A magnificent sunset greeted us as we walked the pier. Before it could
disappear the first fish of the evening was hooked. A gorgeous smallmouth was
tail dancing over the rocks into the net.
Once darkness took over the walleye slowly moved in. Instead of a tube jig
we were using Rapala Husky Jerks and Smithwick Rogues. The action got better
the closer that we got to midnight.
Rocks and riprap draw bass throughout the summer. Where does an angler find
such structure? Piers, wing dams, shoreline riprap, shallow river gravel bars,
and bridge overpasses are top locations to fish.
These areas are lined with rocks that draw crawfish and minnows that in
return draw smallmouth bass and at times largemouth bass. Another bonus fish
are walleyes that are caught along the rocks.
Most bass anglers use a tube jig in either crawfish or motor oil color, and
pitch the jig on top of and along side of the rocks. Keep the jigs hopping
because if it sits still too long it will end up wedged in the rocks.
A live crawfish is another good option. Most anglers hook the crawfish
through the tail and use a small split shot for weight. A leech hooked behind
the sucker cup on a floating jig head is another deadly technique.
Finding Productive Riprap
Riprap is normally chunks of concrete placed along side of a shoreline for
erosion protection. The quicker that the depth drops into deep water the better
The best riprap will have a depth of 1- to 2 feet right at the shoreline.
Predator fish can slide in tight and ambush any unsuspecting prey. On calm days
you will easily see the shallow concrete slabs poking out of the water.
These concrete slabs often run fairly close to the first drop off and the
height changes like a yo-yo. This is one of the easiest structures to find but
one of the hardest to fish because of the many jagged edges and traps.
Shore-bound anglers can use a presentation already mentioned or a slip
bobber with a leech. The nice thing about the slip bobber is that an angler
often can cast to the deep-water drop-offs and work the break line and the
rocks. This is a fine-tune presentation that covers all of the "nooks and
crannies" along with the drop-off.
At night, a lighted bobber is great, and casting a Rogue or Husky Jerk is
also always a good bet after the sun sets.
Many rivers have sections of rocks, wing dams, dams or chunks of concrete
along their shoreline. Locating a pile of rocks is also very productive.
Shallow Streams Produce
Some of my favorite streams are only 1- to 3 feet deep on gravel or rock bars.
This is a perfect location to cast from. Actively feeding fish will be on top
of the rocks and slip down into the holes to rest.
Some of the best locations include a gravel run that is located at the top
of the hole. Feeding fish will rise up from the hole, feed, and then slide back
into their sanctuary.
A bend in the river, or a fallen tree located close to a riprap shoreline or
grave, are other great spots that are easy to locate.
Also overlooked but easy to find hotspots on a river are overpass locations. The
bridges all have concrete pillars and most also have concrete or rock along their
shorelines. Find a bridge or train track crossing the river and you will find
fish under them.
The two best methods to catch them are with a jig or a slip bobber. The
pillars closest to shore often are full of debris creating perfect habitat for
any predator fish.
Fish Bridge Pillars
Fishing the upstream section of the pillars can be great. They are by far my
favorite location for any species on a river. A deep hole often accompanies the pillars
and debris. This also creates a current break and a bit of slack water along
the bottom. Food travels on both sides of the pillar making for an easy meal.
After dark, the fish often move shallow feeding on the rocks protecting the
shoreline. Once the sun goes down and the moon peaks out, I love using a Heddon
Tadpolly. This slow-moving, banana-style bait can be worked across the surface
or down a few feet. Tip it with an inch of night crawler to increase your odds of success.
Cast parallel to the rock structure thus keeping the bait in the strike
zone longer. Walleyes love rocks and after dark this becomes a real
hotspot. Savvy anglers use lighted or glow bobbers such as the Pro Series from
Remember that the walleyes are feeding and on the move. Throwing out two
lighted bobbers is a sure fire way to success. When fishing an inland lake or a
drowned river system there are plenty of points with either rocks or rubble.
Once again casting a lighted bobber upwind and letting it blow across the point
Try the piers, a dam, the riprap, bridges and the rocks for some excellent
bass and walleye fishing this summer. These locations are feeding spots and
patience is required for success.
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