I have boats, but even the small canoes are a troublesome headache for just a few hours of fishing after work. Big artificial lures are nice, but cost a lot of money and require you carry a big ackward tackle box. Long stiff rods with heavy line can haul a lunker in a hurry, but can’t cast light bait for nothing and you won’t enjoy the fight. So do it the poorman’s way; head to the river bank armed only with an ultra light pole, small dip net, a few hooks, and a yogurt container. No boats, expensive gear, or baited needed here to have a ball wading for the small fierce fighters of our local flowing waters.
If you’ve read more than one of my articles you’ve probably noticed I have you pursuing different types of fish yet direct you to the same hole of water. That’s because what is good for catfish also holds smallmouth in its head rapids, carp on its sunny sand banks, and all the bait you need is in the shallows. Now that you’re at your favorite water pool take your net and empty yogurt dish to the shallow slow moving rapids next to the high grasses and cattails to catch your bait. It’s not called the mouth of the river by accident, just as everything you eat passes through your mouth everything the fish eat passes through the river’s mouth. Hold the net down with your feet and turn over rocks up stream rubbing the bottoms with your hands. Hellgrammites, minnows, crayfish, and a variety of other bait will be swept away by the water into your net. Any net with small meshing will work, I know because I use a 99 cent butterfly net. Use the yogurt container to hold your bait, add a little water to keep them fresh and lively.
Small hooks work best as both your bait and targeted fish are small. Two techniques of fishing can be used- bobber and free line. Casting into the moving water with a bobber works great allowing the bait to flow naturally yet holds it off the bottom avoiding snags. Free line has its benefits in different situations. The key is to present your hooked bait in as natural a way as possible. A surplus of hooks aren’t necessary since you are wading and able to free any hung lines.
Nearly every species of fish are hitting right now. Even the particular smallmouths have been turned back on due to our recent cool spell. Pumpkinseed and warmouth sunfish can be caught in good numbers along with rock bass, or rock perch, and your typical bluegills. The department of wildlife has introduced saugeye to Ohio’s water, too. The suageye is a hybrid cross between a walleye and a sauger. They have the fight and cool water temperament of the walleye and size and durability of the sauger.
My recent trip to the Adirondacks is a testament that the light tackle basic fishing of Ohio’s streams and rivers is universal. All my tackle and gear were the standard there too along with the techniques. All the trouts; brook, rainbow, lake and brown, could be fooled into biting with the same tricks used on an Ohio smallmouth or redeye. If you opened my tackle boxes alongside that of an Adirondack fishing guide’s you could tell no difference.
DATES TO REMEMBER: September 1st- Squirrel and mourning dove seasons open. September 27th Whitetail deer archery season opens.