Smallmouth bass inhabit both rivers and lakes with great frequency in the northwoods and are one of the more highly sought after sportfish in the region. Pound for pound they have little competition for all-around scrappiness. Put it this way, if you tied a 20 inch smallie to a 20 inch brown trout, the bass would drag that poor trout up and down the river all day long. Add to that their penchant for topwater offerings and incredible aerial displays on the end of a line and you have a sport fish in a very true sense of the word.
Most of our warm water fisheries host excellent smallmouth populations, and they’re much more river-oriented than their larger-orificed cousins so we come across them regularly whether targeting them with poppers, leech patterns and streamers or catching them incidentally while pitching big musky flies.
Smallmouth fishing tends to peak with the Summer season, a time period that can make fishing for other species a bit more difficult, and thus provide a great reason to slap on the sunblock and wide-brimmed hats and take advantage of our long summer days.