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Location: Elliott County, Kentucky
Joined: 10/22/2007
Posts: 5
Early Ohio River Fishing Trip!! NEED SOME TIPS!!

Hey fellow anglers I was wondering if you guys could help me out a little bit.... My buddy and I are planning a fishing trip to the Ohio River we just live bought 45 mins from it but don't really know much about river fishing. We don't really care what we catch, we are just starting to get the fishing fever and want to feel a tug on the other end of a fishing line. If you have any tips to help us have a successful trip please let me know. Thanks alot!

saskie's picture
Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 12/23/2002
Posts: 1264
Re: Early Ohio River Fishing Trip!! NEED SOME TIPS!!

Number 1 rule of fishing new water - keep moving until you find fish. Best fishing advice I ever got was from the head guide at a lodge I used to stay at back home:

"Its a big lake and they're biting somewhere. If it's not where you are - MOVE"

I don't know squat about the Ohio, but based on geography I'm going to assume that the primary species are walleye, smallmouth and channel cats.

For walleye (and smallies) a productive technique for me on new water (esp a river) has been to drift (or slow-troll if there's not enough currnt) with bottom-bouncer spinner rigs (chartreuse or silver/brass are my go-to patterns) tipped with a leech or night carwler. Let out enough line to feel the weight skipping across the bottom - it should feel almost like a small fish...tug-tug-tug rather than a steady pull (which is just the drag from your weight and rig moving through the water). Current and depth will dictate how much weight you need - in high flow areas of the SK River I've needed a 2 oz weight, in lakes or slack water maybe 1oz or less. You want just enough to get and stay down on bottom. Depth will be dependent on water clarity (walleye hate light) so in clear water you may need to be down 30ft, in turbid may 10 or even less.

For cats - the list of baits is virtually endless but generally anything stinky on the bottom will work: bacon, sardines, shrimp, old half-rotten minnows, old cheese, pieces of liver, commercial stink baits.... Get it on the bottom and wait. They're attracted by scent so it might take a while to get your first one, but usually once you get one, the action will pick up as more of them home in on the scent. I give a spot 20min, and then move unless I know from past experiences they're around and just haven't shown up yet. I've caught them as shallow as 6' and as deep as 30' - generally they sit behind a current break (esp a deeper hole in the main channel near a shallower reef or bay) and test the water for yummy smells and if they detect one close by they zero in on it. At night they become a little more aggressive and tend to head into shallower bays actively looking for food.

Smallies - natural cloured tube jigs along drop-offs or points - especially if there's broken rock (like rip-rap long a highway or foundations for a bridge).

Shallow, weedy bays probably hold panfish (bluegill, sunfish, perch crappie etc) Some colourful jigs with a piece of worm and pitch/dunk it tight to any weed clumps, fallen trees, flooded timber

Good luck

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