As the water temperature descends to under 60 degrees the tributaries that flow into the Ohio River begin lighting up with bait fish. This means good fishing!
The main river points begin to hold congregations of Largemouth Bass, Kentucky Spotted Bass, Sauger, White Bass, Hybrid Stripers, Drum, Crappies, etc. At this time these predator fish become very active in their feeding patterns.
To catch Bass I like to use slim shad colored crank-baits or jerk-bait. To catch sauger I like the jig and minnow with various weight changes depending on River current and wind conditions that vary from day to day on the Ohio River.The jig and minnow works well in shallow water to 25 feet depths. I like to fish verticle but dragging bait also works well.
Sometimes sauger suspend up off the bottom structure which leads me to using a drop shot rig, or a 3 way swivel rig with a short leader and heavy weight. Live minnows are what it takes to catch fish…sometimes directly on the bottom…sometimes up 15 inches off the bottom.
I often use jigging spoons at various weights depending on current and water clairity differences. The 1/2oz. silver spoon works best for me but gets hung up easy. Heavier spoons 3/4 oz. – 1oz. don’t get hung as easy but they fall faster and don’t seem to produce as many sauger on the hook. There is no rule of thumb and all spoon fishing will catch fish.
Thirdly the good ole blade baits catch sauger also. Verticle jigging works best on these baits as they get hung up “very” easy in the horizontal cast and retrieve. The Vibe, the Silver buddy, the Calcutta, Big dude’s etc. work well on these toothy fish. The colder the water the better blades are for great sauger action on the Ohio River. I also speak of Meldahl dam fishing as the water temp goes on down from 50 degrees to 34 degrees in the coldest part of Winter.
Saugers bite all Winter! If you can stand it you can catch fish. Just be conscious of the wind as wind can be a big enemy to the fisherman in Nov.-Jan. Saugers will begin their Winter congregation at Meldalh very soon!
I haven’t got into saugers alot… yet this year but I do hope to real soon. Just wanted to share a few methods with you to catch these little critters. Just trying to get you geeked for some of the best fishing Southern Ohio has to offer all year. I’ll keep you posted if things progress.
Enjoy life fishing! Think about the Father God and treasure the good times you have fishing and enjoying Mother Nature. The best bite is yet to come. See you there!