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.