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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know who is here that may remember when in '97 I first started talking about high water dabbling for smallies on the Fox River.
This could be a great year.
what happens is the smallies start to wake up and are hungry but don't have the strength they do in warmer water.
Their muscle tissue gets like our hands do in the cold, somewhat stiff.
They just can't handle the strong current of the high water.
So they move right to the shoreline and anything that breaks the current.
Bridge pilings, rocks, tree in the water, anything.
They'll be right next to it and I mean you can catch the huge smallies that are so rare other times of year and they may be 6 inches away from shore.
Many years we have high water but it's later in the spring when they have more strength and can handle the current.

Well it's April first and the river is supposed to crest Thursday.
That is unless we get more rain which would make the smallies have to hang out right by shore for longer.
I'm not sure when I'm going to get out but I would sure give it a try if you have a chance, you wouldn't believe what is literally a couple inches from shore.

Plain hook with a split shot up about 6 inches with a minnow or a jig and a minnow.
Find a good looking spot by watching water rush by but there's a dead spot.
It doesn't take long for them to hit, a couple seconds if there's one there.
If nothing hits in that dead spot within 20-30 seconds move on to the next one.

For instance there's a rock wall in St. Charles, both sides of the river.
I've caught 18.5 inch smallies that were hugging that wall trying to stay out of the heavy current.

I gotta get to work so I can get out and give it a try tomorrow. :p
 

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Ed, who are you kidding...there are no smallmouth in St. Chas. They are all down south of Aurora and north of Carpentersville!!! Too bad I won't be here this weekend to catch some. Hopefully the water warms up some...it has been COLLLLDDDD. Ed hit it on the head...minnow, shot, and float. Find any slackwater near fast water near shore. Those fish are going to be hunkered down in and near structure. Don't spend to much time in one spot...if you don't catch anything within a few minutes walk down 10 yards. You will also get some bonus walleye and cats.
 

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Great info, Ed!

Funny you should mention that...I made a quick trip to the river yesterday and tried some dabbling. Didn't get anything yesterday (the river was WAY too muddy) but that technique has worked for me in the past.
 

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The river is very high and fast today. May be a good day to give it a go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you guys ever want to kill some time you can click on the archives button on top of the subscriber forum.
Click on the Fox archives and then find the one (from drop down at top) that includes April of '97.
It was either '97 or '98
In april of that year you'll see some posts by me and that was an unbelievable year.
I'm talking a few hours and catching 15-25 smallies and most way better than 14 inches.
It was nuts!
The combination has to be there though.
Water temps warm enough that the smallies are active but not strong enough to handle the current and water levels high enough that it even brings in the brutes.

I'm going tomorrow and we'll see if the combination is right.
I just have to remember to get my license :eek:
Oh yeah, new batteries for the camera too.
Hmmm, where's my notepad :-?
 

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I have a dentist office i work with in Geneva. On my way to and from it, I drive along 25 in st charles and geneva. There was a fellow taking your advise. Fishing right along the bank. I rolled down my window and asked if he was having any luck, he said it was slow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The usual problem when I've shown people this is that they don't have their bait close enough to whatever is breaking the current.
The will have their nose right up against it in most cases.
The water is cold enough that they won't move 4 inches to get it.
Put it right in front of their nose though and they wil hit it.
 

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I'm putting my 2 piece in the car tonight and stopping by the bait shop in South Elgin on my way home from work tomorrow.
 
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