Jiggys & Topwater for St Clair River White Bass and Atlantics

The Public Boat Launch at Deckers Landing is critical access to the Saint Clair River Delta on the North Channel of the Saint Clair River.  Here it spreads out and gets shallower at its mouth going into Lake Saint Clair.  Some times, Big Smallmouth are out in the current.  Usually Large Mouth Bass and Pike are on the edges in pockets of still water.  Musky fishermen have some good days here. A kayak is a great way to get to these fish when and where wind and power boat traffic allow.  When you can find these fish in water relatively clear water, they usually will rise up 10 feet or more to take big flashy poppersl.   Today, Thursday was overcast with an afternoon thunderstorm forecast.  Several boats were drifting the channel then trolling back upstream.  They are fishing deep.

I was looking for the White Bass run and the Hex hatch. I started out drifting down stream over 8 feet of water, casting across over deeper water looking for the big Smallmouth.  A good fish rushed the 3/0 popper throwing up a lot of water without touching it.  I jerked it out of the strike zone and couldn't get him to come back.   Small fish were toying with the big popper. 

On the other side of the channel where the Smallmouth sometimes are, on the 3rd cast a good fish hit the popper hard and ripped off 20 feet of line then jumped high.  A Steelhead!  But I knew it was an Atlantic Salmon, about 20 inches.  It never was hooked in the mouth, when I got him somewhat under control I thought he was hooked in the middle, when I got him closer he was hooked in the tail.

St. Clair R. Kayak Atlantic Salmon Bass popper

White Bass were occasionally harassing or hitting the big popper but mostly not getting hooked well enough to stay on.   On a #4 White Bead Head Jiggy, (like a Clouser) I got about 8 White Bass while figuring out a good rip and fall retrieve for drifting in the current and also while anchored.  About the middle of that bunch of white bass I hooked another Atlantic.  He didn't fight much but I got the net out and netted him and then he went crazy.

Kayak White Bass BeadHead White Jiggy Fly
Kayak Atlantic Salmon, Bead Head Jiggy Fly
White Bass, Marabou Banger Popper Fly
I switched to this 2/0 Chartreuse Banger, it was a blast to get those white bass after it and I caught 8 more on it.
Flies for St Clair R. Bass & Atlantic Salmon
Here are the flies of the day.  The 3/0 White and Chartreuse Bullet Dogs got a mediocre Large Mouth and a Pike respectively back out of the current.  About every cast back against the phragmite grass edges would get blasted by a small pike.  They all missed it and I was careful not to cast back to them.  The Chartreuse one got the 20 inch pike while casting out to open water.  It had this great walk the dog action until the pike damaged the hollow prism tape skirt.
The original silver bullets worked great here about 3 years ago in even clearer water with more white bass busting schools of minnows on the surface.  I was fishing two of them about 2 feet apart and luring up pods of white bass that swarmed over them until one or two got hooked.  After drifting down I would paddle troll back upstream and frequently hook one or two along the way.
White Bass, Kayak Trolled Floater Diver Fly
I tried a smaller 2/0 White Bullet Dog behind the 3/0 one.  Trolling back up this fish took the bigger 3/0 Chartreuse one.  The White bass moved on or shut down after that.  I tried for Pike in Musky spots for a while. Towards evening I tried this Bigger #2 Blue Flash Great Lakes Jiggy and got 3 more reluctant white bass on other side of the river.  The wind had switched after the thunderstorm. 
Kayak White Bass Great Lake Jiggy Fly
The #4 Chartreuse Bead Head Opal Minnow took them with ease and they were bigger females running now.
Kayak White Bass UV Chart Opal Minnow Fly
Kayak White Bass UV Chart Bead Head Fly
I regret not trying a bead head Swimming Hex pattern.  With a little luck I might have gotten a Hex hatch with Atlantics taking duns and emergers on the surface! 





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