FLINT RIVER SHOAL BASS - CHATTAHOOCHEE STRIPERS
LARGEMOUTH BASS & BREAM LAKES - GAR & CARP
Tactics and Equipment
Unlike the largemouth bass and other fresh-water game fish, stripers are generally not ambush attackers, but rather roving predators on the move in search of prey. They can travel miles and miles in a single day. Rivers do tend to concentrate them somewhat, due to the constant current and bait concentrations.
In low water conditions, the fish will often hold in deeper holes above and below shoals. When water levels rise, they will move right into the shoals.
Seemingly at odds with their wolf-pack habits, they can often be found near downed trees on undercut banks. This is not because they are using the timber as cover, but because the wood fosters algae growth which attracts shad, the stripers main prey.
Our flies for stripers are almost exclusively shad imitations, and the fish are usually not especially picky as to the specific pattern. Much more important is the size - if the majority of shad are 3", that is the size fly we use. If the shad are 6", a 3-incher won't work. My most-used flies are whistlers and deceivers - both with flashtails.
Another major factor is presentation. Though this fishing is quite removed from the typically associated peace and serenity of trout fishing on streams, the fly must still act and move like bait - and it must be in the right place. To accomplish this, we use a combination of floating, intermediate, sink-tip and full sinking lines. Rods sizes generally range from 6 to 9 weights depending on fly size and conditions. We furnish all flies and equipment, or you can bring your own.
On this section of the Hooch, prime time would have to be considered as winter through early spring. When it's cold, the shad often move to the upper ends of the lake and into the river seeking warmer water. Where the shad go, the stripers will follow. When the upstream dams begin power generation and the water rises, the shad get pushed downstream and the stripers often attack in the churning water of shallow shoals.
Summertime and high water temperatures will also bring the stripers into the shoals at times. They like cool water and especially the high oxygenation of the water in the shallow shoals. There are a couple of photos here of wading anglers, but be advised extreme caution is needed if you wade - water levels rise quickly and bring big trouble without the right boat.
The spring spawning run also brings good striper fishing. The spawn varies depending on the section of the river, but usually ranges from mid-March through April and maybe into May.
On the lower sections of the river, the stripe run also coincides with another unusual fishery - the spawning run of the skipjack herring. Not a glamorous name perhaps, but remember the mighty tarpon is also a herring as is the Atlantic and hickory shad. The skipjack usually ranges in size from 14" to 24" and does indeed look like a miniature tarpon. Best of all, they usually are present in large numbers, hit hard, jump high and run fast. We like to get on the water near daylight, fish stripers for 3 hours or so, then pull out the lightweight rods and catch a few dozen skipjack to cap the day
Guided Trips for Stripers
Want to catch a river striper on the fly? Give me a call and let's talk about the timing. I have all the equipment if you do not. We can also talk about your experience level and get an idea if you're ready for big rods, big flies and big fish. This is not trout fishing ;).
Check the Guided Trips area for more info and rates...
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