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Meramec 7-16-18


hank franklin

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My cousin and I hit the Meramec hard this past weekend from Bird's Nest to Onondaga. Threw everything we had at them. Fishing was decent, good at times, but never great. One theory was it was a full moon weekend, which in lore of course means the fish are more active at night. Don't know.

We don't count fish but a good estimate would be about 80 percent smallmouth if not more. The spotted bass invasion really does seems to have cooled off. Main point is we had absolutely no fish of any size to speak of between Bird's Nest and Huzzah confluence. Not sure if this was bad luck, bad fishermen or what, but we caught 100+ easy through here and not one over more than 12.5 inches. For whatever reason our luck changed some below the Huzzah, where we got into a few of bit larger size.

Question to the group is is anyone having similar experience on the Meramec? In some ways it's disheartening to absolutely pound this prime habitat and every catch is a 10-12 incher, with NOT EVEN ONE of any size. Again, could be bad luck or we're just not that great an angler, but our ridiculously liberal length and creel limits has to have something to do with it.

No doubt this six-fish, 12-inch limit crap is just stupid. The reg favors a small part of the fishing population to the detriment of the rest of us.

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No doubt this six-fish, 12-inch limit crap is just stupid.

Yeah, that. Plus the bigger fish on stretches of river like that have seen THOUSANDS of lures, and have probably been fooled by them once or twice, and now they're just leery. We had the same results on the Big Piney last weekend. Lots of fish, only a few worth mentioning. In the best looking stretch of river that sees the most floaters, we did the worst, even though we did that stretch on a Monday and only saw a few other canoes. The fish just get hammered.

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I've fished the Meramec 2x in the past 3 weeks. Once the 10 miles to Onodaga, and once the 10 miles starting there. I (we) also have been catching only smaller fish. Talking with my buddy, we kinda attributed it to trying to cover too much water too fast in the hot weather, but who really knows?

Anyway, Sunday we are gonna hit the water real early and float a shorter float and slow down and pick apart the best areas, as opposed to running through everything fast with a spinnerbait or crankbait as we usualy do.

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In a turn below Onondaga last week I caught on back-to-back-to-back casts a smallie, then a spot, then a white bass on a 1/4oz tandem spinnerbait. It's the first time I had caught a white on the Meramec. And I don't catch many spots at all in that area, either (thank goodness). Still looking for my first walleye on the Meramec, however.

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The spotted bass don't get abundant until you get below Meramec State Park, and it seems to have been that way for a long time. It might vary from year to year, some years you catch a few more than others, and high water years seem to push more spots up into the upper portions of the river. But the smallies seem to have been holding their own for 20 years on the river above Meramec Park.

From what I've heard, nobody is catching many good fish out of the middle Meramec this summer. And it is getting pounded. I agree on the regulations...the Meramec from Birds Nest to Meramec Park is certainly capable of growing lots of big smallmouth, and any kind of reg that would keep a lot of the 12 to 16 inchers from getting cropped off would help. But as Eric said, a lot of it is simply fishing pressure, even catch and release fishing pressure. There probably aren't as many bigger fish as there should be, but the ones that are there are pretty sophisticated.

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