The Weekend Bite--9/13

Weekendbite_915 Northeast
_Southport, Connecticut—_The striper run exploded off the blocks across New England this week and anglers are encountering fish from the beach and from boats. We caught up with Jim Koutas from Westport Marine (westportbaitandtackle.com) as he was preparing for a night of striper fishing on Sasco Hill Beach in Southport, Connecticut. Jim said that he would start the night fishing with chunks of bunker or mackerel on a double-hook bottom-rig, but will eventually switch over to throwing plugs and soft plastics before the night was over. Although Rat-L-Traps and Atom Bombers are always popular plugs, Jim has been having his best success with the new Lordship Lures. “They’re deadly on stripers,” he says. Jim also recommends using Slug-Go soft plastics to fool these fish. When the tide is high, Jim will throw 9- to 12-ounce Slug-Gos on weightless hooks over the submerged grass. When the water is down, he wades out past the grass and switches to a 6-inch Slug-Go on a bullet jig and bounces it across the bottom. Compo Beach and the Calf Pasture have also been productive for surf anglers while boaters are finding fish at Norwalk and in the middle of Long Island Sound by dropping chunks of cut bait or whole sandworms or by trolling tube worms.

Southeast

_Hickory Lake, Tennessee—_Hot weather has cooled the fishing in the Southeast. Mark Hewgley at Bait Shop outside Nashville, Tennessee told us that anglers who brave the heat are catching large numbers of small bass. The best action has been on Hickory Lake, but folks are finding the same scenario playing out in all the bigger water bodies across the region. Mark says anglers will get plenty of action by working crankbaits and rubber worms across the points and bars. “You can swim a 4-inch worm and catch fish all day,” he said. Big striped bass and catfish are holding below the Old Hickory Dam. Jim suggests anglers throw Storm Wildeye Shad or Husky Jerks for the striper while the catfish are suckers for a chunk of shad or piece of shrimp on a Carolina rig and a 1/0 hook.

South
_Clark Hill Lake, Georgia—_The Women’s BASS Tour descended on Clark Hill Lake, Georgia this week only to find tough fishing conditions and finicky fish. Barton Hall at Ridge Road Bait and Tackle reported that the water in the lake is 15 feet below normal and several area launch ramps have been closed. The water conditions have scattered the fish and made them difficult to entice. Barton suggests stimulating the fish with any lure that simulates a blueback herring, such as a Zoom or Fluke. He says that the best places to fish would be humps and points and low structure in 4 to 6 feet of water. “Everyone has been real secretive,” he says, “but we’ve heard some stray conversation.” Barton said that anglers will find better action on striped bass and catfish in the deeper channels. The stripers are being caught on live blueback herring in 50 to 60 feet of water while the cats are prowling the deep coves and channels ready to pounce on fresh cut herring or chicken liver. “We’ve seen a bunch of 30 to 40 pound catfish this week,” he said.

Midwest
_St. Louis, Missouri—_The lakes around St. Louis, Missouri are the hotspots for largemouth bass this week. John Woelfel at Bulls Eye Bait and Tackle (bullseyebaitandtackle.com) suggests that anglers head to Mark Twain Lake where the bucketmouths have been abundant and cooperative. He said that folks are catching good numbers of largemouths with spinnerbaits, crankbaits and chug bugs. To find the fish, John suggests targeting flats that are near deeper water. Another good destination for largemouths is Lake of the Ozarks. “I heard there was a good topwater bite going down,” John adds. He recommends starting at the back of the coves and working half way out throwing the popper around docks. He had also heard that shakey head worms were also working in the same areas.

West
Boise, Idaho—Idaho anglers fishing out of Boise have a tough choice this weekend: do they head to the Boise River and catch rainbow trout or drive down to the Owyhee and fish for monster browns. We caught up with Matt Brower from Idaho Angler (idahoangler.com) to help us make a decision. He said that the tailwaters of the southfork of the Boise River have been flowing high at 1000 cfs so anglers will need a driftboat or raft to fish the river effectively. “It’s tough to wade anything over 600 cfs,” he said. Anglers who can forge the river will find big rainbow trout with hig hoppers and Chernobyl flies. He said that anglers are reporting a good “flav” hatch prompting them to throw green drakes and bluewing olives in size 14 to 12. “Bluewings in that size are hard to find commercially,” he said, “but we tie them at the shop.” In the middle of the day, anglers are catching fish on pink cahills in size 16 or 18. Later in the afternoon, the fish are feeding on big caddis flies so Matt suggests using an elk hair caddis in size 14 or 12. For anglers who don’t have access to a driftboat or raft, Matt suggests heading to the Owyhee river, which is running at a reasonable 230 cfs. He says that the river is fishing extremely well for big brown trout. “You’ll need waders because the water is still between 45 and 50 degrees,” he said. Good news is that the PMDs are going off. Matt adds that the bugs are hatching between 2 and 5 in the afternoon. “After that,” he says, “you’ll catch the spinner fall and the caddis hatch runs throughout.” Both rivers are open to the public with plenty of easy access. So, whether an angler chooses to fish the Boise or the Owyhee, he can’t go wrong.—Ric Burnley