Slayin the Muskie
Planned on fishing the little river dam this morning for 30 minutes before class. On my 3rd cast it happened again! If youve ever wanted to catch a muskie, they are here in force. I actually heard locals complaining that there are too many muskie in the river right now. Smallmouth fishing is slower than usual but ill take the big muskie any day. Ive caught a muskie my last 2 trips now, both from the shore. Little river dam, Radford VA. Fish the dam after any rain and the muskie are there.
You're on a roll with the Muskies!! . Looks like a challenge just to land one with all the current and rocks. I'm sure you haven't missed a class to go fishing. Nice going !!
" Think like a Fish "
Ya man, thanks for the heads up about that place. I got there about 10am and stayed til 3pm. In the morning I saw two huge fish near the surface right in close to the dam. The first was brown and long, probably a muskie about 35". The second I first thought was a striper but later realized it was likely a big carp about 20lbs. I fished some minnow jerk baits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits and had nothing all morning. Some radford kids came and were killing the smallies on little worms. I moved down shore a bit and used a green pumpkin wacky rigged senko and I started catching them myself. Six smallies and 1 pumpkin seed, biggest was about 15-16". It was relatively clear and when the sun was shining I was getting hits. Maybe a darker color would work for cloud cover.
Hope I run into you and watch your technique. I'll have to see what lures your used on the striper and musky. I realized I have almost nothing that would work for those in my freshwater bag.
@remobeater, all the locals seem to use shiners and madtoms at this location. everytime im down there i throw big lures (5" +) and seem to catch more fish. The lures look intimidating but ive caught a few smallmouth the size of the one your holding on the big lures. When it comes to freshwater fishing im a traditional largemouth guy so its taken me a while to learn river fishing. I noticed a bunch of minnows stacked up in a pool at the dam earlier this year and saw that they were all about 5-6" long so i changed my tactics to throwing larger baits and it has paid off. When the water is somewhat dirty after a good rain it seems that a more reflective (chrome) bait works better. Ive got to fish with you soon man, this place is a blast to fish. Glad to see that you were successful on the smallies there.
Seems like there are a decent amount of pumpkinseed since I saw two caught while I was there and I had a lot of small nibbles. Something imitating a 4-5" pumpkinseed might be good musky/striper bait. I also noticed a lot of crawdads in the pools nearby too, I tried some tubes and pig n' jig type baits in a couple different colors but they didn't get any bites.
You've described exactly what an old musky angler advised me to do when I first got started chasing that fish. In the spring, any barrier to upstream migration, be it a dam or a natural falls, will stack up with suckers, redhorse, and other prefered soft-rayed fish. As it was explained to me, musky will visit such places, but will often prefer to rest in the longer, deeper pools offering them good cover and calmer, slower water even quite a distance downstream. But being a sight-feeder, as the stream or river first begins to rise and take on a bit of color, the impetus to top off their tank is apparently pretty strong, and numbers of muskies may well move up to this barrier for a big, quickly-obtained meal while the getting is yet good. I'm not saying these fish cannot or will not feed at other times; only that for sake of efficiency that rain connection is quite valuable. Being there just as the spate conditions began was the whole deal, really... so I was advised to have my gear in the truck all spring, and drop whatever I was up to and 'get me to a barrier' feature, pronto.
It didn't much matter what I tossed at them so much as when I did the tossing. Once I took that advice, my production rate (fish per hour) really soared. At other times, it was only my hands and forearms that got sore, after long fruitless days of heaving bigger offerings, perhaps rewarded with just a raised or following fish but no pullage. Compared to stillwater angling for musky, small to medium rivers can really reduce that 'fish of ten thousand casts' to something much less daunting. My wife got her first legal fish after investing a cumulative life's effort of twenty... MINUTES!
WTG! Oh yeah, I fished that dam while at VT, and hooked or landed a coupl'a 'skis by accident fishing for smallies, but the 'bug' did not bite me until I went to work in WV. But the Ohio River drainage offered such a variety of species, I never could commit full-time to this sort of fishing.
That looks like fun. I've never fished for Muskie before, but that makes me want to go give that place a try.