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Fly Fishing - Taking Of The Small Mouth Bass

Dec 24, 2007
Both by tradition and practical experience, fly fishing for bass in streams is small-mouth fishing. This bass likes clear, cool water without too much weed growth in it and with sand or gravel bottom. Those conditions are more common in streams than in lakes, at least in lakes in the southern or central section of the Middle West. As we go farther north, especially in Canada, these small-mouth conditions become pretty usual in lakes. As we go south, they become more rare in any except mountain rivers. These conditions delineate almost exactly the places where small-mouth thrive.

River small-mouth are splendid fly rod fish. They take flies with a zest that is almost unequaled. They take almost any kind of a fly, too--bass bugs, wet flies, exact imitations of natural insects, and flies that do not resemble anything in nature. These latter highly colored fancy type flies, however, according to recent studies of light refraction, may actually be good imitations of the way a wounded small minnow or aquatic insect floating on top of the water looks to a fish. Anyhow, river small-mouth take them all--and how they fight!

River bass live in fairly shallow water and, therefore, take a surface fly especially well. Because fish in shallow water are more easily frightened, river bass are less frequently scared by flies than by the larger and heavier bait casting lures. I have often seen a river bass turn to a fly that lit behind him and take it avidly, while a plug, bait cast that near the fish, made him scurry for the nearest hiding place. That doesn't mean bait casting isn't useful in fishing for river small-mouth, but it does restrict its use.

The mood in which to approach stream fishing for bass is much like that needed for trout fishing. You are again stalking your fish. If you keep this in mind, it will bring many bass to your creel or stringer.

Most small-mouth rivers can be waded, which is ideal for fly fishing; there is even more need to wade properly, because most bass rivers are bigger than the average trout stream.

As with trout, by no means all of a bass stream holds bass. The fish have their feeding positions, and their resting or hiding places, just as trout do. In general, bass pick the same kind of water to feed and rest in as do trout, though small-mouth usually select spots nearer to heavier and faster current.

Whether the bass will be in the riffles or in the pools depends chiefly on water temperature, time of day, stage of water (whether high, normal or low), hatches on the water, and on weather and barometric conditions. So lunar feeding periods also have an effect, but, in my experience, are not as great a factor in stream conditions as in lakes. Where the bass will be and what they will be doing is entirely governed by the combined effect of these natural conditions.
About the Author
Tommy Thompson is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best Fly fishing information possible. To see more of Tommy's articles please visit us at: Fly Fishing Guy
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