CURRENT RIVER SMALLMOUTH BASS FISHING
The Current River is an excellent smallmouth stream. Rising from springs deep in the Ozarks, the Current is one of the prettiest in the state. Several reaches of the river offer myriad possibilities for the smallmouth angler. With about 120 miles of fishable water on the river, there are many excellent areas to fish.
Cedar Grove to Akers Ferry
The smallmouth fishing begins in earnest below Cedar Grove, which is about 9 miles below Montauk State Park. Above Cedar Grove, the water is too cold for a consistent smallmouth spawn, and although some bass can be found there, it is primarily trout water. From Cedar Grove downstream 5 miles to Welch Spring, the river offers good fishing for both smallmouth bass and trout, a combination that makes this portion of the river one of it's best. The deep pools in this section hold smallmouth bass of surprising size and numbers. Below Welch Spring, the water again becomes too cold to support a good bass population, and the river is again primarily trout water for three miles to Akers Ferry, with a few smallmouth mixed in.
Akers Ferry to Pulltite
Below Akers Ferry, the effect of Welch Spring becomes less amplified, and smallmouth can once again be found in decent numbers. There are quite a few deep pools in this section that hold quality fish. The best methods here involve covering a lot of water. Although there are some trophy fish and smallmouth numbers are adequate, there aren't as many fish as further downstream.
Pulltite to Jacks Fork River Confluence
Below Pulltite access, the river becomes even better. By this point, the water has become significantly warmer, and can support excellent smallmouth spawns. The water is still very clear and fast moving here, and the water from Pulltite Spring to the mouth of the Jacks Fork River is some of the most appealing on the river. A float in this section will take you by springs, caves, bluffs, and most importantly, many deep pools full of smallmouth. This is the portion of the river that has become the most famous for it's smallmouth fishing, and rightfully so.
Jacks Fork Confluence to Big Spring
Below the Jacks Fork River, the Current becomes much larger and slower moving. Still, the water remains clear and the smallmouth fishing continues to be excellent. This is the portion of the river that holds the largest bass, and fish numbers remain excellent. Smallmouth tend to congregate where the riffle meet the long, slow pools. This is big water and it's often necessary to cover quite a bit of water.
Big Springs and Downstream
Big Spring, just downstream of Van Buren, makes yet another contribution to the Current River. Big Spring is the largest in North America, and usually contributes upwards of 300 Cubic Feet per second of water. Below the spring, the Current is a sprawling Ozarks foothills river, and it can be a bit intimidating. Because the center of the river is often too fast, fisherman would be well advised to focus on eddies and bankside water. Below Big Spring, fisherman can expect to find some walleye, Kentucky Bass, and Crappie mixed in with the smallmouth.
Canoe Traffic on the Current River
An article on fishing the Current River wouldn't be complete without a mention of the canoe traffic. The Current is difficult to fish on summer weekends. It receives intense use by recreational floaters, many of whom are drunk and have never been in a canoe before. At best it's frustrating, and at worst it can be dangerous. Our advice is to come either in the off-season or on a weekday.
Smallmouth Bass Fishing Techniques on the Current River
There are many successful techniques on the Current River. Spin-fishing is the most popular way to fish the river. Topwater plugs, live minnows, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits all work very well. Fly fishing is also very popular. Both floating bass bugs and streamers are extremely effective. A floating line will suffice upstream from the mouth of the Jacks Fork, while a sink-tip may be helpful below.
Lures for Smallmouth Bass on the Current River
Rebel Crawdad, deep diving
Spinnerbaits, 3/8 ounce to 1/8 ounce
Marabou Jigs (olive, White, and Black), 1/32 ounce to 1/8 ounce
3 inch green tube baits, texas rigged
Rooster Tail Spinner 1/24 ounce through 1/8 ounce (also works for trout)
5" Zoom Curly Tail Worms (Green Pumpkin), Texas Rigged
Minnows and Crayfish* (they work well, but you'll have to catch them yourself using a minnow trap)