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Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? #15960539 04/01/21
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Ky221 Offline OP
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Does anyone here fly fish for smallmouth? Particularly smallmouth on smaller creeks and streams?


I am primarily a muskie fisherman with conventional tackle, but once our summers get hot and the water warms; I like wading out small streams for smallmouth, but I've really gotten bored with spinning tackle and would like to maybe take up the fly rod. Problem is I've never even picked up a fly rod and the more I read the more lost I get....

Rod choice, line choice, tippets, leaders, 7wt line on a 6wt rod, or vise versa, why not the weight of the line that matches the weight of the rod? These are just a few things I really don't understand. .....I know there's probably not a good once size fits all answer to picking a good setup but a few suggestions from those of you in the know would really help.


Our rivers are on the small side, not over 6-8ft of places, a lot of shallow riffles leading up to pools that are usually on the 3-4ft range. Rock bottom etc You get the picture


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Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Ky221] #15961980 04/01/21
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Originally Posted by Ky221
Rod choice, line choice, tippets, leaders, 7wt line on a 6wt rod, or vise versa, why not the weight of the line that matches the weight of the rod? These are just a few things I really don't understand. .....I know there's probably not a good once size fits all answer to picking a good setup but a few suggestions from those of you in the know would really help.

Our rivers are on the small side, not over 6-8ft of places, a lot of shallow riffles leading up to pools that are usually on the 3-4ft range. Rock bottom etc You get the picture


The weight of the line and the rod are designed to be matched to work most effectively together but going up, or down, one size is often done especially when you start dealing with abrupt weight forward lines that load the rod differently when you're casting.

The actual one you want will be driven by the size of the flies you're going to cast since the line has to carry that weight and "turn over" the leader to present the fly forward of the line. The wind can also affect that but fishing the small shielded streams you are in KY no big deal.

I would look for a 8 or 8 1/2' foot 6 weight rod and 6 weight Wulff taper floating line . It will give you good ability to cast without extensive false casting to get line out and good punch for short casts. Most of your fish are going to be within 20'.

Buy some 4X 7 foot leaders and some 3X and 4X tippet material. Fly-wise some black and/or brown Wooly Buggers, mostly weighted, as well as some big deer hair flies will set you up just fine. At least up here in the Mid-Atlantic it's a cicada year so the fish will figure out soon that the big splash over them is a big blob of protein. Going to be a fun year for the smallmouth!



You will never get to the end of the journey if you stop to shy a stone at every dog that barks. Winston Churchill
Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Ky221] #15963340 04/01/21
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I have fished many years for smallies on fly and one of my favorite freshwater targets.

9 foot 6 wt. for the rivers you described as mentioned the wulf triangle tapers work great for casting poppers and using nymphs. Smaller rivers go 4x 6 to 9 ft leaders. I like fluoro

I really like weighted clouser crayfish patterns, crystal buggers, size 8 poppers with a lot of rubber legs

Give Harry a call at his fly shop and ask what flies. Ive fished with him a bunch when I lived in VA

https://www.murraysflyshop.com/collections/bass-flies


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Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Ky221] #15964344 04/02/21
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I'll go up line weights if there's a need to have the rod load in a confined space or one needs to fight heavy winds.

Done well on bass with about any streamer, black woolies, muddlers, or crayfish look alikes.


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Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Ky221] #15965406 04/02/21
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Don't be overwhelmed at all. After 40+ years of fly fishing, I've helped multiple novices to learn. Do not be intimidated. We flyfisherman are an odd group as many of our group, for one reason or another, think we are special. Give me a break. A great resource for you, along with some excellent casting basics is Orvis' instructional site. Here is a link: https://howtoflyfish.orvis.com/ Oh, and they have excellent portions on bass fishing. Go to Orvis' videos on Youtube. Tom Rosenbauer is simply exceptional in his presentation and instructional abilities. In my opinion, he is unique and unequaled. Beyond that instructional site of basics, youtube is an excellent source, as you may already know. Just try to sort out the "me an pa reckon if'n we kin do it, so can you" types. Some of them may know what they're doing; but, you end up digging through huge piles of horse turds in search of a horse.


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Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Ky221] #15973137 04/07/21
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erich Offline
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I grew up fly fishing for smallmouth on the Milwaukee River. Old white Shakespeare Fiberglass 8' rod and a level varnished line. Used nothing but poppers, bigger ones for bass and northerns and small ones for river chubs to use for bait soaking for large northerns. I had a blast as a kid grab my bike and rod and head for the river and spend the day wading it, drug a minnow bucket along on a rope when fishing for bait. Really alot of fun was putting on a doughball and drifting it through a deep hole and hooking a large carp , more fun than a steelhead. I got spooled more than once there wasn't any room for backing on the spring loaded automatic fly reel..


After the first shot the rest are just noise.

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Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Ky221] #15975129 04/08/21
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Seems like the old "Muddler Minnow" would be a great pattern for Smallies.


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Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Ky221] #15981357 04/10/21
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erich Offline
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My EX-FnL used to fish the St. Croix for smallies and his go to was a fly he called a "Wilder Dill" a yellow and black round-nosed popper/diving popper.

link
https://finandflame.com/heddon-wilder-dilg-spook-fly-lure/

Last edited by erich; 04/10/21.

After the first shot the rest are just noise.

Make mine a Minaska

Heaven has walls and rules, H-ll has open borders
Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: TheBigSky] #15982886 04/11/21
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Originally Posted by TheBigSky
Don't be overwhelmed at all. After 40+ years of fly fishing, I've helped multiple novices to learn. Do not be intimidated. We flyfisherman are an odd group as many of our group, for one reason or another, think we are special. Give me a break.


Yep. It's jus another way to fish. I chuckle when I encounter the elitist when out fishing but if they're having a good time then good for them but don't make fly fishing something that is mysterious or special. I taught myself to cast nearly 50 years ago on a sod farm irrigation pond and like golf and many other pursuits, it's an "ever learning" thing.


You will never get to the end of the journey if you stop to shy a stone at every dog that barks. Winston Churchill
Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Ky221] #15989061 04/13/21
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eaglemountainman Online Content
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Trout might get all the press, but I'd rather do battle with Smallies on a fly rod than just about anything.


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My heart's in the mountains, chasing the deer.
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Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: eaglemountainman] #15996177 04/15/21
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Originally Posted by eaglemountainman
Trout might get all the press, but I'd rather do battle with Smallies on a fly rod than just about anything.


Add to that carp, northern pike, pan fish, etc., the list goes on. People have been conditioned, based strictly on origins and image, to think of fly-fishing as a "trout thing" (steelhead/salmon) or a "saltwater flats thing". We have learned that it can be and is affective and fun with so many other species.


_________________________________________________________________________
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Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: TheBigSky] #16002102 04/17/21
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Originally Posted by TheBigSky
Originally Posted by eaglemountainman
Trout might get all the press, but I'd rather do battle with Smallies on a fly rod than just about anything.


Add to that carp, northern pike, pan fish, etc., the list goes on. People have been conditioned, based strictly on origins and image, to think of fly-fishing as a "trout thing" (steelhead/salmon) or a "saltwater flats thing". We have learned that it can be and is affective and fun with so many other species.

Some of my best days in Pa. included a flyrod, my dad and various species. He was always good for a half hour battle with a carp on a fly rod.
A 8-9ft 4-7 weight rod and a decent selection of big muddler minnows , deer hair flys and something that resembles a crayfish will get you started. depending on size of streams and fish, a four weight will get you by and an 8' 4 wt rod is the easiest to get familiar with. Bigger flys and, longer casts will require more rod. Enjoy and you may get addicted.

Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Ky221] #16058890 05/05/21
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Once the water warms up smallmouth is only game for fly fishing around here throw mouse pattern in morning for some great topwater fun and hard hits. Sometimes they come up so fast they miss but will come back around really gets you pumped in clear water

Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Nepahunter] #16060151 05/06/21
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Originally Posted by Nepahunter
Once the water warms up smallmouth is only game for fly fishing around here throw mouse pattern in morning for some great topwater fun and hard hits. Sometimes they come up so fast they miss but will come back around really gets you pumped in clear water


This summer here in the cicadi regions are going to be great for tossing big-ass flies for both smallies and trout. "splat" big chunk of protein just landed overhead guys grin


You will never get to the end of the journey if you stop to shy a stone at every dog that barks. Winston Churchill
Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Ky221] #16070627 05/09/21
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8’ 6WT is pretty much the 30-06 of fly rods. A fella can complicate the hell out of it like anything else.

Try the 12 year old mindset: “Hmm, I like this one”

Then go fishing.

Re: Fly fishing for smallmouth bass? [Re: Ky221] #16072138 05/10/21
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I just used my 9 ft 5 wt rod with weight forward that I used on the Madison.

Took it along for popper action with smallmouths on Lake Powell. Actually it was way up the San Juan one of the tributaries of Powell. It was a high water year. Wife and I went way up the San Juan to what was a second lake. Rocks and brush were underwater. Had best smallie popper action of my life! Caught well over 100 without trying too hard. Giant bluegills too. Never had it that good before or since.

Hope your smallmouth fishing is successful!


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