Catching Smallmouth Bass In Streams And Creeks: Everything Smallmouth Fan Tips
“I’m seeing all kinds of advice about catching smallmouth in lakes and rivers. But, I float creeks of Kentucky in a kayak. Any advice from Everything Smallmouth Folks? I’m catching plenty of largemouth. But, I know there are smallmouth in my creeks. Others catch them. Please share some secrets.”
We recently posted this question on our Everything Smallmouth Facebook page and had so many great responses that I wanted to preserve that information in a blog post here for others to learn from and enjoy.
These are pearls of wisdom from the guys and gals out in the creeks and streams catching amazing bronzebacks.
Catching smallmouth bass in streams and creeks
Bryn Yunkers: itty bitty footballhead jig. rapid movements
Chris Murphy: Faster moving water, pools between riffles, even the riffles themselves in the rivers will hold more Smallies than largemouths, who are more adapted to slower moving water. Look for bubbles and foam
Austin Wright: Try football head jigs, works for me!
Joe Randolph: Fly fishing from a canoe is the way to go
Steve Hyatt: Use small jigs and fly’s, you can’t use the same thing you fish for LargeMouth! LOL
Mike Jones: i’ve spent extensive time wading the creeks of western kentucky for smallmouth bass with my uncle. rebel crawdad and a small walk the dog lure or popper and hold on. make sure you target the areas that have flow and structure. submerged wood, rootwads, rock piles, shelves, etc will all hold smallies as long as there is some water flow over the area. the more the better. (at normal water levels) smallies like oxygenated water, that’s where you’ll find them. and if you get a topwater strike or they are striking short, don’t slow down, speed up.
Raymond Malone: Try Jig fishing Mate… take a Tube (Gitzit is what they’re called) my favorite kinds are the Tan with Black spots put the Hook through weedless way
then drop it to the bottom of Structured areas,points,and drop-offs,raise the jig a few inches off the bottom and twitch gently and move slowly or twitch it as you drag it slowly I have found that this get’s my slammed by Smallmouth here
Jeff Neels: Tip your jig trailers in Chartreuse Dye
Cj Wilhelm: speed your action up a bit and get some green pumpkin zoom swamp crawlers and use a carolina rig and jig it, also if you can find them, chartreuse mister twister’s are deadly on river smallies.
Mickey Beaver: Rebel’s wee crawdad
To get all the jigs, tackle and gear you need to catch smallmouth bass in streams and creeks, be sure to check out our favorite tackle store:
Morgan Lea: Before I moved to Florida I fished a lot of rivers and creeks in middle Tennessee and found that 1/8 oz bitsy jigs work great and pink flukes on scroungers are deadly. Good luck.
Kyle Snyder: Panther marten or jig head & white mr. Twisters
Michæl Theoneandonly Chapman: Where rapids move to calm float a small jig down and play with it at the end light color.
Rick J Mchale Sr.: I like using tubes on SM and we catch a lot of them here in Maine !
Kevin Hernandez: I’d say throw a crawfish trap to try and figure out what color crawfish species are in your waters then match the hatch with either tubes or jigs
Eric Heiman: Live bait Crawfish work great, tube jigs,pearl white zoom flukes and other colors depending on water color, jerkbaits also depending on where and what color of water is !!!!
Gary Lubbes: i agree 100% with Mike Jones above. try zoom ultravibe speed craw or other craw imitation, texas rigged on 1/0 hook with a 1/8 or less weight (the faster the water, the heavier the weight), 4 or 6 lb test on an ultra lite spiining reel, hit all the areas Mike Jones suggested. highly oxygenated water is key, the warmer it gets the faster they like it. and they will slam buzzbaits over structure in or near fast water.
Dominick Massa: 1/8 mepps chart on chart. Smallmouth eat it! Gravel bars around holes.
Wesley Daniel Widrig: light line and and quicker retrieves. rebel crawdad always works great in a creek. also baby bass senkos. and if you want to catch everything in the creek use live night crawlers. hope this helps.
James FattJimmy Alba: Helgermites!!!
Bruce Wagers: Tubes and creek chubs work great.
Nick Tardy: I fish a smaller river which has some fast water, and I’ve caught smallies on size 9 black and gold original floating rapalas.
Brad Davis: Great advice from everyone and I agree 100%. I fish for smallies with gitzit tubes, small senkos, small crawfish looking crankbaits, buzzbaits early and late, soft and hard jerkbaits like zoom flukes or floating rapalas, then an assortment of crawfish imitating plastics..
Matthew Erny: Get a tfo mini mag 6,7,8 and fish hoppers and size 8 and 10 craws. You will find the ability to present a fly with a short stif rod on a creek is an amazing way to get a bite. Go with a 300 to 400 grain line. Lighter if it is a wide area heavier if it is tight with trees.
Bryan Claxton: Bitsy jigs with a tube pumpkin color works great in e.tennessee
Glen E Smith: Smallmouth are the males of the spieces, Huh???
Jason Pedrick: soft plastics near a dam. cast into the river and let the current wash the jig toward you while bouncing it along the bottom. Cha-ching
Seth Kirchhoff: 3″ sinkos rigged snagless and with bullet sinkers. Increase the weight/number of the sinkers for higher currents. Bounce ’em on the bottom in deep holes – less is more when it comes to movement/action. Drift them through/around/against cover and structure (root wads, etc). Focus on current and the edges of current. Smallies hunt the current.
James Landis: I like , in streams,, using a like 3 inch pumpkin colored crawl, bullet sinker, an hook it weedless,,
Rick Rupert: Rapalas, 3 inch floaters
Mike Armstrong: Downsize
Eric Jorgensen: Great lure suggestions. I would suggest seeking better smallmouth habitat out. LM suggest to me you my be fishing sunny warmer water laydowns (submerged wood). What you are looking for is oxygen rich clearer colder water. Look for rock and deeper water on a shaded wind blown bank. They will chase bait up into that other area if it is close to their desired habitat. Things like muddy water full of leafs indicate lack of oxygen. Move closer to the break line where the swifter clear water meets the slack water. That’s where they will be waiting to ambush a meal. Hope this helps. Tight lines and screaming drags
Joe Witte: Berkley gulp 3 inch smelt on an black 1/8 oz jig head(depending on the speed of water). They lose their shit.
Denny Bullock: I don`t know about Western KY but, in Central KY creeks AC Shiners are deadly…
Christopher Michael Hanley: I throw a white zoom tube bait on a Carolina rig in the deeper pockets. I usually target the bigger smallies
Tim Holt: It’s not the lures, even though smallies like smaller baits that largemouth, it’s the water you’re fishing…. Smallmouth and largemouth might live in the same body of water, but inhabit different areas…. smallmouth prefer current, while largemouth prefer slack areas. When people tell you to downsize, that may be correct, but when fishing jigs in current compared to slack water, you need heavier weight…. smaller profile baits with heavier heads….
Kim Ditzler: Bump the stump or knock the rocks once you hit tight to cover…………..let it sit for a few seconds then give it a twitch or two and let it fall………….Hang on!!!!!
Timm Vanderhill: Rebel Crawdad cranks…great on rivers…use on spinning tackle, makes even the small ones feel HUGE!!!
Chris Reed: Pearl white grub or swimbait on a jighead slow rolled.
Donnie Brown: Treat each hole like your sneaking up on a big buck, you need a rod you can cast a long distance, most anything will catch smallies, mepps over rostertails the hooks are stronger, rebel cranks are great, raps, ac.s. are good , myself I carry all theseand atorpedio and spook, I always start with a jig berkly 3in min. jig head 1/32 to an 1/8.fish them slow ,then fast, one thing that catches me a lot of fish and big ones is when you you deside to move to the next hole make a cast to the top of the hole you just come throu let your line out so it comes down throu the hole in the best way it can be letting your line out as you go down stream thenstop and fish it back.
Kim Ditzler: Also learn as much as you can and practice the Walk the Dog technique. You wont be sorry. Smallies love smashin’ a topwater. Again cast tightly and as accurately to cover as you can. Believe me when I say big smallies live under rocks and blowdowns. If it looks like it should hold a good fish, it probably does. The angle at which the lure is presented is the key to getting them to attack.
Kevin Watkins: We fish a flyrod with weighted streamers and crawfish imitations at the top or at the tailouts of riffle runs. During warmer weather, the Smallies will slam top water poppers too.
Rich Bitner: 3″ green pumpkin senkos. Wacky rig no wieght. you’ll hammer em.
Willie Miller:try a leach on a slip bobber I fish some awesome small mouth rivers in Michigan this is a very productive technique smallies are opprtunitist float the leach past rocks a other cover that supports an eddy free from the current .also try a crawler rigged texas style only a small spilt shot for weigth cast it at the bottom of current and let it wash down this is a feel technique and you will need a sensitive rod good luck!
Steve Willocks: In slack water try a wacky rig. They will eat it all year.
Mark Williams: Smallies love rock and current.
Fisherman’s Friend: Buy you some Gitzit Tubes in green crawfish salt and pepper’ Hang On! Source
As you can see, there are a tremendous number of smallie anglers over on our Facebook page who know their stuff. Be sure to check out the amazing pictures there.
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