Smallmouth tend to move back and forth from shallow to deep water, depending on the season and temperature of the water.
They can usually be found in the shallows in the spring, fall and winter. They will escape the heat of the summer by occupying deeper waters.
This is a general rule, as there can be day to day and lake to lake variations. As the water warms up in the spring, you’ll find certain areas of the lake to be warmer than others. Focus on these areas…
Smallmouth will likely be schooling this time of year. You can’t beat a hard jerkbait for finding schools. You can cover a lot of ground quick with a jerkbait. Search out these fish in 5 to 10 feet of water. They may also be in much deeper water, but suspended at 5-10 feet.
Yellow perch are a favorite of Bronzebacks in the early spring, as they have just come out of the spawn and are an easy target. Try lures with either a gold or perch pattern on them. Target larger bass with larger baits.
Many believe the smallies spawn in coves. Don’t eliminate the fact that they may spawn in the main lake. Using your finding jerkbait, work the shoreline well searching for these fish.
Look for bedding bass around sand or gravel bottoms, isolated stumps, rocks, or anything they might use for cover. They are likely to bed deeper in clear water. Once they bed, they rarely leave. They are prone to be aggressive towards anything that comes over or past their beds. In this situation, try soft jerkbaits and tubes. Throw them over the bed and let them fall, then hold on.