Monday, March 12, 2018

Early Season Smallmouth

 We're about to get another snow storm in CT. It'll be a full blown blizzard in far eastern Mass, just a run of the mill storm here, but still a late winter dumping. Spring is going to be late here, even after the near 70 degree weather we just had. And frankly, I'm glad. The colder the water stays now the better late spring and summer will be. But I've also been frantic the last couple days. The mood was very much "get while the gettin's good". Water temperatures in the lake were in the low 40's and high 30's, that's good enough for me. Yesterday I played two fairly different games. Perch in the creeks and bass and/or walleye in the main lake. The perch targeted with a 3wt and a pair of nymphs, the bass and walleye with an 8wt and heavy sculpin pattern.

The perch were being really annoying, and there is only so much obnoxious behavior I can tolerate from 5-10 inch perch, so I caught 10 and switched gears.

Demarcation between creek water and lake water.
I figured the bluebird sky was in my favor for bass and working against me for walleye. Water temperature is more important to a bass that darkness. Reverse that for walleye. They are very cold water tolerant and like it dark, though I have caught them under very bright conditions a few times. Smallmouth however will gravitate to shallower water if it is warmer. I don't mean super shallow, like pickerel or largemouth will do, smallmouth will just push up onto points and deep flats. I fished a bit of both.

In cold water you have to fish slow, and takes will come infrequently. In some places it is possible to get into thick schools, especially warmwater discharges. But this lake can be frustratingly uniform in temperature and that leads to fish being spread out. It is easy to lose focus, casting over and over and over, retrieving the fly with a slow two-hand pull. Patience pays. I found my needle.

Got a pretty solid first smallie of the year with snow on the ground, got some mink photos. That's good enough for me.


  1. Beautiful Small Mouth! Made my day to. Glad you still have some Mink.
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

    1. Mink are a fish hazard. Cute but good at temporarily trashing small brook trout streams. Seeing one is always conflicting for me, even as natural a they are to the area!

    2. Ironically in the section of one river I have fished that gets stocked but also seems to have some naturals, I saw a mink in the same stretch where I both caught a stocker in the spring, and saw a holdover in the fall. Similarly, the most productive pool into February on the H had a mink just pop up out from under a rock, give me a scolding, and run off.