only thing that worked. Soon as september hit, channel was dead. All I can say is just find what works for you. Just cuz the channel works for one guy, it might not be in the cards for the other. Good luck bro.
     
  4. turtle1173

    turtle1173 Member

    Messages:
    613
    State:
    Mayfield, KY
    I regularly fish the outside channel bends here on the Mississippi. I don't know how this compares with the Missouri river but there are sure to be similar to some extent. Many of the banks here are a combination of rip rap rock and revetments (concrete slabs). There are lots of good drops and a few cuts mixed in.

    I've only fished these banks a couple times this year because the water has been cold and these are not really wintering areas. The current is stiff and retrieving your anchor is sometimes a challenge but they hold fish. The couple times I've fished them this year, they've produced a few over 10 lbs, a 20, 27, and a 31.

    Last year we caught 20's, 30's and Slimcat got a 52 lb Flatty in these areas also.

    You will just have to do some experimenting on "where" to set up. It doesn't take much of a drop to hold fish, esp with the kind of current that goes through there. Use your finder and find the drop, then go back over it closer to shore and find out how close the drop goes to the shore. I like to fish the drop where it hits the shore.

    Anyway, good luck and let us know how you do!
     
  5. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

    Messages:
    7,241
    State:
    DeSoto, MO
    I'm with Shane on this one. I really like those rock revetments on the outside bends, and sometimes inside bends depending on the wind. As miserable as it is, I try and fish the wind blown banks as this is where the shad will hole up to feed on the plankton that is being pushed to them by the wind. I know it can be frustrating to find those fish Stolib. Trial and error is the only way I know of. When you hit that magic spot, keep note of it as it will produce year after year under similiar conditions. On days when the fishing is slow, I will sometimes spend hours on the graph, driving in grid patterns back and forth and just looking. I found my best spot like this. This spot usually puts a whopper fish in my boat every year, and I can honestly tell you that I only fish this spot about twice a year as I dont want to burn it out. Its my go to hole if you will. I'll use it for tournament settings, and if I have a dear friend in the boat with me. Like Josh said, try and find anything that is different on your graph. A 1 foot drop from a ledge into the channel can hold fish. As well, several wing dykes have large humps of deposited silt that forms out in the channel anywhere from 50-100 yards downstream from the submerged dyke tip. These are relatively easy to find on your graph, and I can tell you they will regulary produce. I've found that if the Blue Cats are actively feeding on these humps you will see them suspended in 12-15 feet of water on the edges of the humps. If they are inactive and not feeding they will be on the bottom on the backside of the humps. The easy way to find these humps is to start at the dyke tip, and proceed at a 45 degree angle back towards the channel downstream. They are very very obvious. If you see suspended fish, you have found them. If I notice this, I will usually give the hole about 15 minutes to simmer, as I really feel the boat aggravates them a little. I will proceed upstream a bit, and cut the motor and put out the anchor and back down on them quietly. The 60 pounder in my avatar came off a hump about 100 yards below a dyke tip right on the edge of the channel. I'm pretty confident I painted that fish on the graph as it was the only echo I saw and the only one I caught. I painted him in 10 feet of water suspended out to the edge of the hump. If you paint a large number of fish on the bottom behind the hump, you found a wolf pack of blues, but they are inactive. Remember that location, and try and hit it early one morning, or later in the evening. Its pretty neat to see those same fish, up off the bottom and feeding aggressively. When you find an active hump, its not uncommon to see the shad chased to the surface by the blues. As much as I like to fish, I can honestly say the hours and hours spent just looking at my chart has paid dividends. Sure I'd rather be fishing, but I'm always looking for those new spots. I usually do all the looking when I'm by myself as my partners didnt appreciate it when I spent 4 hours at idle zig zagging back and forth. Good Luck with your search. I'm sure you find the mother load in short order. Your certainly looking in the right spots.
     
  6. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    Great info John and not unlike what I do here on Lake of the Ozarks. When I'm alone I tend to look for stucture and mark it on the GPS. I fished a new spot today shad were there and so were the cats. If you want to be successful you can't be lazy and always fish the same spots. I have a hot spot that I fish differently depending on wind direction but I try not to wear it out since now if anyone sees me fishing somewhere they drop 30 jugs there next time I'm out. If your not getting bit and you move your bait and change the cut of your bait its time to move on. The only time I camp on a spot is if I'm strictly after a trophy and I know the are there. Even an inactive fish will bite if the bait is presented in a manner he can't resist or under his nose. I used to think the structure had to be significant size wise but I've caught fish out of small channel dips no more than three feet. See ya on the water!
     
  7. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    Thanks for the great info, guys. I've gotten hung up on some of those humps coming up to the holes, but never fished them, Jet. Thanks for the head's up. Makes sense, they're resting in the hole and then hitting the shallows or higher in the hole for dinner.

    I need to fish the rip-rap more (I think the ones with a lot of pilings on the outside bends would be even better) but I'm lazy and hate retying after breaking off in the rocks. Need to get over it and start fishing them harder, I think. I don't think they get much pressure down here.

    I've started prining off the gage-level graph from the USGS site(30 days at a time) and marking it with what I caught and the grids of where I caught them. If I find some good spots this summer, it should be a pretty slick reference on where to fish for what the river is doing next year. Sorry if this post duped, I hit a key and the 'puter did something wierd. Thanks again!

    Branden
     
  8. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

    Messages:
    7,241
    State:
    DeSoto, MO
    You will be slaying those fish in no time Brandon. Dont give up. We all have slumps. When you least expect it, you'll end up with a 50 pound fish bouncing around in the bottom of your boat. Good Luck. Let us know how the hunt is coming.
     
  9. cross_their_eyes

    cross_their_eyes New Member

    Messages:
    156
    State:
    Show Me State
    I fish the Mo only. Stolib give this a shot; the next time you are on the river during the day fish the outside bends where the flat bottom meets the banks. The blues will use this as a corridor to move between holes, depressions and structure. At night the Blues move out of these holes to the shallows looking for a meal. This method works well during the summer when many of the blues are in the channel.
     
  10. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    Thanks for the info, guys. I've had pretty decent luck in the relatively slack areas lately (4 fish over 20# in the last month or so, which is great for me). I've hit some likely looking spots in the channel, but I think I'll hold off on them till the water gets warmer and they migrate to cooler, darker water.
     
  11. dougc

    dougc Active Member

    Messages:
    1,711
    State:
    Independen
    I've been having pretty good luck on the channel swing banks(where the channel runs into the outside bank, fishing the flats just upstream right up against the bank and maybe up to 50yds out). Usually a lot of debris on the bank and the bottom. Nothing big, 10-12lbs but pretty consistent action. Caught some blues last week, but only channels this weekend. Think the blue spawn is under way.
     
  12. Bigbluefisherman

    Bigbluefisherman New Member

    Messages:
    1,454
    State:
    Missouri
    I am no expert either! I just look for up and down bottoms and the slower water right above the fast water! I can never manage to catch anything real big in these spots, my biggest on the channel side is around 20#s. I like fishing on the upside of wing dykes, right above the deep water! My biggest there is 51#s! Good luck to all!
     
  13. Incoming06

    Incoming06 New Member

    Messages:
    33
    State:
    Missouri, St. Joseph
    when i fish outside bends i try to cast towards the middle of the river so the bait washes back up agianst the channel ledge.