Smallmouth Bass Fishing

smallmouth bass fishing techniques and tips

The smallmouth bass is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family. One of the “black basses”, it is a popular game fish sought by anglers throughout the temperate zones of North America and has been spread by way of stocking to many cool-water tributaries and lakes in the United States and Canada.

The Smallmouth is a native to the upper and middle Mississippi River basin, the Saint-Lawrence River-Great lakes system, and up into the Hudson Bay basin. Its common names include Smallmouth, Bronzeback, Brown bass, Brownie, Smallie, Bronze bass, and Bareback bass”.

The Species is generally brown (seldom yellow) with red eyes, and dark brown vertical bands, rather than a horizontal band along the side. There are 13-15 soft rays in the dorsal fin.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing Locations

The smallmouth bass is found in clearer water than the largemouth, especially in streams and rivers, as well as the rocky areas and stumps and the sandy bottoms of lakes and reservoirs.

The fishing is especially good in the south and the southwest United States and can be caught throughout most of the year as they prefer warmer waters. However, the species can be found throughout most of North America including parts of Canada.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing Seasons

where and when to fish smallmouth bass

In some of the southern regions of the United States, smallmouth sass can be had year-round.

Elsewhere, while the warmer months might bring more intense bites, with the right gear and techniques, the smallmouth sass can be fished year-round too.

In places such as the Pacific Northwest, the summer months produce the best catches for smallmouth bass. The Columbia River in Oregon and Washington is one such place with near-record catches being had.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tips

Today, smallmouth bass are very popular game fish, frequently sought by anglers using conventional spinning and baitcasting gear, as well as fly fishing tackle. In addition to wild populations, the Smallmouth is stocked in cool rivers and lakes throughout Canada and the United States.

Each region has its own techniques for smallmouth bass fishing. Hiring a smallmouth bass guide or charter can be a great way to learn the particular regional techniques that work.

With conventional fishing, smallmouth may be successfully caught on a wide range of natural and artificial baits or lures, including crankbaits, hair jigs, plastic jerkbaits (such as Rapala Husky Jerks, Rapala X-Raps, or even a Rico Popper), spinnerbaits, and all types of soft plastic lures including curly tail grubs or tubes with lead head jigs. 

Smallmouth Bass Eating

smallmouth bass like almost any other fish will taste different depending on the water they come from, muddy water leaves a slightly muddy taste, whereas cool clean water leaves only the natural flavor of the smallmouth.

Frying is generally considered the best technique for cooking smallmouth bass. There are tens of thousands of recipes for preparing fish. Usually, your smallmouth guide or charter service will offer cleaning and filleting service, leaving you to simply choose a recipe and start cooking.

Going After Smallmouth – First, Learn About Them

facts about smallmouth bass

In order to catch your prey, you must learn more about it. Research your target and learn as much as you can about it. You can do it here on this site or elsewhere online. The important thing is to arm yourself with knowledge you can use out on the water.

Learn about the biology, habitats and seasonal patterns of the smallmouth (as well as other bass species). It’s sure to make you a better angler!

Whether you are heading out for a relaxing day on the water or entering one of the thousands of smallmouth bass fishing tournaments held yearly in the United States, smallmouth bass fishing is sure to provide you with countless memories and fish tales.

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About Avid Angler

Dave "Avid Angler" Miller has been an author and contributor to Reel Adventure Fishing since its inception, going back to 2010. Dave has fished just about every freshwater and saltwater body from coast to coast and enjoys putting a lifetime of angling experience to use in helping others to become better anglers. In addition to penning featured posts, Dave also writes a good deal of our product reviews.