©2006 Spring Creek Communications
Muddy Run-Off Begins
Any body of water fed by creeks or rivers winding into any of Idaho's lakes, reservoir and ponds this year are bound for muddy waters. This years unprecedented snow, coupled with an unusually wet spring has our almost all of our rivers, streams and creeks running at capacity. Onece run-off begins, the water clarity drops and water temperature tends to lag in response to the sun’s heating rays. The cool snow-melt, along with topsoil comes tumbling down watersheds, creating adverse fishing conditions almost everywhere. Here ares some keys to fishing under these conditions that we hope will help you plan for a more productive spring season.
by Dennis Udlinek
The first important consideration for some good action until things calm down is searching out the clearest water possible. The tailwaters of reservoirs and lakes, as well as farm ponds, sloughs and smaller impoundments are good locations to begin. By heading downstream you can find the clearing water as it appears. Other areas to consider are coves that have not yet been as adversely affected by the seasonal disturbance.
Don’t completely count out the major rivers. A closer look show areas where swift cool waters bustling by sloughs and inlets remain stain-free and are good locations for bass. Also natural springs along the bank can be readily seen because of the distinct color line that is drawn between the incoming fresh water and the passing dingy runoff. Here an eddy forms a mudline by the river current where bass are just waiting for a meal to drift past.
The lure selection for the existing water clarity should be another key consideration in catching the attention of the still somewhat sluggish bass. I have found the s-l-o-w retrieves with noisy, bright or dark-colored baits such as spinners or crankbaits are good choices. The presentation of a well placed chartreuse crankbait that slides parallel into the strike zone is enticing for any springtime bass. Another added touch is to slowly bump the crankbait, pausing at each contact with the bottom, and allowing time for the bass to react.
Other lures have some effectiveness during these periods of low visibility. Hair jigs made from rockchuck and deer hair with a pork rind trailer fished methodically along warming northern shores can be productive early. One of the popular methods is to use small grubs or "gitzit type" lures like the new Outlaw Baits trailed behind a split shot or fished "Carolina-style," briefly suspending the lure and allowing it to free-fall slowly to the bottom, creating a compelling morsel for "Mr. Bass."
On a rainy spring day several years ago while fishing one of my favorite southwestern Idaho largemouth lakes, I was unable to locate any action in the murky water. After several hours I happened upon a distinct change in the lake’s water color. In a short time, using a chartreuse/white spinnerbait in less than two feet of water, I managed to entice several fairly nice bass into striking. The secret was in finding the "mudline," a separation between the over-passing muddy water (run-off) and the clearer, calmer water of the main reservoir. The bass were lying in ambush, waiting for something to pass into the "strike zone" from darker into lighter-stained water – and ZAP! – they took the bait!
Spring is as good-a-time as any in Idaho to test and practice our bass fishin’-fool skills.