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High Water Smallmouth River Fishing

Many parts of the country are in drought conditions and don’t have the problems we’re faced with in north central Minnesota. The Mississippi is still too high and muddy and it’s nearly August!

What to do?

When faced with high water conditions, you must search for alternative water that is fishable. Yes, of course you can muddle your way down an ugly roiled river, but the fishing will most likely be marginal at best as the fish just can’t see your offerings.

Try tributaries to the larger rivers. Every watershed is different. Some drain quickly and lose water. Other waterways hold water much longer and remain in good condition. And some, may be regulated by a dam.

We have fished two tributaries to the Mississippi in the last week and both were good. Most recently we fished a dam regulated river that is higher than normal due to summer rains – the engineers are letting more water out of the reservoir.

Even though the fish, as expected, were spread out all over, they are still bass in warm water and ready to explode on your lure or fly when given the chance. This trip was hit and miss since, in high water, the fish are spread out everywhere. Nonetheless, by targeting high percentage cover structure, including many newly downed trees, we found fish.

Poppers worked well as did surface plugs such as Chug Bugs and mini Zara Spooks. The photo above is a rare double we had in one spot where we happened upon a concentration of brown bombers.  

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