Wading for smallmouth bass can be very exciting. For many anglers, wading is something they would do in rivers and streams. You can also wade the shorelines in some lakes and even in some bays of very large lakes. Wading can be a great way to fish some areas where you couldn’t fish with a boat. For some people, wading is the best way for them to target smallies since they don’t have a boat.
Rivers & Streams
Rivers and streams are where most anglers use waders when targeting smallmouth bass. With waders, you can target smallmouth bass in shallow water around bridges, islands, dams, spillways and along any other shallow water stretch that anglers have access to fish.
Shorelines of Lakes
On some lakes, wading is a great way to fish along the shorelines. You may not have a boat and their may be private homes along the lake. Being able to access the lake from a public spot will give you access to wade along the shores of the lake as long as you stay in the water. Each state may have different regulations concerning wading in public waters, so make sure to read up on your state’s regulations before doing so. Without owning a boat, this technique may give you access to some very good fishing that others wouldn’t even think of doing.
Bays of the Great Lakes
There are some bays on the Great Lakes that have very large, shallow, rocky flats. In Door County, there are a couple spots where you could wade the shallows in Rileys Bay and in Little Sturgeon Bay. Time it right and you could end up catching smallmouth bass in the 4 to 6 pound range by wading in just a few feet of water.
Choose Your Gear Wisely
With waders, anglers can only bring a limited amount of gear with them, so they usually will fish with one rod and bring a small tackle box. In-line spinners, lipless crankbaits, a jig and grub, spinner rigs, jigs, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits work great in shallow water.