There are a number of great smallmouth bass fishing locations in the Western United States but Black River Arizona smallmouths may be some of the best.
The Black River is a 114-mile-long (183 km) river in the White Mountains of Arizona, USA, to the west of Alpine. Along with the Whiteriver, it forms the Salt River, a major tributary of the Gila River.
The Black River has multiple forks, including the east and north fork, that hold great trout fishing. There is also a stretch called the Lower Black River that holds some of the state’s best smallmouth fishing. Original article
We don’t read a lot about smallmouth fishing in the west but there was a great article in Game and Fish Magazine that discussed some great smallmouth fishing options in the Rocky Mountain Region.
Black River Arizona smallmouth
When it comes to smallies, don’t discount running water — or fly-fishing. When I say this I immediately think of Arizona’s Black River. Flowing out of the White Mountain region between Showlow and Globe, Ariz., it represents some of the best smallie water in the West. The upper Black creates the boundary between the White Mountain and San Carlos Apache Tribes, so fishing permits from one of these groups (depending on which side you approach from) are required, but the cost is reasonable.
The Black, like New Mexico’s Gila River, is wild, remote water where bass in the 2- to 3-pound range are extremely plentiful, and occasional 4- to 6-pound bass come to those who fish diligently. Anglers here successfully employ standard-issue spinners and ultra-light plugs and live bait such as hellgrammites gathered streamside by flipping rocks, but I’ve experienced my fastest action while fly-fishing.
Flies simply allow more natural presentations and, in the case of sighted fish — common in such clear, unspoiled waters — teasing reluctant fish into striking. I use a 6-weight rod with floating line and 9-foot, 8-pound leader (waters here are full of tree roots and rock, big bass requiring some muscle). You’ll need only two fly patterns in various shades. Crawfish patterns and Wooly Buggers in sizes 4 to 2 prove best, tossed to the whitewater at pool heads, allowed to tumble down into deeper holds before twitching them crosscurrent or crawling them along the bottom in calmer stretches. Fish all possible holding water, even the skinny stuff, but also pay special attention to undercuts beneath plunging cliff, and deep drop-offs where faster water sweeps overhead. In the latter, adding a few more split-shot allows flies to cheat current and reach more productive holds.
Again, don’t hesitate to apply what I’ve related here to waters closer to home. Hook a 5-pound bass in flowing water and you’re in for the ride of your life! Original article here
In addition to the Black river, some of the top smallmouth fishing locations in the Rockies include Dworshack Reservoir in Idaho, New Mexico’s Elephant Butte, Lake Powell and Navajo Lake. Standard smallmouth fishing techniques apply in these deep water lakes.
If you fish for Black River Arizona smallmouth bass, feel free to share your experiences below. If you have a favorite Rocky Mountain smallmouth fishing location not mentioned, tell us yours!