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how to fish smallmouth


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my family and i are going to rainy for the week starting the july 19th, was wondering where and how to fish the smallmouth this time of year? went last year in early august and had little luck. any help needed, thanks.

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Hi archeral566, I will throw in my two cents worth I guess. I have found that the smallies can be caught with two different types of baits fairly consistently these are crankbaits and soft plastics. As for the cranks first figure on covering several different depth ranges as they can be extremely shallow at times say 1 to 4 feet or deeper 8 to 12 feet or so. Smallies key on either crayfish or minnows and can prefer one over the other for no apparent reason. I always have a couple #11 floating rapalas either silver or gold for shallow rocks they can be used swimming or as a top water twitched. cast these right to shore in boulder strewn areas as the smallies will hug tight to the boulders and ridges to get out of the sun. be precise and sight fish these objects. Also try some of the crayfish style cranks which run shallow. For deeper fish the Xrap slash baits in silver work well for me. Shad raps in the brown shades are also good. as for plastics the tube jigs in the brown colors work very well especially on the deeper rock piles. Twister tails especially the double tails imitate a crayfish and are easy to use just cast and swim it back over the rocks. One last thing I would not be without is a couple rapala skitter pop surface lures. again I prefer the brown colors. Surface fishing smallies is one of the most exciting things you can do. lastly always be looking for the rock formations they hold crayfish and this is where the smallies will be. As you troll around islands there will usually be a point off one end with strewn rocks I start deep and move shallow on these. One of the key things to look for is weed growth next to rocky areas this transition will hold lots of smallies in the weeds next to the rocks. Usually the fish will be shallow or deep but not both, start shallow if there is no action move to deeper water in the same areas as the smallies do not roam very far. good luck if you have specific questions let me know. have been fishin smallies on rainy for 35 years love those fish!!!

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I have a question since I will be up there around this time also.

Are there many in Saginaw bay? I think that's where we'll mostly be and I've heard the walleyes are in there but are the smallies too?

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We did not catch a single Smallie in Saginaw Bay while there. However I was primarily targeting walleyes in the shallow rocks. I did find it odd that I did not pick up smalthmouth while walleye fishing since we were in what should be prime smallie habitat. I suspect the bass may have been in spawning mode or just done with the spawn. Again I did not not work hard to find them. I would not worry though they are there and should be very active when you are there.

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Well I sure do hope they bite when we're there!

I hope the eyes are biting too of course, I'm hearing there still in on the shorelines and not on the reefs yet. Any truth to that?

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I caught some on the shorelines but there are plenty on the reefs to. There is a reef complex straight out from the mouth of Saginaw, not sure if it has a name as I have not seen one on a map or my GPS chip. The walleyes were there in good numbers as well as plenty of eater sized fish. Just slowly move around the reef watching your electronics untill you mark fish as they move a bit. Once on some fish sit on them very tightly. Any reef areas or rocky points around islands and points can hold fish just use your electronics to find them as they tend to concentrate in small areas on the reefs. I never fish untill I see them saves alot of time. You will see other boats on the productive spots also, just be respectfull and do not crowd them.

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thanks for all the great post watersguy i really apprciate it and hope the info you have gave us will help me catch some fish.

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Its amazing the various depths that i found smallies in last week. We caught a few out on the reefs walleye fishing in 28 ft on Rainy as well as 1 in the middle of kettle channel in probobly 15. The next day I caught half a dozen in Namakan in 4 ft on a flyrod while they were stuffing themselves with mayflies. I had'nt fished them with a flyrod in a while but that is a lot of fun when they're hitting on top. The mayflies should be about done now though and this time of year I find the smallies start moving a little deeper, maybe 8 to 15 ft. I have camped down near saginaw in kempton channel end of july and we always did a little smallie fishing. Saginaw has a lot of rock structure and I would try casting at the windblown shorelines and rock piles, and the windier the better. One way or another you should be able to pick some up down there just try a few different things.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Tripp_315
      How’s the the smallie bite? I’ll be up on Friday 😎 ~Tripp
    • FishinCT
      Culling is not against the law in Minnesota unless you have a limit. (Which obviously applies in this case.)   They finally cleared up the language about it in the regs this year. 
    • delcecchi
      Since culling is against the regs in Minnesota, weighing in early is a great thing to do.   Congrats.
    • Rivergroup
      We're heading up tomorrow. Hoping for walleye but looking to mostly relax. We'll have leeches and minnows and any tips would be great. Just looking for enough for a good fish fry. Thanks in advance.
    • Jetsky
      Caught a lot of small ones yesterday in 20 -30 ft.  A couple of eaters.  Minnows on Lindys clearly out fished the leeches on Lindys.
    • Hookmaster
      Kudos for doing this. I'm sure a lot of fishermen would not have.
    • MikeG3Boat
      I know it has been raining all week but anyone have any walleye reports?  Heading up for the holiday weekend and want to do some fishing.
    • MikeG3Boat
      Partyonpine, Would you be willing to share in what areas you were getting some nice Bluegills?  I am on the east end on big bay and would like to find some good panfish.
    • partyonpine
      Opener and the week after were good.  Not the numbers we normally get but better quality in the East End.  Not surprised on the weights for the Auto City a.  Usually for us we only catch a few slot fish but we averaged 3 a day for 10 days.  2 overs, biggest 27 inches.     Our best luck was 12-16 feet for quality.  When we went deeper we caught more but smaller.  Bass were really starting to heat up.  For me little earlier than normal.  Found some nice Bluegills the day we went after some panfish.  Dock fishing was as many as we wanted per usual.
    • Shulsebus
      We will be up on June 8th for the week. It will be our 13th year in a row staying on the lake.  I hope the walleye are hitting the bobbers by the time that we get there. 
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