Big D Smallmouth on the fly suggestions?

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Razorbacker
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:42 pm

Big D Smallmouth on the fly suggestions?

Post by Razorbacker » Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:58 pm

Last Monday I floated a familiar stretch in the Matamoras and downstream area with my nephew, and as usual killed 'em on the spinning rod. But I didn't bother bringing a fly rod because I have just not been able to break to code for Delaware smallies. Suggestions?

martalus
Posts: 207
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:39 pm

Re: Big D Smallmouth on the fly suggestions?

Post by martalus » Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:31 pm

The key is to work structure/boulders and slack water adjacent to riffles. Also key to find rocky bottomed water as opposed to sandy. Also key is to get your fly down where the fish are., especially bigger fish. I don't like sinking line, but sometimes I have used a sinking leader especially if fishing faster/deeper water. You do get snagged more but you get more fish. Another key thing is to move if you are not getting bit. I even take a step after every cast or two to make sure I am covering the water and finding the fish-its a big river and the fish cant be everywhere all the time.

I like big white clausers-especially later in summer when baby shad are coming down the river in July/August. You can have some banner days when the smallies are feeding on baby shad. White wooly buggers will work, but a trout sized one will get you lots of 6-10 inch fish (which is also fun) Other good flies are heavy crayfish or helgamite looking flies. And poppers around dusk-you can get some big fish to blow up on your popper on ankle-knee deep water which is pretty cool. The first few times I fished the Big D for smallies I used my 5 wt fly rod and got lots of fish-it was fun. But you really need a 6 or seven weight to effectively flow bigger flies, especially if its windy. The first time got smacked in the face with my own fly was when I got a 7 weight rod.

MickyFinn
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Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:25 pm

Re: Big D Smallmouth on the fly suggestions?

Post by MickyFinn » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:50 pm

I know the smallmouths are in the Delaware. I've snorkeled down the river and have repeatedly come across them. People say they are everywhere in the Big D...but I have yet to connect with them. Many of the tips from martalus sound helpful. Thanks for them!

martalus
Posts: 207
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:39 pm

Re: Big D Smallmouth on the fly suggestions?

Post by martalus » Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:32 pm

Last Saturday, I tried many of my tips on the Potomac by Harpers Ferry and I completely struck out. I usually an afternoon/evening fishermen for smallies, but I decided to do it right, got up at 4 am was on the road before 5 and was at my spot before 6 am. Unfortunately the place that I parked just last month had no parking signs so I scrambled around looking for parking and couldnt find anything nearby so I drove a few miles away and found a spot to park by some train tracks. I happened to see a pick up truck of local boys looking hung over and I flagged them down and they directed me where to cross the train tracks and on to a trail down to the river. I was fishing by 630 am in what was supposed to be an ideal location and I didnt get a strike in five hours of fishing. I moved up and down and covered maybe 3/4 of a mile of rapids, slow water, deep water, shallow water, bridges, rocks, boulders with poppers, wooly buggers, zonkers, heavy cray fish flies and ZILCH. I went home feeling completely exhausted and defeated. On my way out I talked to a local dude who was fishing and he said he only got one smallie. He corroborated what I have been hearing about the Potomac-post spawn floods over several season, possible chicken farm pollution, and invasive flatheads have been affecting the population and fishing has been hit or miss. The Delaware may suffer from some of the same problems but I am not sure. Also, both the Potomac and Delaware are large rivers and sometimes it can be hard to key in exactly where the fish are on a given day at a given time of day. This last Saturday I found a Potomac trib (Catoctin creek) where me and my kid found lots of willing smallies. Water temps were also about 10-15 degrees lower than the main river. This weekend we will target the mouth of the creek and if we cant catch anything in the big river, we will work up the little river to hedge our bets-its easier to hone in on fish in a smaller river like that. All of this is to say-don't give up and you will eventually find them in the Big D! And when you do, it will be an epic day!

PortMurrayAng
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:06 am

Re: Big D Smallmouth on the fly suggestions?

Post by PortMurrayAng » Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:18 pm

Idle Lake Rd, Columbia, NJ 07832

Is this an ok place to park and walk to the river? It looks like a locked gate

martalus
Posts: 207
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:39 pm

Re: Big D Smallmouth on the fly suggestions?

Post by martalus » Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:28 pm

Well, as long as you are not blocking something (locked or not) and there are not any no parking signs, you might be ok. I remember once parking on a grass area right near there where Washington Street comes to the bridge and fishing by the bridge-we had some decent action with summer time smallies and a walleye. I remember it being kind of deep slower moving water by the bridge, but you could get fish right against the structure of the bridge.


https://goo.gl/maps/uTakMWWYShvRYKyi9

You could also try parking at the Log Cabin Inn (its a huge parking lot) or if the signage doesn't look inviting at the Inn, look for a break in the guard rail just north of the Inn-there is a little trail area that may or may not be overgrown where you used to be able to park and hike down to the river-you can fish that whole section from the power plant all the way up to the Paulinskill and even up to the 46 bridge. There is a mix of fast and slow water with rocks and the deeper channel is closer to the PA side which you can wade out to in summer time low flows. Half the battle is finding the right place to park (I am in the same process of doing recon for fishing/parking spots now on the Potomac for smallie fishing)

PortMurrayAng
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Re: Big D Smallmouth on the fly suggestions?

Post by PortMurrayAng » Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:32 pm

Thanks! Im going to check it out today.

martalus
Posts: 207
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:39 pm

Re: Big D Smallmouth on the fly suggestions?

Post by martalus » Tue Jul 21, 2020 4:32 pm

PortMurrayAng wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:32 pm
Thanks! Im going to check it out today.
Great, please post a report!

PortMurrayAng
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:06 am

Re: Big D Smallmouth on the fly suggestions?

Post by PortMurrayAng » Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:19 am

It was hot! I checked out the gap in the guardrail a cross from log cabin. Chained and posted. Parked no problem at the actual pullout by the paulinskill and walked down to the mouth. Great looking water and wadeable. Got one smallie on a streamer. It was small...may e 8 inches. Next time I may hike up to the pond on the other side of the fence at the parking lot. I think better fishing is just out of reach of where I was willing to wade out to.

martalus
Posts: 207
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:39 pm

Re: Big D Smallmouth on the fly suggestions?

Post by martalus » Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:35 am

Good to hear there is legit parking. I used that sketchy place a lot 10-15 years ago across from Log cabin. If flows are nice and low, you can wade all the way to the channel on the PA side by the power plant. It takes some time to get there and you have to be careful, but that is where I remember catching the fish. Lots of smaller 8-10 inch fish in the fast water and larger fish in the slack water behind boulders adjacent the fast water. Small fish are a good sign actually-it means that there has been successfull spawning recently. If you only catch a few large fish, it may mean that certain spawning year classes were affected by flood or disease.

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