NEED HELP! How to read a river???

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by mikeozo, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. mikeozo

    mikeozo New Member

    I finally have my boat water ready and am planning on a flathead trip within the next week. I have been fishing a smaller creek from the bank that is roughly 200’ wide and varies from 8’ to 15’ in most places.

    I understand that now I have to go out and find the flatheads when I fish for them in the river cause it is such a large area. I have read on here about what to look for but I would like as much advice as possible before I make the first trip.

    The river I will be fishing is the Monongahela River in SW Pennsylvania. The river is a fairly deep river and supports heavy barge traffic. I would estimate the river to be between 750 to 1000 feet wide in most areas but that is more of a guess. The pictures below will better describe it.

    Anyways, what should I look for to find potential hotspots? I have read a lot about log jams being great spots but I don’t ever recall seeing that type of structure on the Mon River. I’ve also heard about river bends being good starting points. I do have a depth finder, fish finder and a lowrance. They are older models but I believe they work well enough to show me depth changes and structure.

    I am just looking for any advice you guys can give me about what to look for that might save me countless hours throwing lead at empty waters with no flatheads.

    If anyone has google earth, the first picture has the cooridinates of where I will launch my boat from on the mon river. This may give you a better idea of what the river looks like and exactly where I will be focusing on. If you type those cooridinates into your google earth you can scan along the river.

    Thanks for any help you can give me!

    Attached Files:

  2. Dirtdobber

    Dirtdobber Guest Staff Member

    Vian Okla
    That pier in the second pix looked like a good spot if it is washed out around it. I would find the dept on the down river side and then get above it and float a live bait in next to the pier.
    There at the lock and dam I would fish at the discharge site if you can get to it. When they let a barge thru and let the water out the fish will move in. At least they do here.

    Other than that look for outside bends that have shallow water dropping into deep water quickly. I would float a live bait on one rod and put a live bait on bottom with another.

  3. fatcats89

    fatcats89 Member

    If you are looking to find holes, look for areas in the river where the water looks like its coming from the bottom of the river up to the surface. Nice sharp bends are another good place to start. I've noticed flats like to sit right outside of a swift current in pools sort of. So a nice sharp bend would be a perfect starting point. Sudden drop offs are another good place to start, depth finder will tell you where those are at. Good luck, hope to see some nice pics from your trip!
  4. kenlaw76

    kenlaw76 Well-Known Member

    S.E. Pa.
    I would look for a nice river bend with some downed timber.
  5. lendog

    lendog New Member

    berks, PA
    bends in the river, structure(down trees,rock piles), around bridge pillars usually hold log jams, and other boats out fishin(they might know where the fish are):wink: but the most important thing is time out on the water and gettin to know the river
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  6. kitsinni

    kitsinni New Member

    If it were me and I was after Flats specifically I would start on the outside of that bend. Get close to the bank and look for trees that fell in the water. Usually in the outside of a bend you will have water that goes from really deep to shallow pretty quickly. I have had good luck on the shallower parts. If you have had a lot of rain parts of the banks might be under water which will make a lot more structure.
  7. mdavis

    mdavis New Member

    Every river is made up of the following 3 scenarios they just keep repeating there selves in the below order. If you familiarize yourself how to identify each of these, you will be able to locate fish in any river system.

    Riffles have fast current and shallow water. This gives way to a bottom of gravel, rubble or boulder. Riffles are morning and evening feeding areas. Most actively feeing Cats will be in the Riffles.

    Runs are deeper than riffles with a moderate current and are found between riffles and pools. The bottom is made up of small gravel or rubble. These hot spots hold cat almost anytime, if there is sufficient cover.

    Pools/Holes are smoother and look darker than the other areas of the stream. The deep, slow-moving water generally has a bottom of silt, sand, or small gravel. Pools make good midday resting spots for medium to large Cats I feel.