Smallmouth Bass General Information

The small and mighty Smallmouth Bass, if you haven’t caught one of these powerhouses, we definitely suggest spending a couple weekends giving these angry fish a run. Many times when hooked in the right water and depth, they are acrobats and true fighters. A Smalley can tug pound for pound with any fish out there. Much like the largemouth, smallmouth are predatory fish. They are not quite as aggressive feeder as the largemouth. They typically spend much of their time chasing schools of shad. They typically school a little more than largemouth also. Catching the smallmouth is a tedious task, we use a little lighter equipment and generally medium and small lures and plastics.

Smallmouth Bass are generally the most active and more catch-able when the water temp is between 62 and 73. But don’t limit your fishing to when the water temp is just right. Most pro’s and experienced fisherman will tell you the largest fish they catch are during periods of extreme heat and when the water gets colder (below 55degrees). The largest reason for this is that you really have to slow your presentation down and fish in such a way for any success at all, the likelihood of catching a lunker greatly increases than if you are ripping a spinner bait in perfect water temp, clarity and weather. Most would agree that fishing for smallmouth greatly falls off after the water drops below 50, they are still catch-able, but requires mind numbing patience.

Smallmouth Bass Habitat

Early Spring

  • Creek arms with some flow.
  • Sheltered sand gravel coves.
  • Shallow rocky points with deep water relief.

Spring thru Spawning

  • Protected rocky shorelines.
  • Shallow rocky points on main lake.

Summer thru early Fall

  • Sandy/Rocky humps near river channel.
  • Timbered flats near river channels.
  • Rocky points.
  • Sandy/Weed humps in main lake.
  • Flats with any structure with immediate deep water access.
  • Steep cliff banks, with submerged chunk rock or rip rap.

Late Fall and Winter

  • Deep main lake points.
  • Rock edges that fall quickly to deep water.
  • Deep inside bends in river channel.
  • Deep rocky or gravel humps in main lake.


Smallmouth Bass Water Temperature

Smallmouth typically will start to move to spawning around 55deg - 57deg Spawn is in full swing when the water temperature start to reach the upper 50's (60deg is widely recognized as the key temp). After the spawn, smallmouth are generally the most active when the water temperature is between 66deg and 74deg. Above 78deg, the activety starts to decrease, but they are still catchable. In late fall when the water temp dips below 55 the activety falls off again, and below 50deg they feed very little.

Smallmouth Bass Technique

A great bait is a green black swiffle,also the top black  and orange bottom tadpole.

Top Smallmouth Bass Fishing Lakes
LakeLatitudeLongitudeCommunity Rating (Votes)
Wellsville Reservoir - UT41.627672-111.9311885 (85)
Hessian Lake - NY41.315293-73.9914844.7 (45)
Henry Hagg Lake - OR45.487102-123.2242194.4 (57)
Sebago Lake - ME43.845729-70.5503174.2 (50)
Damariscotta Lake - ME44.131172-69.4961154.8 (13)
Lake Isabella - MI43.641611-85.0098524.8 (13)
Big Hill Lake - KS37.299570-95.4552624.3 (26)
Wilson Lake - KS38.949769-98.6029814.5 (17)
Wheeler Lake - AL34.700254-87.1868134.6 (14)
Table Rock Lake - MO36.634695-93.4344074.1 (78)
Skaneateles Lake - NY42.853787-76.3506354.2 (39)
Norris Lake - TN36.367862-83.8048164.2 (34)
Lake Shaunee - OH39.650036-83.7797324.9 (9)
Hinckley Reservoir - NY43.330514-75.0629054.5 (15)
Needwood Lake - MD39.128757-77.1310694.5 (13)
Summit Lake - IN41.324482-85.3264184.6 (11)
Rifle Gap Reservoir - CO39.632918-107.7545214.9 (8)
Mirror Lake - ID48.164384-116.4990765 (7)
Camp Far West Reserv - CA39.047099-121.3003744.5 (11)
Coffey County Lake - KS38.243444-95.6953394.9 (7)
Smallmouth Bass Records
Bass Smallmouthtn11 lbs. 15 oz.Dale HollowD.L. Hayes
Bass Smallmouthky11 lbs. 15 oz.Dale Hollow LakeDavid L. Hayes
Bass Smallmouthal10 lbs. 8 oz.Wheeler Dam tailwateOwen F. Smith, Fairfield
Bass Smallmouthnc10 lbs. 2 oz.Hiwassee ReservoirArchie Lampkin
Bass Smallmouthwv9 lbs. 12 oz.24 in.South BranchDavid Lindsay
Bass Smallmouthoh9 lbs. 8 oz.23 in.Lake ErieRandy Van Dam, Kalamazoo
Bass Smallmouthsc9 lbs. 7 oz.Lake JocasseeTerry Dodson
Bass Smallmouthmi9 lbs. 4 oz.27 in.Long LakeW. F. Shoemaker
Bass Smallmouthid9 lbs. 2 oz.24 in.Dworshak ReservoirDan Steigers
Bass Smallmouthca9 lbs. 1 oz.Trinity LakeBrady