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I have been fishing the Algonquin Dam a fair bit this year and occasionally the Carpentersville Dam and really enjoying the smallmouth fishing (see below for the best fish so far this year). Usually this time of year I pack it up and wait for spring, but this year I've been trying some winter smallmouth fishing and have been mostly unsuccessful. I've gone to the Algonquin Dam about 3 times over the last week or 2 and got skunked each time. I've been trying to find some (relatively) deeper, slow moving water and I just don't think there is much around the dam. I've been trying to drag some paddle tail swimbaits and bitsy bugs on the bottom real slow, but I haven't had much luck. Does anyone have any recommendations for locations between the Algonquin Dam and Carpentersville Dam where you could shore fish for some smallmouth in the winter? I'm thinking about trying Buffalo Park next, but am not sure if the river is much different there than the dam. Thanks in advance!

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Pull up Maps and do some recon. It took me a while to make sense of what I was seeing on the map versus what the water really looks like. Fast moving water isn’t the ticket in fall/winter. Look for bends, cut banks and eddies.
 

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Yep what Barca said. I'm not convinced all the smallmouth will pull downstream to the slow pool created by the dam downstream of where you're fishing. Some will hold in areas Barca mentioned. Slow, protected, relatively deep, water with rock, boulders, and/or wood would seem to be the ticket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Pull up Maps and do some recon. It took me a while to make sense of what I was seeing on the map versus what the water really looks like. Fast moving water isn’t the ticket in fall/winter. Look for bends, cut banks and eddies.
Thanks! That's a good call. Probably can tell a lot from Google Maps. Like you said, the more I looked around the dam, the more I realized that there wasn't much slow moving water around the dam. Figured it was best to try and find a new spot for the winter.
 

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Yep what Barca said. I'm not convinced all the smallmouth will pull downstream to the slow pool created by the dam downstream of where you're fishing. Some will hold in areas Barca mentioned. Slow, protected, relatively deep, water with rock, boulders, and/or wood would seem to be the ticket.
Thanks! That is very helpful. I'll snoop around and see what I can find.
 

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I have been fishing the Algonquin Dam a fair bit this year and occasionally the Carpentersville Dam and really enjoying the smallmouth fishing (see below for the best fish so far this year). Usually this time of year I pack it up and wait for spring, but this year I've been trying some winter smallmouth fishing and have been mostly unsuccessful. I've gone to the Algonquin Dam about 3 times over the last week or 2 and got skunked each time. I've been trying to find some (relatively) deeper, slow moving water and I just don't think there is much around the dam. I've been trying to drag some paddle tail swimbaits and bitsy bugs on the bottom real slow, but I haven't had much luck. Does anyone have any recommendations for locations between the Algonquin Dam and Carpentersville Dam where you could shore fish for some smallmouth in the winter? I'm thinking about trying Buffalo Park next, but am not sure if the river is much different there than the dam. Thanks in advance!

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Well I am no expert by any means but I listen to other fishermen that are way smarter than me. Speaking of smarter, you need to follow Mike Son on this forum and follow his threads, that guy knows a thing or two about a thing or two. The most success I have found in late fall /winter is going as light as possible along with a slow presentation. What I mean is, typically in spring /summer I fish with 20lbs braid with 8lbs fluorocarbon leaders in the rivers. In the fall I strip one or two of my panfish setups and I spool up 8lbs or 10lbs braid with 6lbs or 8lbs mono leader. I switch to mono from fluoro because the bass, especially small mouths grab the bait but they don't inhale it like in June /July. The mono is just a little more sensitive than the fluoro so you can feel them a bit better when they pick up the bait. Once they pick up the bait you have about 2 seconds to pull back or you just missed them. Another thing I found, instead of using my normal 7'-2" medium action rod, I use a 7'-6" medium-light rod (panfish setup).

There area decent number of guys on this forum that swear by tubes in the late fall /winter season (I'm going to give them a try this season). The past two fall /winter seasons I have had a lot of success with Ned Rig. The longer the pause, the more successful the Ned is. The Ned Rig works great in calmer or back water areas. If I'm fishing with currents than I use a #2 or #3 Mepps, slowed way down. Test out a couple of things and see what works but my advice, use a light setup that will let you know if it's a rock /twig or a smallie just taking a taste. Good Luck.
 

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Too many people fish Algonquin dam the Carpentersville Dam well that's just plain sucks. Try either on the east side under I-90 around the island or on the west side by the rocks
 

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There is a guy on YouTube no not geo BTMBass he fishes the stretch between the C'vill Dam and Algonquian Dam out of a boat but you have shore access via the bike trail watch his videos he usually puts Maps up you also have Google Earth
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I am no expert by any means but I listen to other fishermen that are way smarter than me. Speaking of smarter, you need to follow Mike Son on this forum and follow his threads, that guy knows a thing or two about a thing or two. The most success I have found in late fall /winter is going as light as possible along with a slow presentation. What I mean is, typically in spring /summer I fish with 20lbs braid with 8lbs fluorocarbon leaders in the rivers. In the fall I strip one or two of my panfish setups and I spool up 8lbs or 10lbs braid with 6lbs or 8lbs mono leader. I switch to mono from fluoro because the bass, especially small mouths grab the bait but they don't inhale it like in June /July. The mono is just a little more sensitive than the fluoro so you can feel them a bit better when they pick up the bait. Once they pick up the bait you have about 2 seconds to pull back or you just missed them. Another thing I found, instead of using my normal 7'-2" medium action rod, I use a 7'-6" medium-light rod (panfish setup).

There area decent number of guys on this forum that swear by tubes in the late fall /winter season (I'm going to give them a try this season). The past two fall /winter seasons I have had a lot of success with Ned Rig. The longer the pause, the more successful the Ned is. The Ned Rig works great in calmer or back water areas. If I'm fishing with currents than I use a #2 or #3 Mepps, slowed way down. Test out a couple of things and see what works but my advice, use a light setup that will let you know if it's a rock /twig or a smallie just taking a taste. Good Luck.
Thanks for the super detailed feedback. I really appreciate it. That is interesting that you mentioned the lighter bite. I even noticed at the end of the fall some of the hits that ended up being fish really didn't seem like much of anything. I wonder how many I've missed assuming it wasn't a hit at all. I've never tried a Mepps or Ned Rig. I tried a tube out briefly this winter but didn't have much success (but I think I'm not at a good spot in the river for winter). I'll have to check that out too. I'll definitely check out some of the other names on the forum too. Thanks again for the feedback!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Too many people fish Algonquin dam the Carpentersville Dam well that's just plain sucks. Try either on the east side under I-90 around the island or on the west side by the rocks
Thanks! I'll have to check those spots out. Yeah, it can get a little annoying around the dams for sure. I'm always a little surprised at how willing other people are to get to up close to you (especially if you are catching fish). Even when you are there before them. Looking forward to finding some more spots off the beaten path. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There is a guy on YouTube no not geo BTMBass he fishes the stretch between the C'vill Dam and Algonquian Dam out of a boat but you have shore access via the bike trail watch his videos he usually puts Maps up you also have Google Earth
Awesome. I'll need to take a look (especially if he fishes that stretch). Thanks! Is the bike trail you are talking about the one along the west side of the river? I haven't check it out before but I think I saw it on Google Maps.
 

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Awesome. I'll need to take a look (especially if he fishes that stretch). Thanks! Is the bike trail you are talking about the one along the west side of the river? I haven't check it out before but I think I saw it on Google Maps.
No on the East side use Google earth you can park in the side of thr road and walk to the river or park in thr park
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No on the East side use Google earth you can park in the side of thr road and walk to the river or park in thr park View attachment 140751
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Ohhh, got it. I see it now. I was looking at whatever path is on the south side of Buffalo Park. But the one big bike path goes along the east side. Perfect. Thanks for grabbing the Google Maps screenshots again.
 

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Let us know how you do if you don't have a boat or kayak maybe put a pair of waders on your Christmas list wading Buffalo Park North is a good thing and will give you more opportunities
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Tried shore fishing from the west side of Buffalo Park today. Was there for a few hours this morning and unfortunately, no fish. I would say it was more of a scouting trip to get the lay of the land as opposed to fishing a few spots hard. Covered from the water inlet for the water treatment facility to the first major bend (See red line below). Seems like the water level was pretty low and shallow on the west side of the river with the main current closer to the east side. Had a hard time finding deeper/slower moving water (but it was more promising as I got further south in the park). As mentioned, I think it would have been easier with waders or a kayak to cover more of the river. I'll have to try to cover more of the park and some of the other places mentioned. Thanks again to everyone for the advice!

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