The smallmouth bite is and will continue heating up over the next month. If we get an early Spring warm snap during the first half of the month, expect to see the larger fish make a break from their wintering holes to their prespawn areas. The long Winter is going to have them hungry and feeding earlier than normal. Keep in mind fluctuating water levels and temperatures can slow and reverse these effects, but the efforts to locate these earliest moving fish will pay dividends this time of year. As fish move from their deeper wintering grounds and into the areas they like to spawn, begin throwing jerkbaits, swimbaits, and spinners. If you aren’t moving fish, don’t hesitate to move back to deeper cover and fish a tube or jig along the bottom. March has always produced some of the biggest smallmouth of the year. Don’t let the colder weather deter you, but always be wise on the water.
The bite is more than on! Keep in mind when targeting musky that musky fishing is just as much hunt as it is fish. Patience and persistence will be great assets. Not as great however as knowing where the fish live, where they feed, and what they are feeding on. These are the assets that will move you from 10,000 casts, down to 100! On the Upper James River, the structure and depth that holds musky is no secret or mystery. FISH THESE AREAS! They will lurk in the deeper stretches between falls in the river. They will hold both mid river and on the bank. On the banks look for wooded structure or tributaries, and mid river fish deep water chunk rock and shelves. That being said, I have found when musky are feeding they will move into more shallow “non typical” musky waters to eat. Don’t completely discredit these areas at the top and bottom of shallow water stretches. This time of year this is often where they’ll be feeding if you can’t find them holding in their typical ambush locations. Happy hunting!
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