Introduction To Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass
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 2017 James Marsh
Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report - 02/14/17
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.
The New England and Northwestern states are still to cold to provide much fly fishing opportunity for smallmouth bass.
The Mid-Atlantic states of Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia could provide some good opportunity in tailwaters on warm days.
The Southeastern states are beginning to have some good opportunity on warmer days, especially in tailwaters and small
freestone streams of Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The Mid-west streams in Arkansas and Missouri are providing some opportunity on warm days, mostly in tailwaters. The Great
Lakes streams are still too cold.
The Northern Rock Mountains and Central Rocky Mountains states are still too cold. The Southern Rocky mountains or New Mexico
and Arizona are provided some opportunity of warmer days.
The Pacific Northwestern state of Oregon is providing some opportunity on warm days.
All the streams in the state of California currently either have very high water levels or are too cold.