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  1. Default General Discussion for Smallmouth

    Hello everyone!

    I had already posted a thread involving fishing for smallmouth along a river near where I live (The Little Miami) and I decided to start a separate thread for general discussion on smallmouth (tips, tackle, techniques etc.) This topic has been on my mind for awhile now, and since I am the only fly fisherman in my family and group of friends, I thought I'd get some help from you all!

    Question numero uno: favorite flies/set-up for river smallmouth?

    Tight Lines!
    Last edited by redington661; 07-01-2015 at 05:28 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: General Discussion for Smallmouth

    If they are willing I'd say topwater - love catching river smallies on poppers and mice. Visual takes, love the sound of a bass taking a surface fly and they are fun to cast as well.

    Otherwise it is hard to go wrong with a bugger. Black wooly bugger is probably my go-to fly. A variant that I've found to be killer is the Tongue Depressor. It was invented by Bill Scherer who has a fly shop in Boulder Junction Wisconsin. You can order them from him. I tied my own but always buy some from him when I'm out there. Also catch them on Clouser minnows and other streamers, but the Tongue Depressor is probably my #1.
    - William

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  4. Default Re: General Discussion for Smallmouth

    I live in Buffalo, NY. Right down the street from me, not even two minutes away, I have access to the upper Niagara River, which is a Smallmouth Bass haven. And of course, just a short drive down the I-190 South brings me to Lake Erie, which is reknowned for big Smallmouth Bass. I love catching Smallies on conventional tackle and fly tackle, though the fly fishing opportunities for them are slim. You just gotta be around at the right times or it won't happen, especially on the River. Pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn in the harbors are your best opportunities to get em on a fly here. They'll go wild for flies that imitate their natural forage, such as crayfish, leeches, baitfish, and gobies.

    I'll use the pre-spawn Smallmouths here as examples. I use an 8wt fly rod because when the Smallies are in pre-spawn, there are still very aggressive post-spawn Northern Pike around. I also use an 8wt because of the flies I throw at them. I've had luck with Emerald Shiner patterned Clouser Minnows, black, olive, and brown colored Bunny Leeches and Woolly Buggers, and crayfish and goby patterns. These two patterns have been VERY effective for me:

    Rabbit Zonker Goby/Sculpin

    Couple of crayfish patterns:

    Emerald Shiner-style Clouser Minnow:

    Those are some of the patterns I've tied that are effective. There are of course hundreds of variations. Here are just a few hawgs, I'd say results speak for themselves:

    Personal best, also happened to be caught on a goby fly, 6.2lbs!

    A few more:

    Bottom line: get your flies down to them, and fish as you would conventional tackle. Smallies are real scrappers on a fly rod, and well worth the effort.

  5. #4

    Default General Discussion for Smallmouth

    Large buggers and slumpbusters catch smallies the best for me. Black or brown. I like the cone head for weight. When the weather warms I'm going to try some of the minnow patterns too. Hopefully I can learn to tie those. I fish rivers/streams exclusively for the smallmouth.

    Sent from my kayak...

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  7. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Northern WI

    Default Re: General Discussion for Smallmouth

    There's no better way to catch a smallie than on a popper. Period. The End.

    If I can't get a bite on poppers, and it pains me to even think this way, then I'll go with bigger streamers most of the time. hangtime optic minnows and beufords (size 1-2/0), murdich minnows, Sex dungeons, meat whistles, and then the always great Tequeely. If I can't catch a smallmouth on a Tequeely, then there probably aren't any smallmouth nearby.

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  9. Default Re: General Discussion for Smallmouth

    Thanks guys!

    I'm fairly new to fly fishing. So, I apologize for any novice comments I may produce! I actually picked up a fly rod for the first time only a little less than a year ago, went to Montana to fish for rainbow trout, and I was instantly hooked on the sport. Right now, I'm using a 5wt, tossing smaller hoppers and poppers, and have been successful mostly with largemouth. I'll soon be upgrading to a 6wt so I can throw some larger flies, while still having the ability to fish for trout and smaller panfish as well. I'll definitely be fishing rivers and streams rather than ponds and lakes much more this season. Any tips on where to look for smallies on a river? I've tried a few different types of water (slow moving, rapids, little riffles) with no luck so far. And does anyone know when the best time of year for river smallies is?

    Thanks for all the pics of fish and flies too! Much appreciated! I'll definitely look in to tying a few myself or purchasing some in the near future. Especially the infamous and universal woolly bugger!

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  11. #7

    Default Re: General Discussion for Smallmouth

    You mentioned fishing the Little Miami river, that makes me think Ohio. Am I right? If so, why not skip the 6wt and jump to an 8wt? You can toss some nice big bass bugs and pike flies, and also fish Steelhead coming off Lake Erie. Using your 5wt for small bass as well as for panfish should be no problem.
    - William

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  13. Default Re: General Discussion for Smallmouth

    Ohio is right! I was actually thinking more about a 7 or 8wt to toss some heavier streamers. And I almost forgot about the steelhead! I will definitely look more into a heavier rod now. Thanks!

  14. #9

    Default Re: General Discussion for Smallmouth

    For sure. I have a 6wt that I keep up in Northern Wisconsin, but find my 9'8wt is my go-to rod for bass and pike. Not always needed, but great for tossing the big flies. Next you'll be eyeing the 10wt for musky
    - William

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  16. #10
    blackbugger Guest

    Default Re: General Discussion for Smallmouth

    I typically use a 6wt for poppers and smaller divers.
    I use an 8wt for everything else.

    Like the crayfish pattern, looks simple but effective.

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