Fishing for smallmouth bass can be very exciting, especially if you are fishing for them in smaller rivers and streams. In my experience, you can catch some very nice fish on these types of water and many good fishing spots receive very little fishing pressure. I’m sure there are plenty of popular streams and rivers that receive a ton of fishing pressure, but I have been lucky enough to be able to fish some streams and rivers without seeing another person in sight.
To find some of these places to fish, you can easily search your state’s fish and wildlife websites to find what rivers have smallmouth bass in them. From here, I like to pull up a Google map to see if there are any of these rivers or streams within a short drive to my house. I have a few places to fish near my house, so I grab the waders, jump in the car and try to find some places to fish. This type of fishing seems to be more of an adventure than fishing in a pond or a lake because you will usually have to walk a long way on land and in the water just to find some of the best spots. If you like a little adventure, then this type of fishing is for you.
For this type of fishing, I usually bring only one rod and I like to throw lipless crankbaits early in the morning. I will typically fish during the first 2 hours of daylight and try to cover as much water as possible. I will mark the very good fishing spots with my gps to make sure to come back to them another day and slow down with a jig or even some live bait. On my first time out to cover some new water, it’s all about the crankbaits and I do expect to lose a couple of them, but it’s worth it to catch a few bass.
In streams and small rivers, the best fishing spots for me are big bends, behind large rocks and boulders, overhanging trees, dams and deep pools provide a lot of bigger fish for me in the summer. My top lures are lipless crankbaits, jigs, spinnerbaits, plastic worms as well as live worms, creek chubs and fathead minnows.
If you have a dam near you, try to get out there in the spring and fall. You should find a lot of fish up near the dam. On some mornings, I will catch 6 to 8 bass within the first hour in the morning during the spring and fall at the base of the dam. Most of the fish I catch on small rivers and streams are usually smaller than what I catch in the nearby lakes, but I usually do get one nice bass in the 2 to 3 pound range each trip to go along with many 12 to 14 inch smallmouth bass.
For more information, take a look at our smallmouth bass fishing page.