I live in one of the richest states for trout. Idaho is teeming with blue waters and fly fishermen descend there every spring. I like targeting the trout as much as the next one, but I can only dodge the drift boats and outrun the wading fishermen for so long. That’s why I like small mouths.
Because there are so many opportunities for cold water trout fishing in the West, Small Mouths are one of the most underrated fly rod game fish here. It is ironical. If you look at the watersheds of the largest trout rivers in the Rocky Mountains, the lower half is almost always prime habitat for bronze, teeming with cobbles and silty river beds, moderate water temperatures, and a large reserve of food.
Over the past few years, I have taken some of the best smallmouth sight fishing on a body of water just 30 minutes from my front door, and have learned some valuable lessons. With so many fishermen throwing spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits and live baits, I had to find ways to bring out the flies. To help you catch more cubs on the fly wherever you live, here are three concepts to remember.
1. Keep it simple for the little mouths of the river
I love catching new flies, especially those loaded with modern materials designed to produce extremely realistic action. I often look for these patterns first, thinking they’ll be something the bass hasn’t seen yet. Inevitably, after a hundred throws with maybe a few chases and a hit or two, I throw in the towel and grab a Clouser Minnow.
In my experience, bass in moving water doesn’t care if a fake minnow that moves or exactly looks like a real minnow. The silhouette and movement prevail over realism and natural color patterns. That’s why a Clouser is my # 1 fly. It is inexpensive, simple to tie, and easy to see when sight fishing in crystal clear water. Want to simplify things even further? Don’t get carried away by too many color combinations. The yellow on chartreuse kills it for me in a wide range of conditions.
2. Slow down your recovery to catch more bass
A lot of people I take smallmouth fishing for the first time fly at the speed of the Daytona 500 and get frustrated when a bass follows but never engages. If you think about it, the basses see all kinds of quick spinners and lip crankbaits. Hard baits can seem unnatural and the fish can eventually become conditioned to refuse them. When you do such a quick recovery with a fly, expect the same reaction from the fish.
Practice slowing down your tape speed. If it helps, use less weight on your flies to decrease the sink rate. My small-mouthed friends and I see so many fish hitting the wall that we have learned to stop moving the fly every now and then during a retrieve, especially if there is a fish following close behind. Just let the fly sink (slowly). The bass can strike before the fly meets the creek bed, or when it is stationary on the gravel for a moment or two. Make the fly behave like a frightened prey that knows death is imminent, and more bronzes will engage.
Read More: How To Tie The Most Realistic Streamer Flies Ever
3. Try dry flies for Topwater Smallmouth Bass
What many anglers don’t realize is that many slow, warm, and shallow smallmouth rivers are home to the same sought-after caddis and mayflies that make trout anglers soar in the wee hours of the world. morning. As the morning sun heats the water, indulge yourself and don’t sleep. Grab a coffee, enjoy being the only trailer on the boat launch, and spend the next few hours hunting for dimple bass on the surface. Even the smallest rings can be produced by heavy fish, and there is no greater challenge than landing a 3 or 4 pounder on a light point and a size 16 dry fly. insanely big basses targeting incredibly small shapes. If you don’t eat risers, try using a small popper around the sippers, taking breaks often. You can also try running a Clouser through them.