Got a chance to get out and hit the Chenango River for a little bit last night. Rather than float, I prefer to run to what I consider to be my favorite 5 holes that I know have a history of producing the most quality fish for me in the 20+ years I’ve been fishing there.
I started near Greene, on Hogsback Road. This has always been one of my favorite holes to look at, but has produced very little. Why I keep going there is beyond me, lol. It has all the makings for a fabulous smallmouth location: current, depth, rocks. For whatever reason, they don’t like it. This particular evening was no different. After about 25 minutes I’m on my way to location #2.
Because I’m starting to wonder if the current cold snap is going to have an impact on the fish, I decide to skip right to my two favorite locations in Oxford. The first one is a bust. This really hurts, as I can usually get at least one smallie here 98% of the time. I spend nearly an hour here. I’m throwing the new Storm Arashi crankbait in the red craw pattern (I first saw this lure when it was still a prototype while fishing with my friend Brandon Palaniuk who helped design it), and a Yellow Hammer Rig in Hammertime Shad 5 wire, bladed rig, dressed with 4 inch Yum Money Hollowbelly Minnows. Two VERY different presentations, and neither of them produce anything. Blanking here has me concerned, but not defeated. I know I saved my favorite spot for last.
And luckily it’s not far away. I’m able to get there in about ten minutes and within 20 minutes I feel my first bend of the rod. It’s a heavy fish, but not fighting nearly hard enough to be a smallmouth. I bring the fish to the shore and see it’s roughly a 4 lb walleye. I had not expected that fish to eat the Storm lure, but it tells me I’m throwing the right bait and I quickly get it back in the water. I’m throwing into a current, bringing the bait downstream where it meets a back-current, and again I hook up. This time it’s a slightly harder fight, but again, not a smallmouth, but another walleye, this one pushing the 5 lb mark! I get another, then another, and soon it’s pretty clear that I’ve found a heavy school of these fish. While I’m happy to be catching fish, they’re not the reason why I came.
I pick up my YH rig and heave it out there. It’s not a light thing to throw, and it’s a much larger presentation, but the results are the same and I pull one walleye after another until dark. No smallmouth.
If you’re a walleye lover, the Chenango is on fire right now. If you’re like me, then you’ll hope the next time out is better for the smallmouth. Good luck!