With a jig on small rivers

At the height of winter, most fishermen tend to reservoirs or large rivers, but these reservoirs do not always justify their hopes. It is difficult to find fish in big water, and the fishing pressure is very strong here, especially where there are convenient entrances. However, all winter long it is quite successfully possible to fish on small and even very small rivers, of which there are a lot in the central zone.


After reading this introduction, many will smile skeptically: after all, it is known that fish roll down from rivers into large bodies of water even in the fall. This is true, but not all. The fish do slide down, but a significant part of it remains for the winter in the estuarine areas. Despite the modest size of the rivers, fish are often found here very solid: perches up to 500 grams, roach up to 300, but usually, of course, much smaller, 50-100 grams. It happens that, having hit a good hole, it is possible to catch 10-15 decent fish on the move. And often everything goes interspersed: roach, chubs, perches. At the confluence of two rivers, they usually catch the one that is larger, opposite the mouth of a smaller tributary. It is believed that fish concentrate here. So it happens, but closer to spring. And at the beginning of the wilderness, the most promising site is just in the tributary. And it can stretch for a hundred meters or a couple of kilometers. Such places are rarely visited by fishermen, so you have to navigate there not by paths and old holes, but by the coastal relief.

It is always better to search for fish along the coast: in the middle, most often the bottom is flat, there is nothing interesting for fish there. On rivers, fish are always very unevenly distributed, so it is important to imagine the bottom topography in the selected area in advance. The main goal is various pits, pits, snag. If there are backwaters or bends in the channel, it is worth starting with them. When cornering, fish often concentrate on the steeper bank, where the stream hits. It is constantly being washed away, so the depth of a meter in two can be almost at the very edge. Chubs are often found near the washed-out coast, and large chubs can be caught even more often in winter than in summer. Various backwaters and bays are of interest for a different reason. There is no current in them, the bottom is muddy, so bloodworms are found there. Usually roach keep in such places. It happens that a fallen tree creates a natural obstacle to the flow. It washes away from above, and a small whirlpool forms below. The difference in depths above and below the obstacle can be one and a half meters. Such points are one of the most promising on small rivers.

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Fishing on small rivers is always popular. The fish is kept locally, and it is almost impossible to collect it with bait. All that remains is to search. Each hole I fish for 10-15 minutes, if there are no bites, I go further. It happens, just got drilled – after a couple of minutes a bite, and then silence. This means that the fish has moved away and we must wait a little. The main thing is to be as quiet as possible. When fishing at shallow depths, especially in poorly visited places, this is of fundamental importance.

If it is very difficult to collect fish with bait, then it is quite possible to keep it in place. It is best to use a clean feed bloodworm for this: during the course, the fish reacts to it much more actively and faster than to ordinary bait. But you should feed very carefully. On the course, the incorrectly fed groundbait will be carried away, and the fish will leave after it. It is necessary to use the feeder with extreme caution: any hit on the bottom – and fishing in this place will be spoiled for a long time. I usually drill another one meter or one and a half above the promising hole, into which I lower the food directly from my hand – with a weak current and a depth of 2-2.5 meters, it turns out to be at the bottom just near my jig. This method, of course, requires some experience. I feed it in very small doses, one pinch at a time, since the main goal is not to collect the fish, but to keep it.

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It is best to move upstream if possible. In a day, it is possible to work no more than a kilometer of the river, and if the fish is active, then only a hundred meters. Moving forward, it is worth feeding a little those holes where there were bites, and check them on the way back. Very often there are even more bites on them than the first time. That is why I always try to leave more time on the way back. Apparently, the point is again in the caution of the fish: the noise of the borax scares her away, and by the time she returns she has time to calm down. By the way, it is better not to drill the frozen holes, but simply to push through with your foot.


The fishing rod is one and the simplest – a balalaika with a nod. The fishing line is 0.10-0.12 mm, it can be thinner, but this does not increase the number of bites. The jig is small, but it makes no sense to put the smallest ones. The fish on the river are not too picky about the bait, and the current must be taken into account. Large jigs sometimes help when fishing for chub: unlike others, it is more picky about the size of the bait. Several times I came across the fact that as soon as I changed the small jig to a larger one, the number of chub bites sharply decreased, but the size of the fish increased noticeably. The shape of the jigs does not really matter. I mainly use Tula, but various “balls”, “ants”, “uralochki” are also suitable. Color – silver, gold and olive. The latter often works better than others: apparently, it is similar to the color of the free-living form of caddis flies, which in many bodies of water is a favorite food for fish.

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Usually fishing is done with a bloodworm or with a Chernobyl. A large perch, by the way, prefers the latter more. Almost always, the fish takes better on the game, but when fishing on the current, it is rather arbitrary – often it is just a smooth rise of the bait. Squinting creates some problem. They, like roach, concentrate at the submerged snag and often cut off the jig.

On small rivers, for all their attractiveness, safety precautions must be taken very seriously. There are almost always areas with relatively strong currents that wash away the ice. Usually the ice on them is darker and these places are clearly visible from afar, but after heavy snowfalls it is difficult to see them. If the frosts are strong, the ice is usually reliable, but during a thaw, especially a long one, you need to be very careful. At this time, it is better to move not along the ice itself, but along the coast. It can be tiring, but it’s calmer.