Smallmouth bass love current. They are either in current or close by and as the winter chill gradually departs in early spring, bronzebacks will begin their move from their wintering holes and into spawning areas.
It is very important to understand river eddys and how smallmouth bass relate to these areas. An eddy is an area just below an obstruction in a river where the water flows and swirls in a direction opposite the current.
The moving fluid creates a space devoid of downstream-flowing fluid on the downstream side of the object. Fluid behind the obstacle flows into the void creating a swirl of fluid on each edge of the obstacle, followed by a short reverse flow of fluid behind the obstacle flowing upstream, toward the back of the obstacle. This phenomenon is most visible behind large emergent rocks in swift-flowing rivers. Source
Spring Smallmouth River Fishing Tips
Jeff Little provides some great information on approaching eddys in spring here:
Some tips on approaching an eddy on foot with a fly rod:
My favorite way to fish back eddies, and I can’t seem to pass one up, is to approach them from the main stream side rather than the bank side and cast a streamer right into the closest part of the dead water and slowly swim it out into the current. The strike usually comes right at the slow water-fast water junction. Source
Eddys are easily detected and can be a prime target to find smallmouth bass. I hope this spring smallmouth river fishing tip is helpful to you in your hunt for bronzebacks this spring.
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