Driftwood: Salt Creek offers options for eager anglers

Below the dam at Lake Monroe, Salt Creek begins its southern journey to the East Fork of the White River. The confluence is between Bedford and the small town of Williams. The water level below the dam fluctuates depending on the release from the lake, but it is always fishable from public access sites on both sides of the creek, and the tailwater almost always produces some sort of a catch.

Every species of fish that swims in Monroe has at one point in time made its way through the spillway into Salt Creek. Some of the more popular species to target in the tailwater are walleye, wiper, catfish, bass and crappie. So hold onto to your rod tight, because you just never know what may end up on your line.

The tailwater spot is far from a secret, yet it’s hardly ever crowded. Fishermen line up on the rocks along the bank and pitch their bait into the moving water. With baitfish pouring through, fish will stack up below the spillway for an easy meal. Minnows are one of the most popular baits among regulars, but night crawlers and plastics grubs are also very common. With the water moving rather fast just below the spillway, minnows may be fished dead or alive. Spinnerbaits and shallow-running crankbaits also will produce on a consistent basis.

One thing to consider is that losing lures is fairly common, so keep your expensive tackle in your box and you won’t be as upset when the creek claims them.

While just about all the fishing that takes place below the dam is from the shore, Salt Creek is also a beautiful water to float. The problem is there are no public access points to take out downstream.

I have taken out at the Guthrie Bridge before, but the banks are steep and there is no place to park without obtaining prior permission. What I most often do is launch my canoe from the tailwater and head downstream about a half-mile to the confluence of Clear Creek. This stretch of waters is full of natural fall downs and plenty of stick-ups. The cover is conducive to bass fishing and there is absolutely no pressure on these fish. Then I simply turn my canoe around and head back upstream.

The current is not exactly light, but it is manageable for one guy and relatively easy for two. If you have access to a kayak, then you’re even better off. The serenity of fishing these secluded waters from a silent and stealthy canoe or kayak adds a great deal to the total experience. Bring along your camera because you never know what you might see, from deer to turkeys or beavers to blue herons.

Salt Creek is a great option for a day of tailwater fishing and is easily reachable for most of the residents of southern Indiana.
See you down the trail...

Brandon Butler is a Bloomington-based outdoors writer whose column is published each week in The Herald. Contact him at sports@dcherald.com or head online to visit his blog at driftwoodoutdoors.org.

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