November 01, 2013
50-Fish Days: 5 Hottest Bites for 2014 - 0
by James Hall
Get in on five of the hottest bites of the fishing season.
1. Lake Trout (although smallmouth bass, steelhead, and brown trout may interrupt your party)
The Expert: Jeff Pierce, 42, Scottsville, NY, portfolio manager for Mustad
Where: Lower Niagara River, in front of Fort Niagara and the big sandbar at the mouth of the river leading into Lake Ontario
When: Late October through the end of November
Why: This is not fishing—it’s abuse of the resource. You will catch a mixed bag of 60 to 100 fish. The baitfish pile up just off the current edge. Alewives and emerald shiners get flushed down the current and create a buffet for all the sportfish.
How: If you’re going to pick one bait to catch all species, swim a 5-inch grub off the bottom. Lakers and smallies hug the bottom; browns and steelhead will be higher in the water column. Use a ¼-ounce jighead with 20-pound braid connected to a 15-pound Seaguar fluoro leader.
Quick Tip: A lot of people fish grubs too fast. You have to fish these baits super slow. Be patient and you will get hammered by something.
2. Rainbow Trout
The Expert: Chris Horton, 40, midwestern states director, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Where: White River, Cotter, AR
When: November through January
Why: The whole White River system is loaded with stocked trout, both rainbows and browns. Plus, these fish reproduce naturally. Even a very inexperienced angler will catch 25 to 30 trout a day here.
How: This is easy—just buy a can of corn. Use a small split shot and a small hook. Put a kernel on the hook and let it drift.
Quick Tip: This is the best time of year to enjoy this fishery because the river does not fluctuate nearly as much as in summer.
3. Smallmouth Bass
The Expert: Chris Gulstad, 41, executive director of marketing, Pradco Fishing
Where: Mississippi River between Monticello and Elk River, MN
When: The first week in June (the bass opener for Minnesota)
Why: During this week, the fish are active and very willing to bite. They live in crazy current, so they fight hard. You will catch 100 fish a day.
How: The most surefire technique is to take a 7-inch lizard like the YUM Zellamander and drag it behind the boat while you drift downstream with the current.
Quick Tip: This is not a fishery for big bass boats or anything with a V bottom. It’s skinny water with current that is sometimes fierce.
4. Largemouth Bass
The Expert: Ish Monroe, 39, Hughson, CA, Bassmaster Elite Series pro
Where: Clear Lake, CA
When: Late April into early May
Why: You will catch 100 bass per day, 50 of which will be between 3 and 5 pounds apiece.
How: Throw a Snag Proof Ish Phat Frog.
Quick Tip: Swing hard when you get a bite. These fish will bury themselves in grass.
5. Albacore Tuna
The Expert: David Brinkerhoff, 31, Woodland, WA, product development engineer for G. Loomis rods
Where: Look for structure that causes an upwelling alongside a temperature break.
When: Second week of August
Why: The fish are a little shallower at this time of year, so you can catch them deep or just below the surface.
How: A butterfly jig will load the boat.
Quick Tip: You can never work a jig fast enough—speed is a fish killer.
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