I am looking to target the Lake run smallmouth in the Rivers (Rocky, Chagrin, etc.) What are some general areas to look for when trying to locate these fish. General baits? I usually use tubes, and rebel craws. Any other suggestions would be appreciated!
You usually want to fish the tailouts, in the deeper holes. The big ones don't seem to run up too far, the first few gravel bottom holes from the lake are the best spots. I have had the best luck with Vibrex spinners. #2 and #3 gold or silver work best for me, the clearer the water, the smaller the spinner. I caught so many on the #2 Gold one last year I got sick of them. A white twister tail with the lead head works well also. Don't forget, you can catch some really big ones off the shore in the lake(if the shoreline is ever clear enough). This would be the spot for the tubes. There is no better bait in the lake than live crayfish.
The best areas consist of several traits. Firstly the stretch of river must have a rock/gravel/shale makeup, if it doesnt dont waste your time fishing there. The geology of the banks are generally a great clue because it will be similar to the stream bed. You'll want to be primarily focusing on the heads of the pools. The best heads funnel the water into a lane less than the average width of whichever river youre fishing, allowing the smallmouth to use the area as an ambush point. If the head of a pool is rocky, funnels water AND is the very first riffle/run after a long stretch of shallow water (the longer the better), youve got yourself a spot on a spot. Also it's worth fishing at the tailout of any pool where a long stretch of shallow water begins, these areas are generally medicore but can be phenominal spots if they match that criteria. By shallow water i mean water as from your ankles up to your knees at the highest.
I've been crushing smallies this spring, last week on the Chagrin i found a white twister tail grub to be the best lure. I went out today on the Grand and caught them on flukes, #7 shad raps, white twisters, xraps, senkos and tube jigs but nothing came close to a 2.5 inch yum crawbug in green pumpkin with a widegap hook and a small split shot rigged approx. 5 inches above the bait. I was using a 1.8 gram split shot but if youre on the chagrin or rocky something around 1.2 grams would be best. Using this setup rigged on a 3/0 widegap hook with 6lb test i made my partner look silly, and i would highly reccomend using something similar if the rain holds off and we continue to experience extremely low and clear water.