After the long dreaded winter, it feels great to be back in the saddle fishing for smallmouth bass in Asheville, NC. Smallmouth fishing is one of the favorite species to chase after, as fly fishing guides in Asheville.
There’s a difference between knowledge and luck when it comes to spring-time smallies. Fly fishing in the spring for smallmouth can be the most rewarding fishing experience you can ever ask for. To help you out our guides have put together a short list of tactics for targeting spring time smallmouth.
What and When?
Spring is typically 2-3 months, and the best times to fish are typically around the first 5-8 weeks. Smallmouth will relate to the colder water temperatures as they warm up with the longer days and the warmer sun. Look for 40 degree to 54 degree farenheit for big fish. This is the prespawn period. These fish will start feeding aggressively on baitfish, crawfish and mayflies; typically anything that is smaller than their weight. These fish will start to move from their wintering pools into shallow water under rock ledges and wait to ambush prey.
As the rocks begin to warm up from the sun, the smallmouth will hold tight to these rocks as they search for food. Early prespawn smallmouth will generally be at the mouth of creeks that feed into bigger rivers or near springs/branches that converge. Search for dark spots in deeper holes when approaching these rivers and throw belly dancers or white flukes to entice a reaction strike.
Drifting For Bronzebacks?
When we’re throwing streamers we will typically throw belly dancers, zonkers or other minnow imitation baits to entice a big strike. Drifting streamers into deep pools is a great method to get a big prespawn bass to bite. After the streamer has drifted into the pool and has fallen 2 feet, this is when you want to strip, twitch and pause to create a fleeing baitfish movement. 9 times out of 10 you will get hit on the pause. A side hook set works great, while raising the rod tip to 12 o’clock – this way you get a solid hook set if the fish does decide to run towards the boat.
Bronzebacks love natural colors! Don’t be fooled by all the pink and green colors, while these color lures or streams do well, the natural colors are where you will get the big fish. Try fishing light shades of grey with a small hint of orange or yellow to imitate the war paint minnow. A favorite among the bronzeback. These minnows are plentiful in Western North Carolina and they are on the top of the smallmouth’s diet year round.
Into the Flow
Incoming rivers, creeks or even branches can be deadly. Not every incoming flow produces great fishing, but if you can find the right ones, they are usually on fire. This all depends on the biology of the river, creek or branch that is flowing upstream. Does it have native fish? Does it produce crawfish? Are there sculpins or other native forage? If you have time check out these streams that typically flow into the bigger rivers and you may find fish swimming upstream or crawfish crawling under rocks. If you find these indicators you can be sure there will be smallmouth hiding at the mouth of the creek. Target these creeks wisely!