Will and Richie holding three smallmouth bass caught in a river.

Tips for Bass Fishing Big Rivers

The very first time I went bass fishing on a big river, I chose a deep and wide section of the Willamette River just outside of Portland, Oregon. Our rivers in Oregon are wide, deep, and have bass everywhere. So trying to pick exactly where to fish can be a challenge.When it comes to river fishing for bass, the amount of water and paces to fish can be intimidating. But taking a step back, breaking down the different water, structure, and paying close attention to the current can give you a huge advantage to fishing those smallmouth or largemouth.So before you hit the river to chase some bass, take these big river tips with you.Pay Attention to Current & Water Flow: to find bass on big rivers, you want to look for flow, but not too much or too little. Find the breaks or seams in the river off the main channel where the speed of the current is slower than walking speed. And once you find the current or flow where the bass are hanging out, stick with the flow.Fish the Main River & Back Waters: big rivers have so many areas to fish, sometimes too many good areas to fish. Find those areas where the flow looks good in combination with structure where the bass can hang out. I typically start on the main river and move into back waters.Focus on Big Structure in the Fall: feeding time in the fall means ambushing bait fish and easy meals before the winter. As the days go from super warm to getting just a bit colder, find big structure where bass could hang around. Rocks, pilings, big timber all present areas to target first.Have Crawfish & Worms Rigged and Ready: nothing beats a good crawfish and a stick worm when river fishing. Bass thrive on crawdads, so when the bass move up shallow in the spring, use crawdad creature baits to your advantage to hook aggressive bass. And fishing in deeper pockets on the main river, I love a weighted wacky rig with a worm stick bait. The smallmouth will gobble it up.Keep Moving Around: and when one spot doesn’t pay off, go find another spot. The Willamette River close to my house has miles and miles of fishable areas. So if one location doesn’t produce a bite, I will move to another spot. But when I do find the bass, it’s game on with hookup after hookup.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *