Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Smallmouth bass stream fishing.

I caught this smallmouth bass on a Rainy's Foam Cricket and I remember it being very hot that evening.  Makes me crave warmer water and late springtime weather.  I caught this bass on a feeder stream withing the watershed I fish most.  I fish almost all the tributaries and on a recent outing, I got to thinking . . . "Where are all the stinking smallies?"

We had another cold snap and one that will bring freezing overnight temps for several days.  It has thrown fishing off again.  Along with a late winter and lots of cold snaps, water temps just haven't stabilized enough for continuously good fishing.  It's kind of been hit and miss.

I figured smallmouth bass would head into smaller tributaries to make beds.  Early spring, I usually begin fishing on those small streams.  Last year, I lost access to my spring location.  Do smallmouth bass head into tributaries to make beds?  I'm sure of it but how many?  A lot, a little, does water level or stream temp play into it?  Are all bass on the same internal clock or do they lay eggs at different times based on things I don't understand?  Do the females look for deeper water or think to head toward the parent stream?

I guess that's what keeps us on our toes.  This is the toughest April I've had in several years.  I've had to look for new waters and even try different flies I'm not used to casting.  I do know several of us that do chase smallies quite often just haven't landed many this spring.

I caught just a few pre-spawn smallmouth bass.  But in a few months, I do believe they will start schooling and hanging out with suckers.  I don't think they are spooked like suckers are but I think July or so provides closer wading access to smallmouth bass.

All I know is that it's always a learning experience.  I remember having some pretty lousy years.  Especially, years that I spent riding a desk and had just a handful of weekends to hit the water.  I still think that mornings and evenings are still best and that after it rains and the current picks up, smallmouth bass are more active and ready to hit flies.

I have caught a lot of smallmouth bass - most being small to medium with a few larger ones thrown in here and there.  Learning the same stream buy fishing it time and again has helped me to land more smallmouth bass.  However, due to flooding, it's not the same and I've had to hit up new locations.

Stream angling is more appealing because it provides a higher catch rate than lake fishing.  The typical habitat in which smallmouth relocate after spawning is dependant on stream level - I guess.  High flows let fish use habitat such as rocky and timber habitat which was too shallow in the past but rocky habitat is usually chosen over logs and cover or log jams.

Or, if you are a newbie, you will catch a fattie on your first cast as I catch nothing but small stuff the rest of the afternoon.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Enjoying the weather.

It's been warm.  Why not enjoy it?  It was 74 F today but water temps are still around 60 - 65 and my toes were stiff.

I've got a custom made glass rod coming in from Average Joe's Fishing Poles.  I'm so excited.  It's my new panfish rod.

Note that Panfish on the Fly has been written on the fly rod.  I may actually stop chasing smallmouth bass for a little bit.  I will be doing a review on the rod.  Hopefully, it will be after I catch a bunch of bluegills in May.  

I've also been preparing panfish poppers for some folks.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Um, yeah. Chasing smallmouth bass again.

So, here I am.  Sitting in the man cave, enjoying pizza for breakfast and a hot coffee as I reflect on my first true outing of the year for smallmouth bass.  Earlier in the year, I hit some streams knowing January and February weren't the best opportunities for smallmouth bass.  I did land a number of spotted bass and rock bass.  Oh, wait - I did catch a smallmouth in January on a small stream.  It was a horrible outing.  Freezing temps and raging water.  

I went out for crappie last month but upon my first cast, I found a knot on the fly line.  I proceeded to tear up the line as I tried to undo the tight knot that mysteriously appeared from nowhere.  I cut off 9 inches of fly line.  

Guess I'm just blabbing at this point.  Yesterday, I hit new water that I scoped out in January.  It's your typical smallmouth stream with good numbers but not a lot of fat pigs.  It is an absolutely beautiful stream.  I would say it's a mid-size stream.  Just above a small stream or creek.  Along with fallen timber, you will find it to be flowing clear and rocky with gravel and a good current with riffles and pools.  It's not very dirty.  Not much sediment at all.  The fish are still holding in deeper pools. The panfish aren't moving about yet either but are hitting hard near timber in deep water.  Soft strikes and tugs with some sucking and spitting are expects from smallmouth bass.  I lost 2 on the jump.  As overnight temperatures plunge and mysterious frosts appear and kill our garden plants, water temps aren't holding well.  They dipped to around 55-60 degrees.  Even the white bass run south of us isn't holding steady.  May and June will of course prove to be successful outings for smallmouth bass and fat panfish.

And of course, I stuck with my Shucker pattern and it proved to be a successful pattern yet again.  The stream was so beautiful that I probably would've been fine with being skunked.