Striped Bass River Fishing
It’s not uncommon to catch Striped Bass weighing as much as 40 pounds, some 300 miles from the ocean.
Tip: Hot freshwater striper fishing spots are found below power-generating stations in fast rivers.
Striped Bass lay in wait below the generator discharge tubes and feed on the small fish that are pulled through the generator.
When fishing near operating power-generators, you should cast a jig or spoon lure near the tubes, letting the bait sink without hanging on bottom debris.
Aggressive Spring Feeding
Stripers feed aggressively in the spring before moving upstream to spawn.
From late April to July is spawning time for Striped Bass. Spawning begins early in the south while it may not start until summer in the north.
When river temperatures reach the mid 50’s, the freshwater Striped Bass find deep holes and depressions.
In large rivers where stripers school together below dams, use medium baitcasting equipment and 20lb test line. Attach a large minnow, squid, shad, or herring under its back fin to a weighted No. 3/0 hook, and wait for an eager striper to hook itself.
Cut bait is another successful seasonal lure as stripers love triangular pieces of cut shad about 4 inches in length and threaded on a 2/0 hook.
- Add enough weight to push the lure to the bottom of the river before casting the bait upstream on an angle
- As the bait bounces along the river bottom, keep the line tense and anticipate gentle strikes
- Set the hook at the first sensation of a strike
Fishing striped bass from shore
Fishing for stripers from the banks of fast-current rivers requires 12 ft surf rod with 20lb test line on a spinning reel.
If you’re casting large silver spoon lures, attach a ball-bearing swivel to the spoon to avoid twisting the line.
Brightly colored 1 or 2 ounce lead head jigs are popular favorites among freshwater.
Fast current lures
Lures are easily snagged on obstacles in the fast current, and must be retrieved quickly.
Strikes are difficult to detect in fast water. The bass will let the lure enter its mouth as directed by the current, without actively pursuing the lure. Therefore, any change in pressure or hesitations in the line may signal a strike.
When fishing near power-generating stations, anglers mustn’t anchor their boats at the working dam. Instead, begin at the dam and drift downstream with the motor running at low speed, while trailing a jig or large shiner.
Fishing large rivers
In large rivers you can safely anchor at the edge of the main current, about 30 feet above a boil. This is a surface phenomenon indicating a structure on the river bottom interrupting the current.
Below the surface boils, fish tend to congregate in the river bottom depression forged by the churning waters.
Live shad or minnow bait hooked through both lips work well in fast rivers, as do jigs and deep-running crank bait. With the reel in the free-spool position, let the striper engage with the live bait for a few seconds before equipping the reel and setting the hook.
With artificial lures, dangle the bait above the bottom depression, using the rod to change the vertical action of the lure.
You don’t need a boat to catch Striped Bass. They can be caught by casting from a dock or a rocky outcrop.
In some rivers, good numbers are caught so far upstream that make it likely that they remain there the year round as can be found in the Alabama river system.