During cold fronts, smallmouth bass will typicaly go deeper and remain inactive for a day or two. The type of water, time of year and degree of cold front will dictate just how much the fishing changes. Even though cold fronts will make the fishing tougher, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a few fish to bite.
In rivers, cold fronts don’t change the fishing too much. If it’s a drastic cold front, then fishing may slow down, but most of the time you can catch a lot of smallmouth bass in rivers after a cold front. In lakes, it’s another story. Fish will go deeper and shut down for a couple of days. The clearer the lake, the worse the fishing will be following a cold front. After a cold front, the next day is usually full of sun without a cloud in the sky. These conditions are horrible for catching smallmouth in clear lakes. Most anglers will downsize their lures or go to live bait after a severe cold front. This will help you find a few biters.
During the fall, cold fronts can actually help the fishing. Smallmouth bass feed heavily in the fall to put on some weight for the winter. A cold front helps lower water temperatures which will help push some fish into the shallows. During the fall, anglers usually can catch fish shallow and deep. A severe cold front near the end of fall may slow down the fishing, but a cold front throughout any other part of the fall shouldn’t make fishing difficult.