Paddling the Elkhorn

A friend and I put in his new Mad River canoe just below Great Crossings dam one warm afternoon last week. We had parked a vehicle at Robinson dam, a short paddle downstream, and planned to fish along the way.  The canoe tracked well, but was a little tippy with two big guys on board.  We managed to stay upright, however, and fished the slightly flooded stretch.

Along the way, we passed a fellow on a float tube, who told us that he had caught and released 12 keeper-sized smallmouth at the mouth of Cane Run, halfway downstream.  We got to the mouth, and sure enough, minnows were jumping like crazy–a sign of predators chasing bait under the surface.  We threw a shad-pattern crankbait and a rooster tail for 15 minutes, no luck.  We paddled down to Robinson, where we met the guy again.  He told us there that his  method  was to paddle up Cane Run around the first bend, then he would drift down quietly, throwing a soft craw on a 1/8th jig. At the mouth, he could hang the boat up on a downed tree, then quietly throw the lure into the baitfish madness.  We had come in from the creekside, noisy, throwing topwater lures.

I’ll have to head back and try it again on my kayak, using his method. I was just glad to spend a nice afternoon fishing.  My friend did manage to land a decent 13-inch smallie at Robinson after we got out–so we didn’t get skunked.

2 thoughts on “Paddling the Elkhorn”

  1. I’ve always wanted to float this little section because the fishing pressure is much less than above the dam but was unsure about the take out down stream. What is the situation at Robinson dam? Who owns the land and do they care for you to park a car there for take out?


    1. The land immediately next to Robinson is public property. There is a small area you can take out next to the dam–not a ramp, just a shallow slope to the parking area.
      There is a rock wall before you get to the dam; everything before the rock wall is private property, but the gravel area beyond it (creek side of the road) is public. The owner of the house there isn’t thrilled with piles of people parking, but it is public property. As long as you don’t wander onto the private property, or leave trash, everything is fine. I park there frequently to wade below the dam (excellent smallmouth and GIGANTIC carp, if you are into that).

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