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Lower Strawberry River Trip Report

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I had fished the Upper Strawberry River out of a canoe years ago. Loved It. It might have changed, but back then it was pretty wild and woolly with minimal commercial traffic. It was all self shuttling. We caught numbers, but no size. Saw multiple locals with full stringers of small bass. Way above legal limits. 


well, I look around on Google Earth a fair amount  and in the back on my mind was Waldo on the Lower Strawberry. Multi Species was on my mind. 
I found a ramp that I thought would allow me to access enough water for a day’s fishing. It was actually a lot more than a day’s worth of fishing, but more on that later.

i loaded Waldo for a little of everything. Last time Looked at the Strawberry River in person it was about 4 feet at Poughkeepsie. Dirty water and flowing fast. The gauge was at about 1.33 yesterday. I expected slow flow and clear water.

I took a younger guy from work.

I launched at Riverside School Ramp East of Saffell, AR. The Ramp is designed for use under a WIDE range of water levels. It is a Long and steep ramp that isn’t the easier ramp I have ever used. Heavily silted at the bottom of it too.

water was pretty low and still flowing. It still had a fair amount of color. Cover was everywhere. All thoughts of finesse fishing went away. Micro fishing wasn’t much of an option either. I saw Black Spotted Minnows, but with the stain and heavy siltation, it wasn’t going to work out. 

I idled away from the ramp, but could not stand it very long and started fishing almost immediately. I caught a small spot on a Humdinger spinner bait and ran aground. Pulled the TM up and current swung the boat on top of wood cover. This happened about 100 more times. I’m not sure that I want to fish it any lower than 1.33. I’m guessing that up to 2.5 might be ok. I would want a drawn out fall allowing water to clear. 
fishing was not as Good as I thought it would be. Most of the fish were small and boat control was  just a beatdown. Waldo bounced off every log in the Creek. It looks like you should catch 100, but I only managed 24 to hand.

Spinnerbait worked. Squarebill worked. But I probably caught most of my fish pitching a Zoom Z craw Jr. missed more than a couple too. It was a Power Fishing day.

last fall @Johnsfolly and I fished Big Cypress Bayou. I went for a variety of reasons, but I really wanted to catch a Choupique. I had my chances, but failed to do so. Well yesterday, I made a simple pitch about an hour into the trip. I felt it get heavy and set the  hook into a Choupique! What the heck??? I did not know they were even in the river and I am not used to them being in areas with fair amounts of flow. An hour later, I caught another Bigger one. I had a couple more chances at Bowfin after that, but they got away. BowFun!

dropped a crappie jig in a few tops and caught some really nice crappie. I think that would be a very workable deal if you made a trip to do just that. 

We did make the long run down to the Confluence with the Black River. Eventually, we got deeper water where it was safe to run WOT. We caught fish down there too, but the vast majority of our fishing was in shallower water with more flow. 

it was Hot. I had plenty of stuff to drink, but it still wears on you. There was some shade available almost all day and a breeze from time to time which helped. 

I had a Great time. I love my Lewis and Clark trips. I’m not sure I’ll Make that 210 Mile round trip again, but I might. 

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Looks like a nice trip. I tried up at Peebles Bluff a few weeks back and caught a lot of little smallmouth and lost a real nice one. I figured out that a jet boat really wasn’t ideal for that stretch of river, but I didn’t do too much damage. 

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Back when I was tough, we did a high water float trip on the upper Strawberry.  It's been so long since I was tough, no idea what part of the river we were on.😔  But I do seem to remember it was fun.😎

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I wonder why they don't figure the flow in cfs on the Poughkeepsie gauge, it would make it a lot easier to know what the river is like.  Without even your little bit of experience with river levels, nobody unfamiliar with the river would have a clue what 1.33 feet is like.  But if it said 100 cfs I'd know exactly how much water was in the river.  I've not fished it down that far...think maybe I took out there once, but can't remember for sure.  It gets extremely low up in the smallmouth water.

I've found that in almost all those streams where spotted bass are native, you pass a point where from there on down it's almost all spotted bass.  And those lower portions always look very fishy, but you never seem to catch as many spotted bass down in that kind of water as you can smallmouth in the upper portions.  There was a time when I thought those lower sections of such streams should have some huge smallmouth, but it's never happened for me.

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Al, there has been tremendous amounts of siltation that I assume came from farm field run off.Almost No rocks visible below the ramp. We did start seeing gravel runs not too far above the ramp and another 2 of water opens a lot up. Google Earth shows pretty clear blue water with plenty of depth. I wonder when that happens? 

still seem to have a fair amount of gradient but the water really warms up with out the gravel runs to clean it and cool it. I’d bet that water was > 85 degrees. 

very few places have been cut right to the edge of the river though which is Good, but the damage is done. so many tons of silt would have to come out to see what the river used to be.

i was surprised by the low number of LMB too. I think I caught 2 very small ones. Lack of spawning habitat maybe. Not really very many backwater areas. Once I saw the river first hand, I was not expecting any SMB. I’m shocked that I bumped into that many Bowfin though. Pleasantly Surprised !
 

 

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1 hour ago, Cameron Gillespie said:

If it’s grennel (bowfin) you are after, the lower white river and it’s backwaters are full of the spinnerbait destroying fish.

Love Them! Do you have any leads on American Eels?

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