Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
2. Giant Black Stoneflies
3. Light Cahills
4. Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams)
5. Eastern Pale Evening Duns
6. Little Short-horned Sedges
7. American March Browns
9. Green Sedges
10. Little Yellow Stoneflies
11. Golden Stoneflies
Most available - Other types of food:
12. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
13. Inch Worms
Fly Fishing School - Smallmouth Bass Habitat
There are two things to keep in mind anytime you are fishing for smallmouth bass. One is rocks and the
other is crayfish. In a lake or river that ranges within the preferred temperature preferences of smallmouth
bass, these two things together is key. Broken rock and rubble are the ideal structure for them but don't
exclude flooded trees and bushes. In lakes where both are present, banks with a rather steep decline seem
to be preferred over gentle sloping banks.
As a general rule (which means there are exceptions) smallmouth don't cruise around looking for food. They
are predators that like to hide and attack their prey. The wait for their prey to come to them and the strike
with a short, sudden burst of speed.
They favorite food of a smallmouth bass is crayfish. Some call them craydads and some call them crawfish.
Smallmouth also eat baitfish, minnows, sculpin and other small fish.
Water temperature is an important consideration. The preferred range of water temperature for smallmouth
bass is between 65 and 75 degrees. Sixty eight to seventy degrees is perfect. They can remain active in
water as cold as forty degrees. They will normally start feeding when the ice has melted from a lake. They
are sluggish until it gets into the mid fifties but they can still be caught in water that cold.
The spawning season usually provides the best fishing opportunities. This can occur anywhere from the first
of May through the month of June depending on the exact location. The males big the nest or beds and
become very aggressive during that time. They prefer gravel and rubble in shallower water than they
normally spend most of their time. As many as three or four females may use the same bed.
Although we generalized on the habitat of smallmouth bass at the beginning of this article, your will find there
are some differences in smallmouth that live in lakes and those that live in rivers and streams. Those
differences depend on the particular lake, reservoir or stream, but its mostly to do with the structure, water
depths, and food supply. You will find there is a variation in all of these things from one local to another.
The smallies in the lakes of Canada are generally different than those of the western lakes in Montana, Utah
and Oregon, for example. Those that live in the St. Lawrence River in New York are quite different from
those in the Tennessee River and the tributary streams that originate in the Appalachian Mountains. You
have to learn the particulars about the water you plan to fish.
In some lakes weed lines are the key structures. In others, it is rock outcroppings in deep water. Generally,
the clearer the lake, the deeper the smallmouth will reside. Lakes that have some tint or color to the water
will have smallmouth that tend to stay in relatively shallow water.
You should learn as much as you possible can about where the smallmouth reside during the different
seasons if you want to consistently catch them on the fly.
In my opinion, smallmouth bass fishing in the state of Tennessee is grossly underrated. There are many
streams in the state with good populations of smallmouth bass that are basically unknown for smallmouth.
New Schedule of Daily
Mondays: Weather and Stream
Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
More Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing the park and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
Shipping is free in the U. S. for all
orders of any size. Orders over $50
are shipped free via Priority Mail.