Finding Smallmouth Bass
There are two things to keep in mind anytime you are fishing for smallmouth
bass. One is rocks and the other is crayfish. These two things together in a lake
or river that ranges within the preferred temperature preferences of smallmouth
bass is key. Broken rock and rubble are the ideal structure for them but don't
exclude flooded trees and bushes. Banks with a rather steep decline seem to be
preferred over gentle sloping banks in lakes where both are present.
Smallmouth don't cruise around looking for food. They are predators that like to
hide and attack their prey. The wait for their prey to come to them and the strike
with a short, sudden burst of speed.
They favorite food of a smallmouth bass is crayfish. Some call them craydads
and some call them crawfish. Smallmouth also eat baitfish, minnows, sculpin and
other small fish. Water temperature is an important consideration. The preferred
range of water temperature for smallmouth bass is between 65 and 75 degrees.
Sixty eight to seventy degrees is perfect. They can remain active in water as cold
as forty degrees. They will normally start feeding when the ice has melted from a
lake. They are sluggish until it gets into the mid fifties but they can still be caught
in water that cold.
The spawning season usually provides the best fishing opportunities. This can
occur anywhere from the first of May through the month of June depending on
the exact location. The males big the nest or beds and become very aggressive
during that time. They prefer gravel and rubble in shallower water than they
normally spend most of their time. As many as three or four females may use the
Although we generalized on the habitat of smallmouth bass at the beginning of
this article, your will find there are some differences in smallmouth that live in
lakes and those that live in rivers and streams. Those differences depend on the
particular lake, reservoir or stream but its mostly to do with the structure, water
depths, and food supply. You will find there is a variation in all of these things
from one local to another.
The smallies in the lake of Canada are generally different than those of the
western lakes in Montana, Utah and Oregon, for example. Those that live in the
St. Lawrence River in New York are quite different from those in the Tennessee
River. You have to learn the particulars about the water you plan to fish. In some
lakes weed lines are the key structures. In others, it is rock outcroppings in deep
water. Generally, the clearer the lake, the deeper the smallmouth will reside.
Lakes that have some tint or color to the water will have smallmouth that tend to
stay in relatively shallow water.
You should learn as much as you possible can about where the smallmouth
reside during the different seasons if you want to consistently catch them on the
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