Smallmouth Bass Fishing
Smallmouth Bass are very common in Ontario and have now started spreading into the arctic watershed, where they are considered an invasive species. The population of Smallmouth Bass in Wabigoon Lake is natural and very welcome.
Most fisherpersons know Smallmouth Bass are the hardest fighting fish pound-for-pound and that they taste great. They are also well known for jumping in the air. If they are so common in Ontario, why fish for them on Wabigoon Lake? The fact is that big water and the right habitat produces big fish. In Wabigoon Lake, some of the biggest Smallmouth Bass in Ontario have been caught and released. Wabigoon Lake has over 50,000 acres of prime Smallmouth habitat. Its shores are lined with rocky points and good spawning streams. The interior of the lake is dotted with hundreds of rocky islands and shoals. All these rocks produce an abundance of their favorite food, which is crayfish. There are also massive schools of minnows in the lake and good weed cover around the rocks. All this food produces great sizes as well as great numbers.
Smallmouth Bass are very common in all sizes up to 4-pounds. It's not uncommon for people to catch 50 bass or more in a day. People who fish specifically for bass throughout the week should catch a few 5-pounders and maybe even a 6-pound bass. On rare occasions, monster trophy Smallmouth Bass in the 7 to 8-pound range get caught but they are rare, which is why they are considered trophies.
Smallmouth Bass are very easy to catch and it's the very best way to introduce your children or non-fishing friends to fishing. They do not have sharp teeth so it's a safe fish for your kids to catch.
Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tips
On still days when the water surface is like glass, the Smallmouth Bass are feeding but they tend to explore their area and get spread out. Sometimes baitfish will feel too vulnerable and head deeper into darker water and the Smallmouth Bass will follow them. If you are not hitting fish at rocky points or over rocky shoals, try covering some area and troll along the shore about 15 yards out and cast towards shore with small black Mepps Furies or Blue Rapalas or Thundersticks. If the bass have gone deeper, try sinking blue, black or worm-colored tub jigs off in the deeper water that is just off the shoal or rocky point.
When it's windy and sunny, that is the very best time for Smallmouth Bass. Normal behavior is to patrol around and on top of the shoals. When it's windy, the Smallmouth Bass will move to the backside of the shoal on the opposite side of where the waves are hitting the rocks. This is also true for points. The bass will move to the backside of the point. They may come up shallow or site back in 5 to 10 feet of water. You can cast with lures because they will keep their eye on the shallow water and come up and hit lures just under the surface. You can also try some lures that go deeper. The very best way to get the big Smallmouth is to get a good size bass hook and put on a big worm with no weight and cast out and let the worm slowly sink. What you can do is un-clip your bail and let the bass take the worm and run with it for 10 second before setting the hook. You can also use the same technique with a live minnow, if you are on a lake that allows live bait. Some of the biggest bass are taken this way.
When it's windy, Smallmouth Bass will also head towards a rocky shoreline. Depending on how big the waves are, the bass will sit off in 5 to 10 feet of water but stay close to were the waves are pounding the shoreline. Big waves bring in surface water, which attracts minnows. They also cause an oscillation in the water that the bass do not like. They site in quiet water but close enough to the turbulence to see unsuspecting prey.
Rain and low pressure
Generally the Smallmouth Bass will go deep and stop feeding when it's raining or if a low-pressure system moves into the area. They don't always stop feeding. In this case, try heavy tub jigs and fish a lot deeper. On small inland lakes, the bass will go 15 to 20 feet deep. On big lakes, people have found incredible success fishing 30 to 40 feet deep using jigs.
Sunny and Hot
In some lakes, the bass will hide in thick weeds. This is a good time to try weedless rubber baits like a Texas Rig or a Carolina Rig. These rigs are usually used for Largemouth Bass but can be effective for thick-cover Smallmouth Bass.
Small bass in the 1/2 to 3-pound range will school and stay in hunting packs. Generally the really big Smallmouth Bass that are 4-pounds and bigger will travel in mating pairs. They will also have a territory and try to keep the smaller bass out. If you find a spot that looks really good for bass and you are not catching any, most likely there is a pair or really big bass in the area. They are big because they are smart. Be very quiet and try casting with lures of jigs. If you don't get anything, leave the area for an hour and then come back quietly and try using some slow baits that will not spook them. A big worm on a hook with no weight is the very best.