Some creeks and streams offer some very good smallmouth bass fishing. When fishing streams, anglers can typically wade through most areas and not even be waist deep. Streams will have some deeper areas, but most of the water is shallow. You might think that big bass can’t survive in streams since the water is so shallow, but smallmouth bass don’t need extremely deep water to survive in a stream. The current typically keeps the water temperatures from getting too hot in the summer and the ice is usually kept to a minimum. The best streams have a good combination of shallow water combined with deep holes that are suitable for bigger fish.
When fishing streams, you will usually be wading or fishing from a canoe or kayak. Don’t expect to find bass as big as you would in lakes, reservoirs and rivers, but on some of the better streams, 2 to 3 pound smallmouth bass are common and fish up to and above 4 pounds are possible. On most streams though, you will see a lot of fish in the 10 to 16 inch range.
Best Tips for Catching Smallmouth Bass in Streams
Fish the Pools Next to Current
For many of the streams, you’re going to have some current with some pools next to the current. These are great spots to target smallmouth bass. You may have to hit a dozen or more of these spots to have a good day on the water, but these are great places to fish. Some will hold more fish that you would think while others may be one or two fish and done spots.
Don’t Rule Out Shallow Water
You may not always get a big fish bite from the shallower water, but you can catch smallies in just a couple feet of water. A small pool next to some current or in the shade can hold fish even if it’s only a couple feet deep.
The Bigger Slack Pools with Deeper Water Will Hold Fish
Some of these slack areas can be very good if they hold some deeper water. The areas with current could have fish in just a foot or two of water if the pool is right next to some good current. For these larger slack areas, you usually need a little more depth. 3 to 4 feet is usually plenty.
Find the Shade
There are many spots throughout these streams where there is shade near another fish attracting area. Find these spots and you’ll catch some smallmouth bass.