Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tidal River Fun

If you aren't from an area where rivers are effected by oceanic tidal fluctuations you may not realize how far reaching those effect are. Today I was fishing in a river that is far from salt, but the tide change is dramatic and very obvious. The fun thing about fishing this particular tidal river is the incredible variety of species found there. Depending on the time of year, bluegills, crappie, largemouth, smallmouth, rock bass, redbreast sunfish, pumpkinseed, striped bass, white perch, yellow perch, pike, pickerel, catfish, carp, suckers, fallfsh, stocked trout, sea run brown trout, and salmon can be found in these waters. I ran into many of those today.

I fished swimmer nymphs and crayfish patterns using my 3 wgt. for the most fun possible. The first fish I spotted were suckers digging for food in the organic mess in a backwater. They weren't into my fly. Next I saw some rock bass staged on a log. I promptly hooked and lost the biggest. one of the smaller ones was still willing though.

Schools of yellow perch were cruising around, and I got so big beautiful river perch. They fight way harder than lake perch.

There were some big redbreast sunfish around, both on beds and cruising looking for food. Many found a swimmer nymph to their liking.

Then came the REALLY fun stuff! A nice smallmouth came cruising off of a rock pile and pile drove the nymph. Then it went airborne. I love nailing into a good smallmouth bass on a 6 ft. 6 in. fly rod! This one had some cool looking green leeches on it.

There were plenty more smallmouth on that pile to give that rod a good bend. They jumped, ran, and dug, straining the 4x tippet near it's limit. For a freestone stream, these are some gorgeous smallmouth bass!

And here's the big girl of the day, what a beauty!

I waded down to a tree that had partially fallen and created a perfect fish refuge. There I found a school of yellow perch that I fished till they were no longer willing to bite. I caught more of that species today than on any other day on any other river.

Downstream from the tree I hooked into a big largemouth that took me on a dance in and out of the tree branches. Smallmouth and largemouth have very different fighting styles, but after that battle it is hard for me to talk down to the old standby, the fish that got me into this sport. Again, the fish in these waters are all so beautifully colored! The water clarity and rocky bottom result in wonderful patterns on these fish.

I tied on a beadhead Shrim Muddler for the last few casts. It provided me with another good smallmouth and one of the biggest white perch I have ever seen. What a day!

Big Chunky Ol' Perch!


  1. Looks like you had quite a day. It must have been a blast catching all of these species on a 3wt.

  2. Well, I was about to post almost word for word what "RKM" posted. That's two of us who think you had a heck of day. I mean how much fun can one have on a 3wt?

    1. Ha ha ha! There are some things that are just plain fun, and catching bass on light fly gear is one of those things.

  3. You were having a good fish day and I think the fish were having a good time to. They all look very healthy. All waters connected to the salt seem to have more and healthier fish. Nice trip!
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

    1. Thank you,
      Unfortunately not all rivers that run into the ocean are as healthy as this, many are garbage filled and malodorous.