12 Smallmouth Bass Patterns For The Fall

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Fall Smallmouth Fishing On Reservoirs

Fall is one of the best times of the year for fly anglers wanting to target big smallmouth bass on reservoirs.

Particularly if the lake impoundment has good populations of shad, blueback herring, or other native baitfish. Fly fisherman fishing surface poppers and subsurface baitfish patterns to these schools of bass can be rewarded with big bronzebacks. The fall brings positive changes in fish behavior and fishing conditions from cooler air temperatures and increased rainfall.  For the first time in several months, water temperatures drop significantly on reservoirs which triggers an increase in baitfish activity. Smallmouth bass counter offensively by congregating themselves into schools and driving the baitfish into shallow water where they’ll ball the bait up for easing feeding.

Smart anglers will search out smallmouth bass and the baitfish around the same spawning grounds they visited in the spring during the pre-spawn and spawn. The only difference is during the fall smallmouth bass aren’t’ spawning, they’re instead using these shallow areas of the lake to ambush and corral baitfish. Anglers should also concentrate on main lake points and flats located close to deep water, since smallmouth bass will use these areas to feed as well. It’s best to get on the lake early when the topwater bite is hot. Daylight until ten o’clock in the morning is generally the best  for breaking fish, but the evening until dusk can be very good as well.

After the sun gets up go subsurface with your baitfish imitations. An intermediate fly line matched with a weighted baitfish pattern works really well after the sun gets up, or if you find breaking fish aren’t staying up long enough to target them on the surface. Remember that water temperature is the key success factor. Concentrate your fishing on the reservoirs when water temperatures fall into this eleven degree window (62-73 Fahrenheit), and you’ll find consistent smallmouth bass fishing and aggressive fish feeding up for the winter. If you don’t live in an area that has smallmouth bass, no worries, you can target the same water and great fall fishing on reservoirs for spotted bass and largemouth bass also. Spotted bass will be found in the same areas as smallmouth bass, while largemouths will tend to patrol and feed closer to the shoreline.

12 Smallmouth Bass Patterns For The Fall


1. Wiggle Minnow 2. Crease Fly 3. Fish Head Dahlberg Diver 4. Live Bait/Flexo-Sreamer 5. Chubby Gummy Minnow 6. Charlie’s Airhead 7. Nix’s Shinabou Shiner 8. Whitlocks Deep Minnow 9. Murdich’s Minnow 10. Hot Flash Minnow 11. Cowen’s Coyote 12. Clouser Minnow


Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline

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