With hat in hand, I come seeking information

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by Olive bugger, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. After the spawn and even the males have left the nest smallmouth can become difficult to find and quality fish even more difficult. but after 2 or three weeks you'll begin to find them actively feeding on current breaks quite the same places one might look for feeding trout. The points of islands, points in rip-rap banks. Any structure that juts out into the current making a seam is likely to hold some fish. Offshore rock piles and submerged Islands are other key areas. Having good maps and electronics on your boat can be of great assistance in finding these spots. During this summer season as with the rest of the year the forage base is mostly crayfish and scuplins. it is very common to catch fish with crawdad antenna or a sculpin tail sticking out of their throats. However they will also start targeting bait fish. This is when the top water bite starts to happen. During this season it's just about any technique will work it will be a matter of trial and error to see what the fish want on any particular day. Some days it will be slow and on the bottom, other days you won't be able to strip your fly in fast enough. Look for wind blown shallow banks with millfoil for super aggressive fish. on Sunny calm days expect to fish deeper.
    By about Mid august the American Shad fry that were spawned in the spring will hatch and begin their downstream migration This is the time of year that every bass fly angler should be looking forward to as the smallmouth gorge on them. large top water flies fished quickly will often produce fish all day long even on the hottest of days also large baitfish patterns produce when the top water bite is off. Often times you'll see several fish following your hooked fish to the boat, this is a great time to fish with a buddy and have him pay close attention while you are landing a fish so you can double up by catching the chasers... This season of fishing will last until mid September and progress downstream as the shad smolts migrate.
    Richard Torres likes this.
  2. OB -
    Sorry about joining this discussion late but in another life I fished bass (both largemouth and smallmouth) quite a bit. On the wet side of the mountians the smallmouth game is a lake game with the best lakes being fairly large. I see folks have talked about some of the smaller lakes - that is a largemouth game -another discussion.

    Smallmouth in our lakes will be mostly a deeper water game (depedning on the season/water temperature) you will be doing your fishing in 5 to 30 feet of water. So you need to have lines that gve you the flexibility to fish those depths - your 8 wieght would be fine. While smallmouth are generally thought of as being a fish feeding along 10 to 25 deep gravel flats and underwater points they can be attractive to structure as well. Isloated boulders, logs, tree tops and docks all can hold respectbale #s of fish. \

    As Rob stated the pre-sapwn is an excellent time for large fish as they moving into the shallower waters. As the smaller lakes and ponds move into that the 50- degree range it is time to think about moving to the large lakes for smallies as those lakes will be a few degrees cooler. They wil spawn during the first stable weather once the water temp reachs the mid to upper 50s - here in W. Washington that will typically be during May. Expect the spawn period to last 3 to 4 weeks (longer or shorter depending on the weather patterns). The males will be constructing their beds in 5 to 15 feet of water on gravel flats and they like having some structure (rock, log, dock poiling, etc) on one side. The males will guard the bed site until they eggs hatch. Once the fry leave the beds the adults move back towards deeper water. There can be short lull post spawn in the fishing but expect consistent fishing the rest of the summer once you have the fish patterned

    While the smallmouth game in our lakes is one of mostly large nymphs, streamers, etc do not over look surface poppers and large dries; especially just before and during the spawn as well as low light periods the rest of the summer. I tie most of my smallie flies on hooks ranging in size of 4s to 1/0. One of my best flies is a Woolly bugger tied on a 1/0 low water Atlantic salmon hook using a full marabou feather for the tail in a variety of colors combos. You will also want scuplin and baitfish streamers in the 2 to 5 inch range, large nymphs (dargon and damsel flies), leeches, etc. Those flies can be fished on 6 and 8# tippets with leader lengths being a little less than the rod length.

    Since if you are targeting smallies on larger lakes some sort of boat is a must. A bow mounted electric is a huge asset though lots of fish can be caught out of boats using oars, anchors, etc. A wind sock can be handy for slowing down wind drifts across likely flats and edges. From Seattle north besides Sammamish and Washington other lakes that produce excellent smallmouth fishing include Stevens, Goodwin and Whatcom. 1 to 3# fish should be the norm though decent numbers of 4 and 5# fish are found in all those lakes with that odd stud of 6 or pounds.

    A depth finder is a huge help in zeroing in on some of that key structure though keeping an eye on the other bass fisheries will help locate that water. Before I got my first finder I found some of my best hot spots by watch the coots and noting where they were bring up weeds from off shore locations - found several 15 to 20 foot humps and flats in unexpected locations that way (which by the way still produce fish).

    While you will not likely see many fly anglers on those lakes there is some excellent fishing to be had for the "feather tosser".

    Olive bugger and Richard Torres like this.
  3. Great post's guys!

    With a sunken forest on the west side, rocky structure and docks throughout, Lake Sammamish is an excellent choice for a lake that is close to home.
    I haven't fished Stan Coffin before, but other good East side choices are the Columbia and Snake rivers, and Moses, Banks and Palmer (but don't tell anyone else) lake's.
  4. Thanks to you all. This is a treasure trove of information. I guess my game plan is beginning to form. I will use my 14 ft. boat for the larger lakes and my float tube on the smaller ones.

    Years ago, I fished Lake Sammamish one time, with the smallies targeted. I was with a friend and I had no idea of the technique needed to catch them.

    Cottage is right next door to me, but they have rehabilitated it so many times since I last fished it, that I have no idea what is in there besides trout. Maybe a call to Mill Creek and ask them.

    I really appreciate you guys taking the time to educate an old dog.
  5. Wagner used to be a good bass (and trout) lake for me.

  6. Te part of them being hard to catch is very true. I fished bass the last 5 years in San Diego and boy were they a friggin blast. I had some weird techniques I created down there
  7. The hard part in bass fishing is that if they are decent size (say over 12 inches) their densities on most western Washington lakes are pretty darn low. Estimates on western Washington lakes peg that density at about 1 fish/acre. Contrast that with the catchable trout plants which are often planted at densities of more than 100/acre.

  8. I had an idea on the way to work this morning while contemplating this thread..

    Fly Shotting!

    floating line on a ling leader maybe as much as 15 feet

    at the end of the leader is a large tool fly heavily weighted... about 12 inches up the leader connected via Palomar knot is one of those nice worm flies ( weightless) you guys are showing on here.. the tool fly would maintain contact with the bottom and the worm fly would be suspended off the bottom during the retrieve..

    bass fishermen call this rig the drop shotting.
  9. Rob:
    "Fly shotting" should work. I like hopping the fly 1 foot up off the bottom then I let it sink back. A sinking/intermediate line keeps a straight line to the fly. Rod tip down (point at the fly) and strip strike right after the drop. This picks up those fish that like to inhale on the drop. Any head weighted fly with marabou, rabbit, lots of schlappen hackle or rubber legs will work!

    You are certainly right about bass density. I find the small lakes make the hunt easier. Big fish, small puddle
    Patrick Gould likes this.

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