August 2012 – Newsletter
August is a month when trout fishing can become very difficult. If you’re not out at the crack of dawn chances are you’re going to get skunked unless you head up a small mountain stream for wild brook trout. Now is a good time to target Smallmouth bass. These fish are some of the most willing to bite fish around and are some of the best fighting fish around. There is nothing better than hooking up with a 3-pound Smallmouth bass on either a fly rod or spinning rod. These acrobatic fish are sure to put on an aerial show for you, flying out of the water many times trying to spit your hook.
Bass prefer gravel bottoms and water with lots of cover. They will stay around steep drop offs as well waiting for a school of bait fish to swim by. This time of the year they will also be seeking out cooler water so the fish are going to be in deeper water as well, sometimes over forty feet. This time of the year the most productive spots are going to be near steep shale drop offs and shelves. Other good spots include cold water streams, deep water structures such as submerged logs and trees and even underwater gravel bars and humps. One of our most productive spots on a local lake is on a gravel hump that is forty feet deep where the surrounding water is well of 60 feet deep.
For those of you targeting bass with a fly rod, this time of the year can be the most difficult but most productive. The most important thing to do is get in the same column of water as the bass are in. Lots of bass fly fishermen mainly stick to bass fishing on the surface with poppers and other dry flies. This is good for when you are in an area that has cooler water such as the upper part of a reservoir where the water will still be cooler from the inlet. However, this is only good in the early morning and late evening throughout the night. If you’re in a different area where the water is much warmer you will need to go sub-surface. You will need heady weighted flies such as bead head wooly buggers and other flies with weight wrapped up the shank of the hook. On top of this you need at the least a 5 foot sink tip leader. You would be better off with a full-sinking line though. This is the most important part of fly fishing for bass: if you’re not at the right depth for the bass forget it; you may catch some small ones but you won’t get many over 12 inches.
Next is fly selection. Smallmouth bass are not very picky about what types of flies you throw because they are very opportunistic feeders. The most productive flies are flies that imitate leeches and minnows. Bead head olive wooly buggers in size 4 or size 6 work very well, fished with a very slow steady retrieve. Montana Mouthwash Streamers are the most productive bass streamer in this area. It is similar to a wooly bugger but has rubber legs, barred marabou and red eyes. This is also great fished with a slow steady retrieve. Other flies that are good are Zonkers, Clousers and Crayfish.
For those looking to catch bass on spin tackle your best bet this time of the year it to fish soft plastics. Texas rigged Curly Tails and Yamamoto Senkos work very well if they are fished very slowly across a gravel bottom or along a steep shelf or any major difference in the bottom of the lake. Jigs work well too, both deer hair and curly tails bounced along the bottom can be stellar at times.
The most important thing about bass fishing this time of the year is putting your bait, lure or fly in front of the bass. They are very aggressive and will bite just about anything provided it is in the same water column as they are. A lot of the time this will go against many bass fishermen’s first instinct, which is to cast to shore. We always stay the normal distance from shore but instead of casting towards shore we cast away and fish it back into the shallower water until we find the depth that the fish are at.