Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass

smallmouth bass fly fishing

Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass

Most people associate fly fishing with trout and haven’t ever considered fly fishing for smallmouth bass? If you have, you might be aware that these little guys put up a relentless fight on the fishing rod.

Although fly fishing for bass may not be the easiest, the fight is totally worth it. Furthermore, trout fisheries are almost always crowded with drift boats and wading fly anglers looking for their next catch. This means you have all the bass locations to yourself.

However, it can be challenging for beginners in the fly fishing game to land smallmouth during their fly fishing trips. We have put together this brief post to shed more insights on fly fishing for smallmouth bass so that your next trip is as exciting and rewarding as possible.


Flies to Use When Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass

If you’ve been to any fishing expeditions for bass like the largemouth bass, you probably know that it is less about the type of flies used and more about how you present the flies. Therefore, Check these tricks that’ll help you understand what kind of flies to use and how best to present them to land some smallmouths successfully.

  • Keeping the flies shiny: When using specific bass flies, especially streamers, to catch smallmouth bass, ensure there is a shiny or colourful element about it. This is how you attract the attention of smallmouth bass. When the flies shine bright, they will draw these fish species out of their hiding.
  • Use poppers: This method is not only effective but also enjoyable. These flies essentially replicate the movement of large water animals. Since smaller animals like frogs are perfect snacks for smallmouths, the hungrier ones will come out to eat.
  • Use weighted flies: Mostly prevalent around late summer, these flies increase your chances of catching smallmouths deep in the water when smallmouths venture down into cool water. Furthermore, you can use these flies when fishing in fast-flowing water.
  • Be creative: There will be times when the smallmouths become content in finding food and will less likely want to feed. Therefore, it would be best to introduce something new like the pretty pink streamer to attract them.

These are just some ways you can get creative with fish food to catch their attention. Nonetheless, flies like the Clouser minnow, articulated conehead minnow or woolly bugger would make great food as well.



How to Fly Fish Smallmouth Bass

When you are out fly fishing for smallmouths, there are different techniques you can use to fish them out of your favorite spot in the river or the lake. Here are four common ones:

  • Extra-slow retrieves: After you attach the fly, cast and let it float or sink and wait. Patience is the virtue you may have to exercise at this point. As you wait, you can animate it slowly then pick it up and cast again but at a different spot. It will be the best technique to catch the smallmouth when they hold tight, especially in clear water.
  • Pause, go and stop: Cast your rod, pause for a bit and then move it a few inches and pause again. With each movement, you increase the strips by one or two. Do this until you discover a combination that seems to interest the fish.
  • Panic retrieve: You cast the fly loudly so that it makes a splashy impact and retrieve it immediately to create the illusion of panic. You can only change the directions until you manage to entice the smallmouth in the area.
  • Continuous stripping: After your fly settles on water, perform continuous stripping as you vary the speed. You will be imitating the movements of leeches, minnows and nymphs.


fly fishing smallmouth bass
Fly fishing for smallmouth bass is a great way, to get em!

The Size of the Fly Fishing Rod to Use

Using the right rod is important whether fishing in creeks or rivers. Even as you think of the best rod to use, you should keep in mind that smallmouth bass spook quickly. Therefore, the best size of fly rod is around 5 or 6 since you must rather overcompensate than undercompensate. This is because you never know where you might land the catch of a lifetime. Furthermore, always ensure that the rod is durable.

Best Time to Go Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouths like warm water. Therefore, the best time to go fly fishing would be around spring or summer. Besides, Spring is the spawning season; thus, they will be feeding more. Therefore, it is the best time to target them with flies. However, this doesn’t imply that you can’t fish during winter. Furthermore, it would be best to go for your fly fishing adventure in the early hours (especially between 5 am to 9 am, or 6 pm to 9 pm) since they like feeding at this time.

So we’d hope that all the information we shared helps you get a  great catch. If you liked reading this post, please feel free to leave a comment, like or share with your friends and family.



Article Contribution:

Ben Kepka

Fly Fisher


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You need a system to know where to go, what to use and how to work your lures to catch more bass in every situation.

Use this lure color selection chart and perfectly match the color of your lure to what bass are wired to eat without trial and error so you can catch the monsters! 

Post Categories

Recent Posts

Discover how to perfectly match the color of your lure to what bass are wired to eat so you can catch the monsters!

Follow Me

Join the Waitlist Today!!!

Catch More Bass And Bigger Bass Without Buying More Gear

This is how to entice bass to bite and catch bass on every fishing trip!

What You Can Expect From The Bass Fishing Foundation Secrets Course

Catch Big Bass By Knowing the perfect color without guessing

Discover how to perfectly match the color of your lure to what bass are wired to eat so you can catch the monsters!