Smallmouth bass have a fairly large mouth that extends to they eye but not beyond the rear edge when the mouth is closed. This characteristic distinguishes it from the largemouth bass where the back of the mouth does extend past the eye. Young smallmouth and spotted have an orange color in the center of their tail, juvenile largemouth bass do not. The smallmouth bass has dark vertical bars along its side with a brown or bronze colored background. Largemouth and spotted bass differ by having a black stripe that extends laterally down the side of the body and are usually lighter colored with more of a green or silvery background color.
Smallmouth bass thrive in streams with gravel or rock bottoms with a visible current. Smallmouth bass do poorly in smaller lakes and reservoirs that are shallow, have soft substrates, and abundant aquatic vegetation.
Smallmouth bass spawn in May and early June when water temperatures range from 55 to 65°F. Nests are built in gravel or hard bottom substrates in 2 to 20 feet of water. The female lays between 2,000 to 15,000 eggs. The male guards the nest and the fry for a short time. Young smallmouth feed on zooplankton and midge larvae.
Typical Foods: Feed primarily on crayfish and other large aquatic invertebrates. Will also feed on small fish and flying insects that fall on the waters surfacThe average smallmouth will be 10-14” with an occasional 17-18” fish. These bass are extremely aggressive and will hammer any topwater flies with a vengeance. Pound for pound smallmouth bass fight harder than any other freshwater fish.
Dreams on the Fly fishing for smallmouth bass is limited to the Grande Ronde and the Owyhee from Rome to Birch Creek. Both of these adventures are maximized during the prime seasons.
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