Introduction To Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass
(includes a Smallmouth Bass Fishing Report - See Below - Updated 05/01/19)
Smallmouth bass are considered one of the top freshwater gamefish, but If you catch one on a fly, you will probably think it is "the"
top freshwater gamefish. They strike hard, make spectacular jumps, and throw a hook easily. If you catch a five pound smallmouth
bass on a fly rod, you're not likely to forget it. They are found in hundreds of rivers, small streams, lakes and reservoirs from the
east coast to the west coast of the United States and Canada.
Smallmouth can be caught in water as deep as it is possible to fish a fly, on the surface, and anywhere in between. Seeing a
smallmouth bass come up to the surface and take a popping bug will send chills up your spine. Seeing on shoot to the surface from
the depths and go airborne is a sight to behold. Seeing and hearing your drag scream when you set the hook on one gets your
heat rate up fast.
Such thrills as just described are often just a matter of pure luck, but if you want to become consistently successful at catching
smallmouth bass on the fly, you must be familiar with their behavior and seasonal movement patterns. You have to learn all about
their spawning habits, the type of habitat they prefer, how they go about finding food, and how they detect danger. You should
know how weather, water temperature, available light, water clarity and other variables affects their location and feeding habits.
You have to learn how to adjust your fishing strategies to cope with changes in the environmental conditions.
As with most any species of sport fish, the single most important key to catching them is finding them. Their location varies greatly
with the type of water you are fishing, seasons of the year, and even day to day changes in conditions. Their location changes in
both horizontal and vertical respects, meaning the area of the stream or lake, and the depth of water they are located in.
There are three basic types of water smallmouth bass are found in - man made lakes, natural lakes, and streams. To become a
good, all around smallmouth bass fly angler, you need to become familiar with the various types of fly fishing techniques for
catching smallmouth in these different types of water during each the different seasons and under different weather patterns. You
need to learn how to fish the various types of cover smallmouth and their prey use. There is no one method of fly fishing to catch
smallmouth. The single biggest mistake I know you can make is to get into a rut of using the same methods and techniques, over
and over, regardless of the time and place.
In some streams and lakes, it is possible to catch smallmouth on the fly sight-fishing. By slipping around in a small boat and in
some cases wading, you can spot fish in the shallows to cast to. Whether or not this is possible, depends highly on the particular
lake or river, sky conditions, and water clarity. Being able to actually see the fish you are trying to catch adds a different and
exciting dimension to the sport. This is all lovely and great except most of the time you are fishing for smallmouth, you are fishing to
fish you can't see with a fly you can't see, meaning a fly and a fish at a depth that's not visible to you.
Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass
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Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report -05/01/19
This is a general report on conditions that varies greatly with the type of water - lake, freestone stream and tailwater, the weather
and provided there are open seasons. For reports on specific destinations, send us an email with the name of the location and
dates you plan of fishing.
In general, all smallmouth bass streams that have the season open are currently warm enough to fish.
Southeastern states that have smallmouth bass have good smallmouth bass fishing opportunity in streams and lakes at this time.
The water temperatures are up and the bass will be in the pre to post spawn stage depending on the particular stream or lake.
The New England states are still too cold for smallmouth bass fishing.
The Northwestern streams and lakes that hold smallmouth are warming and most of them have smallmouth near the spawn stage.
The Mid-Atlantic states of Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia are providing good opportunities in lakes, tailwaters and the freestone
The Mid-western streams in Arkansas and Missouri are providing good opportunities in lakes, tailwaters and freestone streams.
The Great Lakes streams are warming and the bass in the pre-spawn stage.. The Northern Rocky mountains are warming and the
bass still holding in deep water. .
The Southern Rocky mountains or New Mexico and Arizona will have good smallmouth bass opportunities in lakes, tailwaters and
The Pacific Northwestern state of Oregon is in good shape for smallmouth at this time. Most are in the pre to post spawn stage. .
Most all of the streams in California that hold smallmouth are currently providing some opportunities. Bass are mostly in the