Ohio River Sauger like breaks in the contour of bottom structure, especially when the bait-fish are close. Bait has a lot to do with how Sauger act and bite! Most people that fish from a boat sit on the lock entrance walls at Meldahl. People fish the big long wall and the little short wall. Most boaters sit still, and fish straight up and down without moving the bait much. I admit a lot of Sauger are caught there…but there are lots of other places to catch Sauger including Kentucky’s swifter waters and the south bank-line! There are also lots of other methods to catch these toothy cold water fish that I call, “Eyes”. I like dragging minnows.
In the Ohio River you have Saugeye, Walleye, and just plain old Sauger. They all look very much the same. Walleye and Saugeye do have a tendency to get bigger than the plain Sauger. Sometimes it’s very difficult to tell these fish apart. Also these fish congregate in different types of territory and there are different methods to catch these little toothy critters.
As the water gets colder “Eyes” often get more aggressive and like different bait presentations. For instance, “After I get my boat positioned in the wind and current, then I can begin SLOWLY dragging minnows across contour breaks, rocks to mud, rocks to gravel, sand, humps, stumps, break-lines, etc”. Saugers congregate around these spots when bait-fish are close. When “Eyes” get active you can catch a limit (10 fish) quick! You can also have 50-100 fish days without to much problem when they are real aggressive.
Three ways I like to fish dragging the minnow. 1. Drop-shot style…with big lead…with hook and minnow 12-15 inches above the sinker. This method keeps the bait up off the bottom. 2. Jig and minnow directly on the bottom…dragging or hopping…SLOWLY. Sometimes they are directly on the bottom. 3. Sinker and hook with minnow directly inline. All these methods work well…but some just work better on certain days. All I do is locate fish (sometimes on Graph) and drag a certain direction. Turn the boat around and do it over again. You’ll adapt and find what’s necessary depending on wind and current but when you do, you can load up on the “Eyes”.
Eddies are good to drag minnows through also. This method sometimes works well down the bank-line on the contour breaks. Also this method works sometimes on the 200, 400, 600, or 800 markers (a rocky area) on the north bank-line of Ohio. Saugers get in these various places at different times and congregate on bottom structure. Don’t be partial to dragging bait in these areas as they do hold fish. You will catch Sauger if you fish these areas. I fish up and down the North Bank of the Ohio Side. What determines when depends on how the current is and how many bank fishermen are scattered up and down the bank-line. You can also use the Blade-bait and spoon and just go with the current. There are lots of different ways to catch “Eyes”. Try it! See for yourself. You might be surprised.
The River in Cincinnati is 29′ and descending. 27′ in Cincinnati is pool. I haven’t seen the water yet, but I’m sure it’s very cloudy since the last rain. It doesn’t matter anyway. Sauger will eat in muddy water conditions also. It’s still super cold (10-25 degrees) but people will probably be out looking for “Eyes”…Friday and Saturday. Weather permitting I’ll probably be there.
Enjoy life fishing, even when it’s cold. B-r-r-r-r-r-r. Its very cold now! Dress warm. Be safe! Try dragging the bait slow and see what happens. Get ready for your limit of Sauger. Don’t forget about the Good Lord whether you catch any fish or not. God Bless. Thanks for stopping by Southwestern Ohio fishing.