Smallmouth bass fishing is one of the most popular activities for anglers. The smallmouth bass has a much smaller mouth than the largemouth bass, which is where it’s name comes from, and the nickname smallie. However, they can get as large in size as the largemouth bass. Smallmouth bass can be found in many places throughout the USA. Get your gear, throw on your sunglasses, grab your fishing kayak, and target this remarkable fish for a great day of fishing on the water.
Smallmouth Bass Fishing Guides
There are many different fishing guides that offer guided fishing trips for smallmouth bass, and pretty much any other fish that you may want to target. FishingBooker is a service of local guides that you can choose from and schedule your next guided fishing trip. Book A Smallmouth Bass Fishing Guide Today!
Largest Smallmouth Bass Ever Caught
The world record sized Smallmouth Bass ever caught, as per the International Game Fish Association, was caught in 1955 at Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee, CA and it weighed in at 11 lb 15 oz.
Where to Fish For Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth bass are widely found in the west and mid west of the USA. Anglers can find smallmouth bass around the northern end of the Mississippi River and along the Great Lakes. In California, as an example, many of the lakes in the state have a healthy population of smallmouth bass. Folsom lake is a prime lake in my area that has a good number of smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and largemouth bass. You can find smallmouth in the basins of the Hudson Bay in Canada, Lake Powell, and Lake Tahoe for more great lakes to fish. California has a great fishery for black bass including smallmouth bass. The trophy fish in California are predominately found in Northern California. The key to finding smallmouth bass is to look for areas where the conditions are warm and the water has a slight to mid current. It’s easier to catch smallmouth where they are most likely to spawn. They tend to swim at depths of about 20 to 30 feet, although they will migrate closer to the water surface when the water gets warmer. Spawning typically takes place at the 20 to 30 feet deep level as this is a depth that the bass can still see well, anything deeper can get too dark and difficult for them to see through. Look for Smallmouth where they are likely to spawn Look for slightly warmer water with a current Target areas where creeks or rivers come into the main lake Target depth is usually 20 to 30 ft deep It’s a good idea to target a narrow section of the lake to find smallmouth bass. You can also use a fishfinder to find them to target them as well. Smallmouth like to hang where there is current so that their prey will come to them. The water will pick up the food as it moves along. Look for the mouth of rivers or creeks where water is coming into the main lake. The regular motion of water makes it easier for you to spot the smallmouth bass as well.
Best Times for Fishing For Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth bass can be targeted any time of the year. They are more active and easier to target them if you go smallmouth bass fishing during the spring and summer seasons. The spring and summer seasons are a time when smallmouth are more active. As the water temperature rises, their metabolism increases, and they become more active. These highly active fish will have more interest in your bait or lure as well. As the weather gets colder, the fish are less active, and they migrate to the deepest parts of the water when the temperatures get below 60 degrees. At this point they will also go into a mild state of hibernation and will remain this way until the waters begin to warm up again.
Fish For Smallmouth Bass during late Spring and Summer
Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass
When the water warms up in the summer and fall, the smallmouth bass will be closer to the surface, which will make it possible for fly fishing. Fly fishing is fun for smallmouth because of their size. They are larger than most other fish in the area. Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass can be done during the Summer Months
Smallmouth Bass Fishing Gear
It’s important to have good quality gear on hand that won’t break or fail when you are catching big smallmouth. You will need a quality rod and reel, as well as the right bait or lure to attract them.
Best Rods for Smallmouth Bass Fishing
Your rod must be heavy enough to support the weight of a smallmouth bass, but still provide a lot of action to feel the fish fight. In most cases, the rod should be around seven feet long. This allows you to cast your line out a little further to get your bait out further from your boat. The rating for the rod should be medium to be strong enough to hold the weight yet still light enough to give you lots of action in the rod tip to feel the bite and to feel the fight of the fish. The best rod and reel combo for smallmouth bass is a spinning rod and reel combo, or a low profile baitcast rod and reel combo. Smallmouth Bass fishing rods should be a medium action rod A rod length of about seven feet will give you the extra casting distance needed
Best Reels for Smallmouth Bass Fishing
A good reel for fishing for smallmouth would be one that is rated for around twelve pound test line. Spinning reels work great and are easy to use, but the low profile baitcast reels are the best choice for smallmouth bass fishing for many anglers. A good reel rated for around 12 pound test line is the best choice
Smallmouth Bass Fishing with Kayaks and Boats
Though you can walk the shoreline to target smallmouth bass, the best bet is to use a boat or fishing kayak to cover more areas, and have the ability to use a fishfinder to locate the fish as well. A simple kayak that is around seven to ten feet in length will give you the extra control to whip in and out of tight spots, and the small footprint will present less shade over the water to frighten the fish out of biting. A good boat for full control and more comfortable seating is a good option as well. Fishing Kayaks are a great way to swoop in and target smallmouth bass
Smallmouth Bass Bait Tips
Smallmouth bass are not finicky eaters, and finding baits to entice them to bite is an easy task. Mini Crawlers, crayfish, lizards, and minnows are a good live bait for targeting smallmouth bass.
Large traditional flies that are around two inches in length will work great for fly fishing for smallmouth bass during the warmer months of the year when they are closer to the surface. The flies should also sink in the water, and you can use a small weight to make the fly sink down deeper into the water. Flies should be two inches in length Flies should sink deeper into the water Small weight can be added to get the fly to sink deeper
Smallmouth Bass Fishing Lures
Lures work great for smallmouth bass. The lure should look like a bait fish that is local to the waters you are fishing to attract smallmouth bass. The ideal length for a good smallmouth bass fishing lure is around four to six inches. This should be enough for the smallie to handle without being too big for them to want to bite. It’s a good idea to add a fish attractant scent like garlic to your lures as well to eliminate any human scent and to add a scent that will attract the smallmouth bass. Reflective lures will make your lures easier for smallmouth bass to spot, and this will simulate the naturally bright scales that many smaller bait fish have. Spinners are another great option that can help you cover more water. Any lure with a fast jerking motion will work great. Stickbaits, spinners and blades, rubber worms, rubber lizards, spinnerbaits, buzz baits, bass jigs, crankbaits, swimbaits, jerkbaits, soft bait lures, and imitation minnows are all a sure bet for enticing smallmouth bass to bite your lure.
Avoid these Mistakes While Smallmouth Bass Fishing
Avoid fishing for smallmouth bass at night. The evening hours are when smallmouth bass will move down into the deepest parts of the water, and they will not be active. Don’t fish directly into a current. Target smallmouth bass in areas outside the current where the water is moving, but is not too strong. Avoid using lures that are too heavy, typically a good smallmouth bass lure is less than one ounce in weight, and six inches or less in length. Avoid fishing for smallmouth bass at night Target smallmouth on the edge of the current where it is not as strong Use lures that are one ounce or less Use lures that are six inches or shorter See you out on the water. Fish On!About The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. The Best Smallmouth Bass Fishing Experience Awaits!