Overcoming tough fishing conditions on the Mohawk

Normally I’m not one to complain about fishing conditions. But right now catching fish the Mohawk river is tough.

The other day I went fishing in the early morning on the Mohawk and found the water crystal clear. I ended up catching one 3 lb smallmouth bass weighing on a shiner at 6:15 am. After that the action died down and I ended up leaving about an hour and a half later. Surprisingly I saw no one else fishing on the river, despite plenty of skullers and a couple kayakers. Normally there is at least one or two boats I’ll see in the morning on a weekday.

The reason for the poor fishing? Enormous amounts of baitfish, super clear water, and a plethora of weeds make it tougher than ever to land good gamefish like bass and walleye. Locating and catching active fish is essentially a big crapshoot at the moment.

My best recommendation for a strategy to overcome these conditions is to use a large artificial lure like a plastic frog or worm or even a jerk bait and go off the surface. Cover as much surface as possible and go out in the morning or evening when the water is calm. Look for big splashes or scattering risings, and be quick to act on these.

I’ve had my best luck fishing the usual hot spots like feeder mouths and drop offs using a larger than normal shiner or 4 or 5 inch floating rapala. While the bass are absolutely gorging themselves on 1 to 3 inch minnows right now, it seems they have a definite preference for larger baitfish. The other day I proved myself right as the smallmouth ended up ignoring any shiners that were less than 4 inches long.

So my advice for any anglers who go out on the mohawk is to have a good floating lure and a lot patience. Or wait a couple weeks for it to get a little cooler.
Good luck!


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