Smallmouth bass is known to be the hardest fighting fish, pound for pound, swimming in fresh water.
Throughout the Midwest, they are found from the Great Lakes to tiny Ozark streams. They live in some of the most beautiful waters to explore. Which makes fishing for them even more enjoyable. I’ve said it many times, if I had one day left to live, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it than wading a crystal clear stream with a small mouth fly rod.
Largemouth bass certainly have more notoriety than smallmouth bass. An entire bass fishing industry has been built around their hunting. But for me, it’s the little mouth that inspires me to load up the truck and hit the road in search of another great peach that these tough beautiful creatures call home. Here is a list of five smallmouth bass fishing destinations to consider for your next adventure.
Kentucky – Laurel River Lake
If you like to fish in beautiful waters, Lake Laurel River is known as one of the most pristine in the state of Bluegrass. It’s deep, clear, and surrounded by the hardwood hills of the Daniel Boone National Forest. The scenery might be worth the trip alone, but the bass fishing will keep you coming back again and again.
Lake Laurel River is home to three species of black bass: spotted, smallmouth, and largemouth. A 2018 bass assessment done on the lake by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife showed that at Lake Laurel River, the length of a 3-year-old largemouth bass averaged 13.5 inches. Compared to other lakes of similar size, this is considered excellent growth for largemouth bass. That means that’s where you find big bass.
Michigan — St. Joseph River
Flowing 200 miles along the Michigan-Indiana border before its confluence with Lake Michigan, the St. Joseph River offers excellent angling for smallmouth bass in an area of the Midwest easily accessible by many city dwellers. Chicago, Grand Rapids, Detroit and Toledo are easily accessible by car. Big enough for powerboats but still safe for canoeing, the St. Joe is truly one of those rivers that has it all. Whether you’re a fly fisherman or a spinner, August is the perfect time to get out on this river to hunt for smallmouth in the early morning and late evening.
Lake Erie may be most famous for walleye fishing, but savvy anglers put this Great Lake at the top of their list of destinations for largemouth bass, and May is the time to go for it. their.
Captain Bob Witt of Sea Breeze Charters said: “Smallmouth fishing is heating up in early May. We throw tube jigs on rock piles near the shore. We will also use live bait. Soft crabs and big minnows put fish in the boat.
If you’re looking to rack up some smallmouth numbers, Lake Erie shouldn’t disappoint.
Kansas – Wilson Reservoir
At 9,040 acres with depths of up to 65 feet, Wilson Reservoir offers smallmouth bass plenty of places to hide. Smallmouth can be caught during daylight hours during the summer months, but the most exciting way to fish smallmouths this time of year is after dark with surface baits. Casting surface bait on the bank and bringing it back to the boat before dawn and after dusk is one way to get your heart rate up. When a small mouth explodes on a water surface, you can’t help but feel the rush. Look for surface action in the creeks where bass will come to feed in the shallow waters at night.
Indiana – Driftwood River
The Driftwood River may be Indiana’s best smallmouth water you’ve never heard of. It is located near Columbus and is formed by the confluence of the Big Blue River and Sugar Creek. The Driftwood River only flows 16 miles before emptying into the Flatrock River. The Driftwood essentially functions as the neck of an hourglass connecting two larger streams.
It is home to a number of fish species including bass, pumpkinseed, catfish and carp, but smallmouth bass is the most common quarry for anglers. Indiana’s Driftwood River is a classic example of the old adage: dynamite comes in small packages.
See you on the trail.
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