THE OTHER UMPQUA, SMALLMOUTH BASS

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by GAT, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,515
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,129 / 0
    As with other programs, I'm converting my Umpqua smallmouth slide program called "The Other Umpqua" into a DVD format. While I'm mess'n with the files, I decided to post some here.

    The smallmouth were illegally introduced in the South Fork of the Umpqua and due to the warm temps of the river, quickly spread and populated. The impact on the native trout, salmon and steelhead is not clear. The ODF&W does know the smallmouth eat the Northern Pike Minnow (squaw fish) fry so in one respect, they are helping the salmanoids.

    The water temps of the North Fork are too cold for the bass so they don't venture up that part of the river. When the salmon and steelhead smolts move downstream to the Pacific, they are too large for the smallmouth to eat. So, it's a toss-up as to the impact. The bass should not be there because they were illegally introduced but there isn't any practical method for removing the thousands and thousands and thousands of the bass so we may as well fish for them. As those who fish for smallmouth know, they fight much, much harder than a LMB so it is s a kick in the pants to catch the critters.

    If you like eating smallies, the Umpqua is certainly a good place to head. The majority of the bass do not grow all that large but we have found specific sections of the river that hold the bigger ones. Regardless, a 40 bass day of a combination of small and large smallies is common.

    We'd fish for them in August when the trout were off the bite due to the heat. Of course, the heat put the bass on the bite so fishing for the guys was a good filler until the trout decided to start playing the game again.

    The photos are quite old... as you can tell by the use of round type float tubes. It doesn't matter. There is still a ton of smallmouth bass in the main river so if you're into fishing for smallies, you may want to consider a drive to the Ump.

    Here we go:

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    END PART ONE
  2. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,515
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,129 / 0
    You may have noticed that it appears we're fishing in a lake more than a river. The section of the Umpqua we fish is more like a slow moving lake than a river. Holding position is easy, even against the mild current.

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    Of course, you want to know what patterns we use. You'll see reacquiring patterns... usually something with white legs. However, we have found other flies also work. These are the ones we use the most often:

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    Normally, we use a two fly presentation. This means that it isn't that odd to catch two bass at once. Evidently, the first bass you hook causes a weird feeding frenzy so a second bass will take the other pattern. If you think one smallie fights like the devil, you can imagine the handful you have when you hook two at the same time:

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    Probably the discovery of a shad fry in one of the smallies was the most significant. Once we found the bass were more than happy to take pencil poppers, they became a pattern of choice during the morning and evening.

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    These are what we use:

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    And this is the result:

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    END PART 2
    bakerite and triploidjunkie like this.
  3. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,515
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,129 / 0
    The last post is simply a mix of photos. Deke Meyer is shown in a number of photos and he did catch a 17-inch smallmouth shown in the mix below:

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    This is what you must deal with when you go fishing with outdoor writers... everyone becomes a fish holding model:

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    END

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  4. Shawn West Active Member

    Posts: 206
    Vancouver,Washington
    Ratings: +68 / 0
    Thanks for sharing Gene. I sure wish it was August instead of November right now. Only got out a few times this year.

    Shawn
  5. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,515
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,129 / 0
    Yeah, the timing is off but this time of year is best for me to convert slides into DVD images. It's a lot more handy to watch a program on the TV than to drag out the projector and screen -- thus the reason to scan the slides and burn DVDs of the photos

    I only have one program remaining to convert and that one deals with LMB. I'll probably post some images from that program too. Someday during the winter.
  6. jersey livin' the dream

    Posts: 192
    sonoma county
    Ratings: +53 / 0
    It's amazing how hard smallies pull..a 10-12 inch fish will bend a 5wt like nothing, they are an absolute blast!!
  7. Greg Armstrong Active Member

    Posts: 912
    Pugetropolis
    Ratings: +256 / 0
    That looks like just a whole bunch of fun!
    Is springtime, or any other time of year worth targeting them?
  8. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,515
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,129 / 0
    Greg, we've caught the smallmouth by mistake while fishing for shad May through June, so they are available in the Spring. We never bothered to try for them during the Fall because we'd switch over to salmon and steelhead and away from bass.

    As far as we were concerned, the hottest months of the summer were the best time to fish the Ump for the bass. The river winds through mountains and hills so you can avoid the heat of the sun by fishing close to the bankside vegetation.

    The salmon enter the Umpqua during the Fall so most fishing reports deal with salmon catches and not bass so while I imagine bass fishing would remain as good as it is during August, I honestly don't know.

    As the seasons change, our group change our target species of fish. That's one huge advantage of living where we do.
  9. David Loy Senior Moment

    Posts: 2,331
    Wolf Bay
    Ratings: +276 / 1
    Nice report Gene. Thanks
    I don't have history with SMB but am tying into one occasionally here in Lake Washington. Fun fish! Perhaps a sporty chapeau would help...
  10. Randall Clark Active Member

    Posts: 598
    Orygun
    Ratings: +142 / 0
    Cool photo-journey Gene.

    They sure are fun...I only made it down there once this last summer, but it is always a blast to catch those guys and occasionally tangle with those larger females...great fun on glass.
  11. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,178
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +157 / 2
    Nice...have always wanted to try that as I have caught very few small mouth bass. No offense but are those photos recent? Looks like from the 80s, based on the attire and gear.

    Edit-I just read the last sentence in your post.
  12. bakerite Active Member

    Posts: 235
    Baker City Oregon
    Ratings: +63 / 0
    NIce work Gene. I will have to get some of those pencil poppers to fish over here on the Snake reservoirs!
  13. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,515
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,129 / 0
    I turned the slide program into a film clip. It has sound. As I don't like the sound of my own recorded voice, I added text instead of using narration. The original program took much longer during the presentation because I would stop at specific slides to make comments. I'm still learning how to use the clip editing program so it certainly isn't perfect but I'll eventually figure it out.

  14. FinLuver Active Member

    Posts: 340
    Mid-Willamette Valley
    Ratings: +82 / 0
    Something that was mentioned to a group, at an ODFW meeting in Roseburg, was that the ODFW was obtaining "new equipment" (in 2012) to survey the impact of SMB on the outgoing smolt. They had data, but didn't have the months of March thru May, the key time for outward migration.

    From the data they did have however showed that the 12" and under age group were the major predator of the smolts. The larger fish ate what the salmonid populous ate - nymphs and crawdads.

    They suspected that during the outward smolt migration, they might find that the larger SMB were eating them during their journey.

    I haven't inquired ODFW - Laura Jackson for any updated data...I should make a call.

    FYI...there are SMB in the Glide area on the North Fork. Dewatering (increased water temps)is creating a prime habitat for them to survive.
  15. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,515
    Willamette Valley, OR
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    Terry, my information is dated so thanks for the update. However, here's the problem with the bass... how the devil do you get rid of them? The ODF&W can't seem to figure out a method... or so they say... to remove the illegally planted LMB in Davis and Crane... which are lakes. So how on earth could they ever remove the smallies from such a river as large and complex river as The Umpqua?

    At one time, there was no limit on the smallmouth but I've heard that there is now.

    So even if the ODF&W wastes a ton of money doing studies in regards to the impact of the smallmouth... there is no way in hell they can, or will, rid them of the river.

    Thus, my suggestion that those who do fish for the illegally planted bass take all they want up to any limit there may or may not be.

    While they are fun to catch they simply are not supposed to be there. I would gladly give up the chance to fish for the smallmouth if it is found they are greatly impacting the trout, salmon and steelhead.

    When I first researched the article I wrote in regards to the bass, the ODF&W bio at the time told me that the bass had put a huge dent in the population of Northern Pike Minnow which actually helped the salmon and steelhead. He also told me they were not entering the North Fork.

    The tune has changed.

    Still, how the hell would they rid the river of the smallies???

    If they can't return Davis Lake to the trophy trout flyfishing only fishery it was originally before the LMB destroyed the trout fishery, I have no faith they can do much about the smallmouth in The Umpqua.
  16. FinLuver Active Member

    Posts: 340
    Mid-Willamette Valley
    Ratings: +82 / 0
    You are correct...how do you get rid of them now??

    They did increase the limit last year.

    I feel it should be "no Limit"...but then the BIG K RANCH (and its lobby money) will have to find another "marketing opportunity".
  17. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,515
    Willamette Valley, OR
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    The Big K section encourages C&R for the bass... but I don't know how they can force that stance.

    When I wrote the article back in the round tube days, there was no limit. As far as I can tell, the bass organizations (B.A.S.S.) pushed for a limit and somewhere along the way managed to pull it off. There should be no limit.

    I'm not sure what the regs are for the John Day. The same situation exists in that fishery.
    You have the anadromous fish and the resident redbands duking it out with the bass.

    Bottomline: the bass are there and they are not going away. Might as well flyfish for them if you're into it.
  18. Kevin J. Burnham Active Member

    Posts: 2,126
    Auburn,Wa.
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    Good stuff !!!
  19. Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

    Posts: 2,043
    Columbia Basin
    Ratings: +483 / 0
    Excellent, Gene! Thanks for sharing this. 2 Smallies at a time would be an adventure; bringing in 2 of those spastic fish, both just waiting to explode at tube-side would be an adventure in a float tube, lol. Back in my Rapala days, I've both experienced & witnessed more than one punctured thumb & scuttled tube; it was all fun!
  20. Salmon Candy Member

    Posts: 252
    Bellevue, WA.
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Gene ties a mean pencil pooper which will be included in my Fly Fishing For Western Smallmouth book published by Stackpole books July 2014. For more info on the Umpqua check out my article in January/February issue of Northwest Fly Fishing.