I'm fortunate to have a great stream 2 miles from home. The water has been high and muddy for the past week, but I decided to try for smallmouth at 4:00pm today. The water was a bit high, and only slightly off color. This is a spot I fish quite a bit, and it reliably produces smallmouth in the 4-12" range, along with an endless number of huge sunfish. The bottom is rock. Not rocky, but sheets of rock. Some of the areas are rocky, and some of the solid rock has channels carved down to 5 feet (at average water levels). The nice smallmouth can be seen holding in these carved channels, but as we all know, once we see them.....
My rod was the usual 8'6" 4wt that I use this time of year, and a #10 Wooly Bugger was tied to a 9' 3X leader. The plan was to slobber on the bugger before reaching the stream, and to come up on that channel from downstream. I tried that many times last year, but was never able to get one of the larger smallmouth. This section isn't fished very much, but a small group of worm dunkers does set up shop right next to the channel, and then casts into the next county. My hope was that the smallmouth wouldn't be shy after a long winter, and I cast my bugger upstream twice before the line stopped. There's no mistaking a smallmouth take, at least for me. The closest thing in the animal kingdom would be an unruly large dog on a leash, and this dog decided to head downstream! After successfully managing to keep the smallmouth out of the main current, I was able to steer him into a shallow pool.
Here's an overview of the stream:
And a pic of the channel where the smallmouth was holding:
You can see that seam of calm water on the left of the center pic, and that was what allowed me to land this fish. It did make a few runs toward the center, but never made it down into the riffles. It was close, however, and the large rock on the left had a shallow pool that I was able to steer Rover into. It was 83 degrees, and I still had things to do, so I packed it up and left. My boots got wet, but my waders stayed dry. I've caught big fish shortly upon arriving at a stream, and then nothing for the next two hours. While I did cast to a few more likely spots, I was back in my Jeep within 20 minutes after suiting up. People often tell me that I should make a trip to some stream or another that has really good fishing (trout and smallmouth). My personal preference is to explore the waters I'm most familiar with, and not have to familiarize myself with strange streams after a long drive. It might seem boring to some, but there's rarely a day that I'm bored on my local streams.
P.S. I have a 16" mark on that rod, and this fish came close to 15". That's a 3.5" reel.