“Know your enemy and know yourself and in a thousand battles you will never be in peril”
– Sun Tzu
I did not do well on my last two trips to the Potomac. I caught a few fish, but nothing like a normal day. What gives? HOT Heat!
I wanted to understand more about the behavior of smallmouth when things get warm, so I cruised the internet and found some good articles that net out what I needed to know. Turns out… it was what we already do know.
There is a great summary at GoFishn – here is the Cliff Notes version:
– Optimum temperature range for smallies is 66 to 72 degrees
– They retreat to deeper areas when water temperature is high
– They seek cover and avoid light – prefer shade
– A smallie will sit in the same hole all summer if he likes it.
– In rivers, smallies tend to stay in the cool middle where they can find larger pools between riffles.
– Preference is for crayfish and small fish
I saw a report last week that the Potomac was pushing 90 degrees after all the hot weather we have had. No wonder the smallies are not hanging in the normal places. When I was fishing with Dan Neuland, we did not get lucky until we found a very, very deep hole – and pulled several fish in a row out of it.
Given this, a good place to fish the Potomac right now is probably between Harpers Ferry and the Knoxville Falls where you have to wade out on the ridges because the water is so deep. In addition, if you have a boat, hit Whites Ferry on the Virginia side upstream from the ferry landing.
Unrestrained, unapologetic self serving plug here… of course, if you buy my Potomac book you would know about these spots as well as the top spot – based on the deep water criteria – I will not mention… it’s in the book and does not involve a long drive…. I will head there myself next week and verify my theory.
If you already have the Potomac book, just look for the chapters where I say wading is limited – that’s where the deep water is – and, if there is a way to fish it from the shore or limited wading – I tell you where to go.
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Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore