When I moved to New Hampshire over six years ago, I was excited about the fact that I was less than an hour away from the longest river in New England. 410 miles long, the Connecticut River winds its way from its headwaters near the Canadian border creating the border of Vermont and New Hampshire, and slicing through Massachusetts and Connecticut before providing 70% of the fresh water that enters Long Island Sound.
I look forward to the water getting low enough to keep the rest of the world off of my river. This time of year, the highs are in the 90s for days in a row. The only rain that falls comes hard and fast in highly regionalized downpours that don’t show up on the stream flow gauge. The ground is too dry and too thirsty to let any of it get into the watershed.
The Caney Fork Outfitters stop on the River Bassin 2014 trail produced my personal best smallmouth and a narrow second-place finish. After months of internet sleuthing and Google map study, I elected to fish a small tributary off the famous Caney Fork River. Small mouth was the name of the game for this stop and I had only a few, brief encounters with small mouth in the past.
The two-day unseasonably warm spell ended today! The air temperatures dropped from 45°F at 8am to the upper 30s in a few hours while we fished! Overcast and cold, drizzling rain were the order of the day. A couple times I swear the rain turned to sleet in the afternoon. Water temperatures stood steady at 38°F and the water clarity was nice at about 4’. This was the first day of a predicted freeze that ended that night with snow and freezing rain.
Last February accounted for more 20” river smallmouth in my trip report log than any month so far this year. I expect December to beat it. The pattern that works for so many big river smallmouth? To tell you “suspending jerkbaits over ledge trenches” would only tell you about 30% of the story. The other 70% - the important part - is how long between jerks. To be honest, unless the water is fairly stained, the jerks are inconsequential.
The Live Fall Tournament hosted by the Tennessee Kayak Anglers will be held on Saturday September 28, 2013 at Williamsport Lakes. This is a complex containing several lakes. A mandatory captains meeting will be held at 7:00am at the picnic shelter near the ramp on Shellcracker Lake. The tournament will start at 8:00am, with photo turn-in at 2:00pm at the picnic shelter near the ramp on Shellcracker Lake.
With an incredibly warm November there was an urge to keep getting outdoors and fish rather than storing equipment for the winter. The drought stricken lakes and ponds are still very fishable but most structure is above the water line these days. The fish seem to be hunkering around anything they can find for a winter roost and once the fishermen locate them it’s harvest time! It takes much more patience this time of year when retrieving the lure of choice. Although the days are “balmy” and warm the water has cooled with the nighttime drops in temperature to the low 30’s most of the time. A very slow retrieval will trigger an occasional fish to take a chance.
It had been a day short of two weeks since I dipped my paddle or played a fish on the end of my line. Unfortunately, a trip to the salt which I've yearned for even longer was not in the cards. With the weather forecast being as useful as a magic 8-ball, I stuck close to home. The river welcomed me with a plethora of opportunities spanning a full spectrum of presentations to match the appetite of several species.
My last two trips have been very tough due to cold temperatures and strong winds. These are conditions a lot of kayak fisherman try to avoid; I've been guilty of this myself. High winds definitely annoy me more than cold temperatures. Wind can really limit your presentations and make it next to impossible to keep boat position.
This adventure started with the concept of renting a couple of Kayaks in the Detroit Lakes, Minnesota area. The local marina had already started the process to dismantle the marina for the winter on Little Detroit Lake. So some serious internet searching for available rentals for mid-October had to be done.