Everyone has their own favorite patterns and I'm sure you'll get plenty of responses about that. But as for colors it's my opinion that it far more important to match the water clarity than it is to "match the hatch".
By that I mean that stained waters need muted colors and gin clear water need bright colors
"Earth" colors like gold, yellow, olive, and brown work best in water that's stained. While bright, contracting colors like silver, white, red and pink are best in clear water. Chartreuse and black are good either way.
These are not hard and fast rules but more important than most people realize.
Try it, you'll see
Ab, I use poppers, sliders, hoppers, cherynobyl ants, nymphs, streamers....It all depends on Mr Smallie's mood. Sometimes he's looking up, sometimes not; but when they decide what the special of the day is you better have something close.
When they get on a minnow bite; one of my favorites is a simple little white streamer. Bead chain eyes, pearl mylar body, and white marabou or wool tyed sparsely.
I use olive/brown crayfish, black wooly's, chamois leech's with a brown body, olive zonkers and white headed poppers with black/olive tails. I've had some luck on "gawdy" colors. It depends on the fish's mood and the confidence the fisherman has in their fly pattern
My go to is a Chartruse Sneakey Pete. If I can't get them to look up I like a chartruse and white Clouser Deep Minnow, followed closely by a Olive Wooly Bugger with Chartruse and black rubber legs. As you can see I like Chartruse when I'm smallie fishing. However there are times when they want A big ol rust colored wb, or a blue and white Clouser deep minnow, or a foxy clouser (I just started tying this one last year and it really gained in status toward the end of the season), or a dan's crawfish. I fish a really shallow stream near my house that has some pigs in it, and I've caught a few of them on a Dan's crawfish as a dropper under a Sneakey Pete. The big ol swirls under the SP followed with it diving under is almost as good as them hitting the SP. Biggest thing is waiting until the "bobber" goes under before lifting the rod tip!
A word of warning....once you start catching smallies you won't want to fish for anything else....They are the closest thing to a redfish pull I've found in freshwater.
Good luck with them.
Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Re: Smallie patterns and colors
Originally Posted by smalliesrule
I've caught a few of them on a Dan's crawfish as a dropper under a Sneakey Pete.
This is not a real good fly to use as dropper. When I designed it, I made it to crawl and hop the bottom like a real crayfish and not hang up. It's kinda weighted wrong for use as a dropper fly. The best way to fish this fly is to let it hit bottom, and then do short twitchy hops letting it sink back to the bottom and pause. I have had it hit on the first fall, and had it hit during the pause, but more often than not, it gets whacked the second you lift it for the next twitchy hop. I think you will have more luck with the fly loosing the sneaky Pete "bobber".
On a second note, I broke 5 of the line class records for Smallmouth over the years, and 3 of the records were on the leech pattern, one on the Funny Bunny Emerald Shiner and one on a Fire Tiger Clouser. My avatar is the one I broke the 16 lb. tippet record with, on the funny Bunny Emerald Shiner. Most of the reason none were on the Dan's Crayfish is, this is a pretty recent invention of mine. It works well enough that I use it to see how many fish I missed with the other flys. I can go through a spot and fish the Crayfish last and still get fish. It's my best "what did I miss fly".
My smallmouth fishing is done with 3 flies: white and chartreuse Clouser Minnow, usually with bead chain eyes (lead dumb bells can be hazardous to my lovely rods ); a Madame X; a very simply chartreuse foam hopper with an ice dub body, and rubber legs front and rear. The largest smallmouth I've caught took a Black Nose Dace, however. I was intending to fish a little Blue Wing Olive for trout that afternoon, but saw smallmouth in a frenzy. I snipped off the BWO, and tied on a Black Nose Dace for no reason at all. The funny thing is I haven't used a Dace since then.....
All of my Clousers are tied on #10 bass bug hooks, and the Madame X and foam hoppers are tied relatively small as well. The fish don't seem to mind, and I enjoy casting smaller flies on lighter rods.
i have had success with most of the flies mentioned earlier, with the chartreuse and white clouser being the most productive. another pattern that has also been a good fly for me is an orange cone head wooly bugger in a 6 or 8.