Every year with the winding down of Steelhead season, as we say our goodbyes, hello's to another fanciful gamefish are heard. It is no secret that many a warmwater fisherman would rather pursue Smallmouth Bass than anything else. They are feisty little fish, or are they. With the warming weather, the trees start to leaf out and the forest floor blankets itself with wildflowers and morels...the signs of spring are here and the snow has gone at least for a little while.
The trees show signs of spring as the green
explodes across the forest canopy.
All of our tributaries on the Alley have resident populations of Smallmouth Bass, but these aren't what really tickle my fancy. Instead it is the lake dwelling cousins that come in river to visit family that peaks my interest. These fish start moving in starting in late April, and by mid-May are often in prespawn mode. A few days ago, SAO guide Ben Barger and myself decided to get out for a day for ourselves. The fishing has been very good when you can get on the stream, but the rains have made it tough! Nevertheless, when we went out, we hit it right and capitalized.
SAO guide Ben Barger holds a very
nice pre-spawn Smallmouth.
Ben's fish hammered one of Senyo's Egg Raider Minnow.
All of our fish came swinging big sculpins on lighter weight rods in the dropping and clearing flows. Man was it fun to watch the light rods double over under the weight of these brutes.
SAO Guide Patrick Robinson poses
with another healthy Bronzeback.
Senyo's Shaghead Sculpin brought this fish to hand.
Time and again, the rods bent and we were glad to watch it happen. Below, it was Ben's turn once again and I was there to grab a couple of shots of the moment.
Ben fights a nice lake run Smallmouth.
Bringing the fish to hand...
And the lip n' grin! Always fun, even after many years!
Now, of course I didn't want to miss out on too much of the fun, so I got to swinging the waters as well and time and again, we came up with beautiful pre-spawn females full of fight and many jumps to boot!
Another hook up on a great day of Smallmouth fishing.
What a pig!
Yes, she had that big of a belly! It didn't matter how I held
her, the belly still spilled out of my hand.
All in all it was a great day! We had a blast and I think the photos show it. When I get a chance to put together some short film (no frills) I will post it. We did shoot a couple minutes that is good for bringing a bit more life to the action...so stay tuned.
Until then, get out...the gettin' is good!
Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Steelhead Alley Outfitters