Smallmouth bass are found in many different bodies of water such as lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams and even in some ponds.  These fish prefer rocks, but you can find smallmouth bass around wood, weeds, docks and other types of cover too.  Smallmouth bass can easily be found in water as shallow as a few feet deep, but they are often found in deeper water that is greater than 20 feet.  In the middle of the summer and late fall, it’s not uncommon to find smallmouth bass in 30 to 50 feet of water and even deeper on some lakes.  The key with smallies most of the time though is to find the rocks.  These fish love the rocks and can usually be found around and close to the rocky areas.

Fishing Rigs

There are so many good fishing rigs for catching smallmouth bass.  Go to our smallmouth bass rigs section to learn more.

Live Baits

Smallmouth bass will eat a variety of baits, however, the most popular live baits that anglers use are nightcrawlers, minnows and leeches.  Go to our live bait section to learn more.


There are so many different lures for catching smallmouth bass.  Take a look at our smallmouth bass lures section to learn more about them.

Rod & Reel Recommendations

The water clarity will dictate what type of rod and reel you should use when fishing for smallmouth bass.  Whether you use live bait or not will also dictate whether you have your spinning gear or your baitcasting gear.  In clear water, you’re going to be using lighter line, so you will need a lighter rod and reel to match.  In murky water, you can upsize your gear and go with similar rods and reels that you may use while fishing for largemouth bass.

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Fishing Line Recommendations

If you read above, you already know that anglers usually go with lighter line in clear water and heavier line in murky water.  Smallmouth bass anglers usually use between 6 and 12 pound line depending on the situation.

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Eating Smallmouth Bass (Please Practice Selective Harvest)

Smallmouth bass are seen more as a sport fish, so most anglers do practice catch and release with smallmouths just like they do with largemouth bass.   It is essential to release the larger bass to make sure there are plenty of big bass to catch in the future and also because these bigger fish do a lot more for reproducing than the smaller fish.  Some anglers do eat smallmouth bass and these fish are considered very good eating.

On some of the lakes and rivers, smallmouth bass are very abundant and many people do eat these fish on their trips.  If you choose to eat smallmouth bass, please practice selective harvest and let the big fish go.

Most people that do eat smallmouth bass will usually fry them, but some people do bake and grill them as well.