Skilled Concepts: Learn to Catch Freshwater Stripers in Spring

Skilled Concepts: Learn to Catch Freshwater Stripers in Spring


Skilled Concepts: Learn to Catch Freshwater Stripers in Spring
The early run of landlocked stripers usually consists of an important fish.
Image by Jacob Milholland, Cohutta Fishing Agency

Whereas our house of northern Georgia is named the trout capital of the state, basically probably the most anticipated a part of the early season for lots of our guides and employees at Cohutta Fishing Agency is certainly the striped-bass run.

These landlocked fish thrive in our native reservoirs, making annual journeys upriver to spawn all through spring. We usually fish for them on the Etowah River tailwater from Allatoona dam proper right down to Rome.

Whereas the exact timing of the striper run varies by watershed, the Etowah system is fairly fixed: we see the preliminary push of migratory fish sometime in Might.

The first fish to succeed in is generally an important, typically over 20 kilos. The second wave of striped bass, usually “schoolies” ranging from three to eight kilos, will switch into the river by June. Most of these fish will keep inside the river until late July to early August when bigger water temperatures will push them once more downstream into the cool depths of the reservoir.

Environment friendly baitfish imitations embrace (from prime) Clouser Minnows, Lefty’s Deceivers, and Finesse Sport Changers.


These are sturdy, aggressive fish that will merely over-power typical trout gear, so an 8- to 10-weight fly rod with a matched reel is best. We advocate shopping for “crossover” instruments in these heavier sizes, which implies gear that can be saltwater-tolerant, so that it could be utilized in a greater diversity of environments. We love the Hydros sequence reels for this aim.

The perfect all-around fly line for wading is a tropical saltwater line with an intermediate sinking tip. Attempting to make a protracted stable with a full-sinking fly line could possibly be robust as a result of the slackline sinks and tangles at your toes via the retrieve.

We typically throw full-sinking strains from the boat–the place they’re easier to deal with–as a option to get our flies down into deeper strike zones. Each means, use a minimal 20-pound chief for these notoriously hard-fighting fish. One thing lighter is risking disappointment.

Shad or herring are the principal forage fish proper right here, so use baitfish patterns ranging from three to five inches prolonged. Flies that journey hook point-up, similar to Clouser Minnows (notably the standard chartreuse-and-white combo in measurement 1/0) may additionally assist navigate snaggy cowl and acquired cling up as merely everytime you’re dredging deep runs.

Lighter flies like Chocklett’s Finesse Sport Changer and Lefty’s Deceiver (white or tan and dimension as a lot as 3/0) that journey bigger inside the water column could possibly be good when the fish are feeding aggressively and are additional eager to maneuver.


For a wading angler, persistence is crucial. These are migratory fish, a number of your success will come down to simply being in the very best place on the correct time. Making the equivalent stable within the equivalent place might have very fully totally different outcomes counting on the day and even the hour. Consider good holding water that moreover provides ambush options, similar to weirs, eddies, shoals, drop-offs, or building inside the kind of boulders or submerged logs.

When fishing on foot, stable upstream and allow your fly to sink sooner than you begin retrieving. As a result of the fly drifts downstream, start with 6- to 12-inch strips after which fluctuate the cadence based on the response of the fish.

Usually, the proper retrieve simply is not a retrieve the least bit, nevertheless, a swing comparable to you might make on the end of drift for trout. Differ your method until you uncover what’s working.

Fishing from a ship largely entails blind-casting and defending water, so it’s necessary that you simply simply protect your head inside the sport through sluggish intervals. Try deciding on out explicit targets alongside the river in your casts as a option to maintain sharp.

Your supreme stable is a 30- to 40-foot shot angled about 30 ranges downstream and in direction of the monetary establishment, or into the deepest a part of the cowl. Try rising the rate of your retrieve by allowing the fly to swing additional inside the current, notably must you see fish following.

And always retrieve your casts all the easiest way to the boat–until you probably can see your fly–sooner than recasting, since you not at all know when a fish is probably following merely out of sight.


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