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It sounds like it's been a fairly tough year for smallmouth on the big rivers. I decided to make things harder and use fly rods on this trip. A couple of the other PRSC bug chuckers were interested, though it ended up just myself and Jack, who is new to the long rods. We started at a spot near a one lane bridge crossing near Woodstock. Looks great and I saw a few dink smallmouth chase some baitfish, but no luck after an hour. More worrying, I saw very few sunfish. We moved on to Burnshire Dam, one of the popular wading and canoe put in spots. We did most of the wading circuit around the first island except the spot closest to the old mill by the dam. A couple of guys were camped out optimistically for catfish in the middle of the day. I've seen decent cats there, but well, it's summer on a sunny day. Maybe they just wanted an excuse to hang out?
Got my skunk off quickly with a pair of 6" fallfish on a damselfly nymph. Jack tagged a couple yellowbreast sunfish and dealt with his skunk as well. Picked up a few dink sunfish near the dam and Jack got a YOY largemouth. The only smallmouth I saw were a handful of fingerlings. No takes. Big fish of the day was a 14" fallfish I dredged out of the current at the tail end of the island with a conehead crawfish. I dropped my net while unhooking it, so it swam off without my getting a picture.
Burnshire is a fun spot to fish with lots of obvious structure and scenery, but between probable bad spawns, general environmental issues and pressure, I have a hard time making the drive out more than once or twice a year now. I used to fish this river once or twice a month. However between my aging and the apparent closure of the Artz Bridge public access, I just don't do that anymore.
Last edited by CrankbaitGuy (Aug-27-19 7:12PM)
Good job getting out. Too bad about the fishing. Definitely weird.