Smallmouth Bass

Pound for pound there is no better freshwater sport fish that gives an angler a better fight and better action than the smallmouth bass.  Because it is intolerant of pollution, the smallmouth bass is a good natural indicator of a healthy environment, though it can better adjust to changes in water condition than most trout species.

Smallmouth Bass are usually in more open water, where you can use light to medium-action 6- to 7-foot spinning rods and 6- to 10-pound-test lines.  Fly-rodders also find these smallmouth eager to take top-water poppers or minnow-shaped streamers when the fish are in relatively shallow water.  In summer, deep underwater points, rocky shoals, submerged islands, and weed edges are the places to catch these hard-fighting, tail-walking fish. Soft-plastic twister-tail, tube, and shad jig bodies on 1/8- to 3/8-ounce heads are the most common smallmouth lures. Good jig colours are black, smoke, purple, amber, yellow, and white. Bounce jigs along bottom, while retrieving or drifting with the wind over potential hotspots. One trick is to allow a tube jig to settle on bottom, then release 20 to 40 yards (18 to 36 m) of line. As the boat drifts, nudge the bait along, as you feel for a strike. This technique is particularly useful in clear, deep water for spooky smallmouth. Smallmouth are particularly fond of crayfish, especially soft-shells that have just molted.

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Smallmouth Bass facts

  • Ontario records: 9.84 lbs (4.46 kg)
  • Average sizes: 1 to 3.5 lbs (.45 to 1.58 kg)
  • Habitat and temperature: Live in deeper water, often around rocks, sand, or gravel areas. They prefer water temperatures under 70°F (21°C).
  • Biology: Spawn in late May and June in fanned-out bottom depressions. They deposit their eggs in shallow, gravelly areas. Males guard eggs and fry.