Monday, August 1, 2016

Small Stream Tactic for Smallmouth

Right now, considering pretty much every larger "trout river" in Eastern CT is too warm and too low to sustain trout, my target in rivers have switched to smallmouth as is usually the case this time of year. My tactics for bass in streams differ from typical smallmouth methods. I often fish small unweighted streamers and dry flies, or use shortline and strip-tease nymphing techniques that are more often applied  to small streams and trout. On Saturday I fished primarily with a Grey Ghost and a Hornberg, worked in much the same way as one would fish these flies for brook trout. The results speak for themselves, with numerous spunky bass coming to hand through out the day. Sure, none were impressive by any means, but taper your gear correctly and they are plenty fun.

In slow flat places like this it is possible to sight fish for cruising bass. I like to cast four or five feet in front of a slowly cruising bass and let the fly sink all the way to the bottom. When, or rather if, the fish gets within a foot of the fly, I give it a two inch strip really quickly then let the fly settle again. I give a long pause before another strip. I keep doing this until one of three things occurs: the fish takes or looses interest, or the fly hangs up on the bottom.

Foam is home! And in the case of the spot above the foam also helps to show where a good feeding lane is. The water on the inside of that seem where the bigger clumps of foam are is where the fish were sitting, and as the streamer slid by them in the faster water they would dart out and grab it. This turned out to be the most productive location I fished.

The last fish of the afternoon was a 12 incher. Fishing with big streamers in higher water, especially in the spring, results in lots of fish this size and bigger, but in the summer these are an early morning and nocturnal catch. To catch this one on a floating Hornburg in such a small river in the middle of the day on light gear was pretty sweet.


  1. Nice bass catch!! They do like your ties. The foam always worked for me, as you said the current is mapped out.
    Tie, fish write and photo on...

    1. Thanks, though for once neither of those flies were actually my own. I found the grey ghost in a tree and the hornburg was from Maine.