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Fishing Report March 9-12

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We did a canoe run from Thomasville to Cane Bluff March 9, March 10 and again March 12. At that time, water levels were high (particularly the earlier dates), but navigable. There were a couple of pretty significant rootwads, one bad enough to require us to portage around it on March 12. Higher water March 9 and 10 allowed us to shoot past it (albeit narrowly).

On this high stretch, our goal was smallmouth, exclusively, though we would have gladly enjoyed bites from largemouth or goggle-eye. And, as anticipated, smallmouth was what we got. The best day of fishing proved to be the first, probably because our strategy was better. We tended to catch more fish mid-morning (10 a.m.-ish) and they was much more interested in SMALLER, narrower, minnow crankbaits running deep. A silver, black and purple Renegade crankbait that sank slowly and ran deep was nicknamed "Old Reliable" for its ability to catch fish. A gold and black crankbait in an identical style also produced, though not as well. Small crawfish cranks would take an occasional fish, but they seemed more popular with largemouth and sunfish than with smallmouth. Goggle eye were nowhere to be found. We caught 16 fish (14 smallies, two largemouth) on March 9. March 10 offered up six fish, including two largemouth (we skipped early fishing to hurry to some holes downriver near Cane... bad move). March 12 offered up about six fish as well, but we got a late start.

Also, all fish were small. They all ranged from 10-14 inches with 12 inches being about the median size. Water clarity didn't seem to be a major problem. The water was dingy March 9, which proved to be our best day, and clear on March 12 which proved to be below average.

On March 11, we ran the stretch from Turner Mill to Whitten, which was awful. The water was wide, high and fast, making fishing from a canoe impossible. Stopping points on the river were limited as well and with fast water coming down, fishing from the bank was equally frustrating. I like this stretch better later in the season when the rains pass. Of course, it would be fun to fish it from a jon boat this time of year, but I detest motor boats on the river (this is a personal preference and I pass judgment on no one, so don't take offense) because they, to me, ruin the wilderness experience which is as big a part of the process as the fishing is. However, if my goal were to catch fish exclusively, I wouldn't run this stretch without a motor this time of year. We caught two fish -- a goggle eye and a rock bass, both from the boat ramp at Whitten where we beat our shuttle by two hours due to an inability to waste time and fish on the river due to current. Grrrr.

Of course the flooding makes all of this academic and largely irrelevant. The temps are up as is the water. But that's my fishing report for March 9-12, 2008.

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