The Year Of The River Rats
That's right, we are dubbing 2023 the “Year of the River Rats.”
What does it mean to be a River Rat?
"A river rat is one who does not back down from the challenge of moving water in order to reap its greatest reward: Smallmouth Bass. From fast and rocky rapids, to treacherous portages riddled with poison ivy and thorns, to potentially gear damaging low hanging trees along the river, a river rat is willing to risk it all for that tug of an aggressive smallmouth on the end of the line." - Randal Kiser
So why have we dubbed 2023 the year of the River Rat?
Simply because there are more opportunities than ever for those who battle the moving waters of Indiana in search of those elusive Bronzebacks
Just this past week, GRBY set a new record of attendance for their White River series with over 70 anglers signed up to compete, showing that there is a true draw for moving water events in the state.
In the past, some river anglers have felt a little left out if you will, with limited opportunities and an unequal amount of attention leaning towards the lake series/events in the state. However, over the last couple of seasons, the river events have definitely been gaining momentum and in some cases, actually more often than not, averaging larger turnouts than most lake events.
While there have been some great river events over the years from clubs like IKA, SIYAK, HOBIE BOS, and GRBY, there have never been so many options as there is this year.
So, if you're a River Rat looking to compete, here is the breakdown of events:
Tippecanoe River | Apr 29, 2023
White River | Aug 12, 2023
Blue River (Milton, IN) | Jul 16, 2023
White River Series:
Tippecanoe River Series:
Columbus Moving Water Series:
Northeast Trail Stop #4
St Joe. River ( 8/3-8/7)
In case you weren't counting… That's 19 River events this season! But it doesn’t end there.
A few weeks back, GRBY announced that they were shaking things up a bit this season in regards to their Overall AOY Standing and their championship format.
For 2023, GRBY will be separating the Lake and River Series into their own AOY standing and offering a River Series Championship to be held in the Spring of 2024 on the White River.
This is a huge win for the river rats and an opportunity to take home some awesome titles and earn some much deserved recognition. We reached out to a few of the most notorious river rats in the state to get their thoughts on this season and opportunities for moving water anglers.
Troy Riggins - “The March Championship on the White River should produce a big limit to win. I’m excited to see some numbers from my “local” home waters around Columbus, I bet there will be some better limits than what people are expecting!”
Eric Tracy - “It’s great to see GRBY expanding their river series and I’m very happy to see a river championship this year. The river series are really gaining in popularity as we saw 71 anglers registered for WR #1.”
Alex Deneau - “The East Fork of the White addition for GRBY is huge. It’s a sleeper area that could produce big bags. It will be fun to see how we all do on it #wetboy”
Cory/Logan Dupuy - “We just think it’s awesome that us river guys/gals have so many opportunities here in Indiana. We also love that we get a river championship on a river as well, always thought it would be awesome to have one for the rivers and feel like we actually have a shot.”
Mitchell McCollum - “The River Championship is a great addition and gives us river rats a perfect chance to spend more time on the river and around like minded anglers that truly bleed bronze.”
James Devillez - “The Indiana Kayak Fishing community has truly embraced the river fisherman and their passion”
As you can see, the excitement level is high and the anglers truly appreciate the opportunity to compete at a high level within the state on our amazing river systems. There is no doubt that there will be more and more opportunities for anglers looking to fish river events in the coming years.
Check out our recent Week 5 Top Performers blog to see how things shook out in the first river event of the 2023 season.