Smallmouth On The FLY – Fly fishing for smallmouth bass – McFly Angler Episode 18

Smallmouth Bass are scrappy fighters that are willing to eat a large variety of baits. They are fun to catch with conventional gear, and an absolute blast on a fly rod. Especially when fishing is this good. While we didn’t catch a whole lot, I believe we boated 20+ fish this day. Generally they like bright colored baits, but we caught a few on some more generic baitfish colors like brown/white, olive/yellow, etc…

We were fishing at Navajo Lake, a large lake in northern New Mexico, that is the start of the San Juan River. It is a cold water lake with many species including trout, salmon, pike, bluegill, perch, and of course smallmouth bass. Unfortunately there are no shad in this lake, so you must fish perch or bluegill patterns. However they seem to still go after chartreuse/white lures pretty well. The water seemed clear as can be, however Kyle told me that this was a bit off color since the lake was so high.

It was a really fun day, getting to fish with a great friend on a great fishery. This really was one of the more enjoyable fishing days I have had in a long time.

I was able to stay out of the sun by wearing a neck gaiter and some gloves. The gloves were fingerless, and both the gaiter and gloves were rated high for sun exposure. Both were pretty decent deals. $9.99 for the neck gaiter and $15.99 for the gloves. If you want to get them, the links are below to the exact ones I have…
Neck Gaiter –
Fingerless Sun Gloves –

Also, if you are interested in the same setup I have for fishing smallmouth, here is a list to the gear I used.
TFO Lefty Krey Pro II 8wt –
Sage 3880 Reel – (out of stock like everywhere) Search on Ebay and you might find one. Its an older reel, that is not discontinued.
Rio Aqualux WF8I (full sink line 1.5-2fps) –

Below are a list of the flies I used, and links to video’s where you can learn to tie them. Each of these below actually caught fish this day.
Craft Wind Streamer –
EP style minnow –
Squishy Head Bluegill –
Crafty Reverse Tied Minnow –


About the author