The cold winter temperatures slow a smallmouth's metabolism and leave it lethargic. Like largemouth bass, they love structure, so target sunken boulders, logs, and other debris, along with riffles, undercut banks, and back eddies. Cone: Tungsten. Hook: 90-degree jig hook. Fly Fishing for bass in the fall is one of my favorite times of the year to hit the lake. How To Find Winter Largemouth Bass In Open Water, Mystery Tackle Pro Box Unboxing (Multi-Species January 2021), Mystery Tackle Box Bass Elite Unboxing (January 2021), Mystery Tackle Box Bass Unboxing (January 2021), 7 Crappie Lures You Can Rely On All Winter Long. For southern anglers, that comment should be taken only one way; if you haven’t gotten a chance to go somewhere where the smallmouth grow big and mean, make it happen. In 2013, it took over 80 pounds to win a major tournament out of the 1,000 islands area, and nearly that again this year. The Best Rimfire Rifles To Improve Your Shooting, Seven Myth-Busting Facts About Alligator Gar, The History Of The Survival (Space) Blanket, The Best Survival Kit for Off-the-Grid Adventures, The Best New Bow Sights and Rests of 2021. Fly fisherman fishing surface poppers and subsurface baitfish patterns to these schools of bass can be rewarded with big bronzebacks. Lake Erie, Sandusky OhioAlthough it’s the smallest Great Lake, Erie probably holds the largest … Flies from tyers such as Bob Clouser, Dave Whitlock, Harry Murray, and Ed Shenk are all excellent choices. At a recent major tournament in smallmouth country, a top touring pro was quoted as saying “Catching big smallmouth is just about the most fun you can have with your pants on.”. We are sorry that this post was not useful for you! Smallmouths like warm water. Here’s the 10 best brown bass factories right now, in no particular order. A lot of anglers are going to … Copyright © 2021 Field & Stream. Hair Jig. They become somewhat reckless as they chase baitfish near the banks and in the shallow flats of river systems. The first fall is generally the period that writers mean when they hype “fast fall fishing.” Water temperatures are still relatively warm (above 57 degrees) but food sources are declining, and the smallmouth bass’s energy requirements are high because of developing gonad production. Although it’s much less famous than its larger Tennessee River cousins, Wilson Lake is without question the Tennessee River smallmouth king. If you took all the things necessary for major smallmouth productivity and threw them into a hat, shook it up, and dumped it on the ground – the pieces would probably land in the shape of Lake St. Clair and its 430 square miles of dynamite smallmouth habitat. White Woolly Bugger, sizes 4 and 6. At 132,000 acres, Minnesota’s Mille Lacs is big water that in many ways resembles one of the Great Lakes. threadfin shad, gizzard shad and blueback herring) that the bass fatten up on in preparation for the cold winter ahead, start migrating into shallower water in search of cooler waters. The best time to fish Dale Hollow is from October through April, a time when you can expect both numbers and a chance at a giant. CK Baitfish, size 4. It’s not uncommon on the rivers that I guide on to see multiple bass chasing my flies during the retrieve. Surface flies are such an important part of fishing for smallmouth that fly fishing for smallmouth bass used to be called popping bug fishing. October 2, 2019. If you’re located in the south and want to catch smallmouth till you’re sore – head to Wilson in the fall or early spring. Stable water levels and improvements in habitat have paid off, and the 4-plus pound bronzebacks that made Dale Hollow famous are becoming more common the last couple seasons. Best Flies for Smallmouth Bass. The smallmouth bass is a viable fly-rodding option as summer yields to autumn. Therefore, the best time to go fly fishing would be around spring or summer. The Murray's Heavy Hellgrammite, Black size 6 was a fly the late Charlie Brooks helped me develop. Mille Lacs is a structure fisherman’s dream, and there are countless humps, rock piles, and shallow bars teeming with willing smallmouth. Habitat: Smallmouth bass behave very much like big river brown trout, staying deep during the colder months and coming to the surface once the water temperatures rise, so choose your flies seasonally. This is the first of a series of fly tying tutorials I will be posting. The size limit is in place to protect the bass though, which grow extremely slowly in Lake Superior’s cold waters – its working too, as catching a 5 pound smallmouth is a daily occurrence for Chequamegon Bay regulars. It’s big water, so prepare accordingly. In actuality, the main reason for the obscurity is due to a 21 inch size limit, 1 fish bag that prevents tournaments from visiting. Winter fly-fishermen need to break the pool down into two-foot wide grids and make a cast into each grid. Best Fly Fishing Gear For Smallmouth Bass. Because they don't need to consume as much as they do in warmer temperatures, they will not spare the energy on a strike unless they know it's a for-sure deal. Local anglers routinely catch 4 and 5 pound fish, and getting 20-50 bites a day is the norm. By Pete Robbins. Find all the Best Smallmouth Bass Flies from top brands Umpqua, Rainy’s, Fulling Mill, and Catch Flies. There’s not much more exciting than having 4 pounds of bronze engulf a buzzbait as it ricochets off a rock. The Berkley PowerBait Minnow is another good one along with the Zoom Tiny Fluke. It also puts out smallmouth like one of the Great Lakes. As the water temps start to drop into the 60s and 50s, smallmouth bass, as well as all warm water species shift into overdrive for the upcoming winter. No list of smallmouth fisheries would be complete without mentioning the greatest of the Great Lakes. For fly fishing, make sure to keep your flybox stocked with your favorite poppers. All rights reserved. They are also fond of river systems, and the best of them is the New. Coldwater smallmouth bass tend to bunch up and can be difficult to locate. As recent major tournaments by BASS and FLW demonstrated, it’d be foolish to leave Lake Ontario off any list of top smallmouth locations. Known more for trophies in the 5-8 pound class than numbers, the peak time to land a giant bronzeback on Pickwick is November through April. When throwing baitfish streamers I focus on areas with shallo… Usually during the month of September cold fronts start moving into the area and can cause a change in movement and feeding activity of the bass. Although there are some reaches of the New that are accessible by boat, the best fishing is centered in the Beckley, West Virginia area and is best accessed by raft or drift boat. Although the fishing is great in many ports along Erie’s shore including Buffalo, Dunkirk, and Erie, the Sandusky Ohio area has a pedigree of giant smallmouth. Smallies love to take a fly and fight hard, from the hookset to the release. Be sure to check out our ReelFlyRod Ultimate Fly Selections for a great value in premium, durable flies. This tan, gray, or black fly is an excellent pick for … Therefore, it is the best time to target them with flies. Historically known more for its walleye fishery, Mille Lacs has become a smallmouth factory in recent years due to improvements in water quality. The fly rod I like for most of my smallmouth bass fly fishing is 9 feet long that balances with a seven weight line. Zudbubbler. The main reason I love chasing bass on the fly during the fall, is because a lot of the forage food (ex. Fall is one of the best times of the year for fly anglers wanting to target big smallmouth bass on reservoirs. Although topwater fishing is more visually exciting, more really big bronzebacks are caught on streamers, and Colin shares his five favorites: Hud’s Bushwacker, size 2/0. Smallmouth Bass can be found throughout the river in the warmer summer months and trout and salmon fishing is best in the spring and fall. Many famous fly tyers have come up with excellent smallmouth patterns--all of which have a proven track record. Body: Diamond braid. Late May through July is peak time for numbers, but giants can be caught all year. Be the first to rate this post. Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. When fly fishing in mid to late fall, consider fishing with a sinktip or a 250 grain full sinking line in the deeper riffles and pools on our larger rivers. More Fishing. Many people have heard about the legendary smallmouth fishing in Wisconsin’s Sturgeon Bay, but in reality Sturgeon Bay is just one small bay on the Door County Peninsula. Most people never bothered with sunken flies for bass. Other locales like Sister Bay, Ephraim, Egg Harbor, Chambers Island, and the Strawberry Islands also have tremendous populations of giant bronzebacks. No votes so far! However, once found, you may catch more than one. The lofty regard serious river anglers express for the deer or rabbit hair jig is amazing to … It’s got rocks, grass, ample spawning habitat, reefs, current, and a huge baitfish population – all in a package shallow enough that smallies can live anywhere they want. Best Time to Go Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass. This snowstorm-like hatch brings smallmouth, trout, carp, and even catfish to the surface in a feeding frenzy. Latest. After suffering through a stretch of lean years after 2000, the waters that produced David Hayes almost 12 pound world record in 1955 are back with a vengeance. I’ve always found trout sexier. The Zudbubbler is a revamped version of Tom Loving’s Gerbubble Bug, and it absolutely … Although it’s the smallest Great Lake, Erie probably holds the largest population of smallmouth due to its relatively shallow depths, making much more of the lake ideal smallmouth habitat. Field & Stream may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site. Clouser Minnow, sizes 2 and 4. The upper James River in Virginia offers some of the best smallmouth fishing in the country. Here is a list of my Top 4 Best Smallmouth Bass Flies: Clouser Minnow May 18, 2016 - GOOD VARIETY OF SMALLMOUTH FLIES. Interesting choice of words for sure, but also not a surprise to most northern anglers – they live and breathe smallmouth. Elk Hair Caddis: for when the waters aren’t so calm. The finest bronzeback fishing of the entire season has arrived. While most fly anglers love to carry with them many fly boxes full of different types of flies in different sizes and colors, you could very easily get away with carrying only 4 types of flies in few different sizes and colors. It’s got abundant offshore structure, massive schools of shad, and plenty of rocky habitat that big smallmouth love. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Scottys McFly, sizes 4 and 6. If you’re hitting the water for bronzebacks this summer, you’ll want to fill your tacklebox with these go-to baits. Late October through November is an excellent time to fish large streamers for big smallmouth bass. The best time for smallmouth fishing is late June through October. It’s best to experiment with your retrieve to figure out if the fish are looking for fast or slow action. This can all add up to those “died and gone to heaven” days that smallie fans fondly recall years later. The object is to present the fly so any willing fish doesn't have to move in order to eat. Along the way it carves out some of the most picturesque gorges, cliffs, and rapids east of the Rockies. I always carry Boogle Bugs, Double Barrel poppers, and Walt’s Bass Popper in a variety of sizes and colors in early fall. These are the highest quality, proven patterns that are hand-picked by our ReelFlyRod Pro Staff as the most productive patterns we have fished. Smaller flies are usually better. It has a strong tip to help pick up the large heavy nymphs and streamers and a medium butt section to blend with the wind resistant nature of our bulky surface poppers and deer hair bugs. The simple mention of fly-fishing can be a conversation stopper in some serious bass fishing circles. Tail: Rabbit strip. Particularly if the lake impoundment has good populations of shad, blueback herring, or other native baitfish. Known more for its dynamite summertime ledge fishing for Largemouth, Alabama’s Pickwick Lake is also a major smallmouth producer once the water temperatures drop in the fall. Best Smallmouth Bass Flies – My Top 4. “Smallmouth bass during the start of the fall season can be found in the same areas they were located all summer but as the water temperatures fall below 50 degrees they look for deeper water. … The eastern portion of Lake Ontario has everything necessary to produce heavy stringers of smallmouth, and there aren’t many anglers chasing them. Even though the bronzeback is a formidable foe, it’s a fish I’ve consistently neglected throughout my 30 years of fly fishing. … https://www.theflyfishers.com/C/370/BestFliesForSmallmouthBass I’ve had plenty of days with exceptionally high number of fish, and … Fish-Skull Sculpin Helmets drop your fly into the feeding zone fast. Swimbait. Massive lakes and impoundments aren’t the only places that giant smallmouth call home. Here you will find a great selection of the best premium Smallmouth Bass Fly Rods, Fly Reels, Fly Rod Outfits & Combos, Smallmouth Bass Fly Lines, and Accessories from all the top brands. Surface flies can be used to match the hatch when aquatic insects such as mayflies and caddis or terrestrials such as hoppers and ants are on the water. Meat Whistle. A Bonnier Corporation Company. I even start to see them get into feeding groups in an effort to trap baitfish easier. https://www.flyfisherman.com/editorial/best-smallmouth-bass-flies/151841 See more ideas about smallmouth bass, fly tying, flying. For smallmouth, I typically got with a lighter wire swimbait. Not so now. It’s got unbelievable quantities of rocky shoreline, bluff banks, and pea gravel points that smallmouth thrive on. In short, Lake St. Clair is one of the crown jewels of smallmouth fishing, and any die-hard smallie chaser should immediately put it on his or her bucket list. Plus, lower light intensity makes fish less wary. Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay isn’t known to many smallmouth anglers; mostly because the ones that are in the know keep their mouths shut. Gear. The New river flows from North Carolina through Virginia and West Virginia before dumping into the Ohio. This streamer is deadly for smallmouth bass in moving water. 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