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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Most of the smaller rivers consist of a series of riffels, holes, and runs.

Riffles are shallow areas with mostly rocky bottoms, I find the absolute best place to catch flatheads on smaller rivers is where there is a hole directly below a riffle, I mean the riffle stops and there is a big drop off of 20feet or so...Especially late summer and early fall where waters are low, water temps are hot, and oxygen levels are low..The riffle creates what little current there is at that time, and also creates oxygen..Bait fish will be in this area and so will flatheads...I catch most of my flatheads during the daytime from areas such as these.

Runs are areas between holes and riffles, with mostly steady unchanging depth...I catch very few, if any flatheads in a run..If there is not a riffle and a hole, I wont fish the area....If you dont have a boat alot of these areas are a long walk to get to...I mean sometimes miles! It takes alot of effort to carry a ton of gear, thru the woods and fields for miles, but it will pay off in the long run!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I wanted to add that holes on smaller rivers can be fished out quick, if the angler does not catch and release these great game fish.
 

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Jack great post there is some good info in there!!Stuff that i fish by we just have different names for them. But the fundementals are the same.
 

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Some good homework ahead of time by looking at maps and aerials will help you find these areas, loo for straight stretches and then the first real hard turn, or look for stretches that have lots of turns (meander/sinuosity) which means lots of riffle pool sequences. The ability to read the water is what will help you understand where the deeper parts of the channel are ( thats called "Thalweg") , see your learning all about it now.

Just remember that all rivers are made up riffles, runs, pools and tailouts.
Between every outside bend ( wavelength) will be a pool on the outside bend, a tailout, a riffle, a run and then another pool at the next outside bend.

You just have to be able to figure out where you are standing to know where to go to find the pool. Jack mentions never catching flatheads in the runs, but that is prime channel cat water!

Salmonid
 

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good post jack. I agree rivers are made of a variety of these things. The thing that amazes me is how on some rivers these areas are vary much so visible to the eye. A shallow rocky, fast current area, followed by the swirling slow current eddy along the steep cut bank, and then the dead looking water from bank to bank, that extends until the next rifle. Alot of the northern muskingum is laid out this way, maybe not quite as defined. However, if I go downstream 3 or 4 dams, the river has a much different look. Alot less rock, the areas that you may consider defined rifles, may only be shallow sand bars extending a little ways off one bank or the other. There may also be long sections of water that are the same depth nearly, with maybe a slight hump or divit in these sections. In this section there isn't anything much visible to the eye. That's why I believe spending time on the water is essential in learning your water. It's probably a good thing though, like jack said.. the obvious, is just that obvious rifles, holes, runs, that everyone can distinguish easily without putting in the work. You can fish these areas out quick!! rollo
 

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I believe the key ingredient to good fishing/catching is to be aware of the oxygen content of the water ... not saying you have to measure it with a meter of some kind, but to be aware of conditions. A stagnant pool of water is much less likely to contain the size and number of fish you are looking for. Therefore, the riffles play an important roll in keeping the oxygen levels that will sustain fish life. As an example; you may be able to keep 2 goldfish alive for a time in a 5 gallon aquarium and no more, But if you put an areator in the aquarium you might be able to keep 10 or 15 alive. My experience shows me that if you have good oxygenated water you will find fish.

Garry-
 

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dont be afraid to fish even the really fast part of the riffle, i always have at least one bait out in the fastest water i can hold in.. big flatheads will chase bait right up in shallow fast water, they will move up and feed, and from my experience like flathunter said right where the riffle meets drop off to hole. i got my best flat from the gmr right up in the fastest part of the riffle..
 

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Riffles are an underutilized area for flatheads, or cats in general. These areas hold lots of crayfish,and minnows, and insect larve. Which in turn draws small bait fish, like bass,crappie, and gills. Not to mention all the suckers and chubs. If you doubt this, put on a small hook even smaller split-shot then a thin float and try to just get a piece of worm to tic the bottom thru the riffle. You can catch 10 different species of small fish in an afternoon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Some good homework ahead of time by looking at maps and aerials will help you find these areas, loo for straight stretches and then the first real hard turn, or look for stretches that have lots of turns (meander/sinuosity) which means lots of riffle pool sequences. The ability to read the water is what will help you understand where the deeper parts of the channel are ( thats called "Thalweg") , see your learning all about it now.

Just remember that all rivers are made up riffles, runs, pools and tailouts.
Between every outside bend ( wavelength) will be a pool on the outside bend, a tailout, a riffle, a run and then another pool at the next outside bend.

You just have to be able to figure out where you are standing to know where to go to find the pool. Jack mentions never catching flatheads in the runs, but that is prime channel cat water!

Salmonid

Mark you might want to try using less big words, I am just a catfisherman!:big_smile:
 

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I love these spots too. Especially on smaller rivers as things are more visible and confined. I have caught some nice flats on my little river here thats only 10 yards or so across. I mean you actually have to try not to throw across it.lol. Most people in town have no idea there are nice fish in there and I hope to keep it that way.The riffles is a great place to throw a slip bobber and let it flow down and over the hole. I also find shad just below the riffles almost everytime.Just remember that if you get bait from where you are fishin do it the day before as not to spook any fish.
 

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Sorry Jack, was just trying to teach an Old Dog a new trick...:smile2:

Im a closet wanna be Hydrogeologist ( one who studies the engineering of how rivers work) and from years and years of building instream habitat on trout streams and learning from DNR and river engineers, have found out I didnt know squat about how rivers work. Now I am dangerous......:eek:oooh:

Let me know when you are ready for some more big words that deal with rivers and Ill throw some at you.

Salmonid
 

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heck Mark, I thought i was feeling smarter the last few hours being here in the city of columbus for the night. Take a boy from the country and send him amongst all these city people...Rollo is going BIG TIME now!!!:smile2: you brought me back to reality with that hydrogeogyno stuff:wink:lol j/k buddy..lol...talk to you soon..rollo
 

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Great posts. I seen a guy catch a 10lb flathead fishing the strong part of the riffles with a crank bait. He was fishing for stripers in the GMR. He had 3 real nice stripers on a stringer. Just goes to show ya they will be in spots you wouldn't even think about fishing.
 

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I have caught flatheads to 30 or so lbs in 2ft riffles, the few times that I even tried. Its just not one of my go to areas when I think about flatheading lol. But after this thread and some thought, I can say I have had above average luck connecting with flatheads in the riffles. I'm gonna try to expand that knowledge this season.
 

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I like to target the travel areas between a good riffle and a nice hole. Not all riffles are good riffles to target. I try to find the ones that are associated with a better section of river including structure, better holes etc. You can quickly distinguish between a mediocre section and a good section by some simple daytime scouting...rollo
 

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i hardly ever fish the base of a hole at night, always up in the fastest water i can hold in, ive always done pretty good, like s man, ive also got some pigs in shallow shallow water, dont be afraid to try right up in the riffle this summer,,
one more tip if your fishing up in the fast water you will want to hook your bait in the nose, A, it looks more natural and B, it keeps your bait alive longer,
 
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