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Spring lures for Jacks Fork

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I am floating Buck Hollow to Bay Creek next weekend, and was wondering what kinds of lures to use?  Looks like water temps are getting close to 60, and am wondering if they are still in the holes...Deep diving crankbaits to locate quickly, and then hitting with plastics is what I was planning.  Too early for topwaters?  Starting to move into shallower areas yet?  Shallow running crankbaits?  Spinners? Jerkbaits?  Never been on the Jacks this time of year and any suggestions would be much appreciated.  Thanks!

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I have had two trips on that river, both last year, both starting at Buck Hollow and ending at Bay Creek or the Spring. One in very early June, the other in August, so later than your trip.  On both trips, I simply threw out a plastic worm on a #1 or #2 with a sinker and had a ton of luck.  You can catch small mouth and goggle eye (rock bass) with that setup.  I am pretty certain that is a managed area so it's pretty much catch and release on the smallmouth, which is all I ever do anyway.  The waters was like glass the 1st trip and pretty clear the 2nd, so I used a green pumpkin color both times.  There's a bunch of threads around here so the credit for that goes to everyone on this board.

It quickly became my favorite river to float.  I have never tried crankbaits, spinners, etc...on that river.  I am sure they would work if you know how to use them but I tend to lose a lot of lures whenever I river fish so plastic is easier on the pocketbook.

And camp high, it's spring and that river is in a canyon so it rises quickly!  Make sure to check the USGS Water Gages.

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Water temp is important for two reasons this time of year...it tells you how active the fish are likely to be, and it tells you how likely they are to be spawning. Once water temps exceed 60 degrees, they are active enough to hit just about anything including topwater, and some of them will be getting into spawning. So if you're like me and don't like to harass bedding fish, use the knd of stuff you fish with some speed and high in the water column...you will still tempt a few that are on beds that you don't see, but you're less likely to drag a bunch off the beds. Also, if it's typical spring water levels, the river will be moving pretty fast, so it's difficult to fish the slower, bottom type stuff from the canoe or kayak anyway, and easier to fish stuff like crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Don't overlook buzzbaits, either.

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Thanks for the feedback Al.  I certainly don't want to get in the way of a fish guarding their young.  After all, one of those could grow up to be the 22" monster I catch in 10 years! 

I may end up on either the Jacks Fork or Current River this weekend so I'll be taking your advice and trying to teach myself how to topwater fish.  My problem is when I go to buy those lures, there are 500 varieties of them at the store and my eyes just kind of glaze over, I get real quiet and walk over to buy a bag of plastic worms and some hooks.

But, I'll give it a try this weekend.

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Just out of curiosity, how do you know what the water temperature is at a river without actually going to the river and dipping a thermometer in? 

Jump in :)

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It's spring time brown fishing. I have never been on the JF but river fish are mostly the same. Bring a couple  Plano boxes and some plastics and fish. If they don't bite fast fish slow, if they aren't at the top of pools go to the bottom. They may or may not be in the shallow stuff but you can figure that out quickly. The worst  thing you can do is over think a creek smallie.

Have fun.

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