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Fishing the Blue River (Milltown to Rothrock)

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Joined: 25 May 2009
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 8:44 pm    Post subject: Fishing the Blue River (Milltown to Rothrock) Reply with quote

My boyfriend and I camped and fished on the Blue River this weekend. This was our first time on the Blue River - we'll definitely be back!

We fished from the Milltown put-in to the Rothrock Mill take-out point on May 23, 2009. We caught five or six rock bass, each about 6 inches, on beetle spinners (neon yellow/black color scheme) along the rocky outcroppings on the river, usually in the slower sections (between numbers 2 and 3 on the map that Cave Country Canoes gives you of this section). We also caught one smallmouth, about 8 inches long, on the same beetle spinner, and had a nice 12 incher jump off the lure. Finally, we caught two 4-5 lb buffalo fish on crank baits by casting along the middle of the waterway. The first buffalo we caught around 11 a.m.; the second around 4 p.m. The bass hit best from about noon to 2 p.m. We started seeing the buffalo fish sitting on the rocks just above the rapids on the second half of the trip; most were a good 4-6 lbs. We also saw one nasty-looking gar with the buffalo fish.

Here's a video of my boyfriend landing the second buffalo fish (the likes of which we had never seen before):

Cave Country Canoes ran us on this trip. They were very professional and I recommend them. However, I don't recommend the 14 mile run we did from Milltown to Rothrock Mill for fishing - there's just too much paddling to do over all that flat water. This part of the river was easily navigable, as it had plenty of water. We got stuck only once and never had to portage.

We camped with Blue River Campgrounds (primitive camping), which is located above the dam, opposite the beautiful bluff one can see from Paoli. Very nice people there, courteous and friendly. We plan to camp with them again. Here's the website:

The next day (May 24), I went drove back down from Bloomington with my fishing kayak, put in at Milltown below the dam, and fished the first four rapids before paddling back up to the put-in point. I caught three 6 inch rock bass by standing on the shallow left side of the rapids and casting into the eddies, then reeling back along the rapids. There are several places along those four rapids where one can cast into the eddies. The water depth in the rapid shallows was about 1 1/2 feet. Water temperature seemed to be in the 60's with good overall depth - about 3-4 feet in most places, but with plenty of deep pools (six feet+). I used the same beetle spinners that had been so effective the day before. I caught the three bass over a ten minute period at about 6 p.m.

Wildlife spottings: river otters (very early morning), ducks with ducklings, a muskrat, cattle cooling off in the river, blue herons, several turtles, and a red squirrel. Plenty of deer tracks. We were surprised that we didn't see any snakes in the trees or in the water. Too cold maybe.

Although we were there on Memorial Day weekend, the river was not as crowded as we expected it to be, and we were alone most of the time.

This is the most beautiful river I've seen in Indiana. It reminds me of the Buffalo River in the Arkansas Ozarks, or a river in Appalachia. I wish I'd known about it five years ago when I first moved to Indiana! It's the river I've been looking for since I've lived here.
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Joined: 05 Jun 2010
Posts: 1
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is a beautiful river, i go atleast once a year and have been doin so for the past 8 years. the smallmouth fishing can be good at certain times of the year but hasnt been that great the last couple of years or maybe im not going to the right spots. It is my favorite river to fish.
Taylor Mellor
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