In the Water
You need to fish for bass in a river by finding a way to get into the river. In shallower waters, this means that you can wade right in during the warmer months and walk in the water while fishing. If the weather is a bit cooler or the water too deep for this to be safe or practical, then a canoe or a float tube will suffice. By being in the water, you will make the places that bass prefer more accessible to your casts than if you were confined to the shore.
Ideal Fishing Locations
Find bass in structures along the river. Small mouth bass will look for any type of break from the river current that they can find. Places, such as bridges, downed trees, boulders and submerged logs, can provide a bass with relief from fighting the current of a river and allow them to stay in one place and wait to ambush their prey. Large mouth bass will tend to be along river banks where the current is less severe and in spots, such as coves and backwaters, where they do not have to constantly battle the current. When the weather turns really hot, the bass will head for the deeper holes and pools in a river.
Remember that small mouth bass always face the direction that the water is coming from. This allows them to get oxygenated water through their gills and lets them see whatever food is being swept downstream to their waiting mouths. When fishing for small mouth. it is a good idea to cast upstream and slowly bring your bait back to you, knowing that before it gets there the small mouth may attack it.
Keep your bait offerings smaller than if you were fishing for bass in a lake. The river bass will not be as large as those in a lake or large pond setting since the food supply is not as abundant and they are always dealing with the current, which almost acts as a treadmill so to speak, keeping the bass leaner than their lake cousins. The same large artificial lures that worked on the lake will be too big to get a reaction out of most river bass.
Use lures that resemble frogs or crayfish. Small mouth bass love to dine on crayfish, so any type of lure should have the coloring of these small crustaceans, which is usually brownish-green. Plastic baits, such as a two-tailed grub that can imitate the legs of a frog kicking as it swims, should also result in success.
Don't ignore the trusty night crawler when targeting river bass. With a number four hook and one or two split shots on your line, you should be able to cover most spots on a river that are likely to contain bass. Cast to structure and let a night crawler sit for up to a minute before retrieving it and trying again.