John Rankin

Top 5 Rivers for Smallmouth Bass Action

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Fishermen are creatures of habit. When we find a river, lake, or impoundment that produces smallmouth bass in abundance we tend to stick with this body of water for the majority of our fishing time. Doing so is fine if you are happy fishing just one or two locations. For those of us who like to explore new smallmouth fishing locations, there are literally hundreds of great smallmouth bass places to visit. Today we are going to look at the top 5 rivers for smallmouth bass fishing for you adventurous smallie hunters.

Is it possible to narrow this topic down to five and have everyone agree? Hell no but we’re gonna try anyway!

The New River

Robert Seay New RiverTraveling through the beautiful state of West Virginia and two other states, the New River combines fantastic smallmouth bass fishing, with the excitement of white water rapids for those hardy souls who seek out the best of both worlds. Many of the top bronzeback fishing fanatics rate this river as the best in America for catching dozens of smallmouths during a typical one day float.

Full of large boulders and steep shale banks the habitat is perfect for growing trophy size smallmouth bass. With the rapids interspersed between long stretches of slow moving pools of clear water your choices for finding fish abound. Those who might feel intimidated with covering whitewater rapids to reach these pools of water can hire knowledgeable guide capable of putting you on the fish.

Susquehanna River


Next on our top 5 rivers for smallmouth bass is the Susquehanna River located a few hours’ drive north of the New River. Flowing through Pennsylvania and the western portion of New York, this is a river made for family fishing. Gentle slopes and sandy beaches along the western portion allow for fishing from shore, while boats can easily launch and fish the waters from Sunbury to Harrisburg. Great underwater structure abound holding large numbers of smallies.

Snake River

The Snake River is a must fish destination for those in the states of Wyoming, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. Long known for the fabulous fishing, this river is also capable of providing non-stop bronzeback action.

St. Lawrence River

Chris Dumas St. LawrenceFlowing along the Canadian and American border we have the St. Lawrence River. Another true smallmouth bass haven this river has it all if you are seeking beautiful scenery combined with world class smallie fishing. Well worth a visit.

Columbia River

Last we have the Columbia River in the great state of Washington. It is only natural for this river to produce plenty of smallie action because the Snake River empties into the Columbia.

My idea of a memorable year of fishing would be to visit each of these top 5 rivers for smallmouth bass. I better put this one in my bucket list! You should too.

3 Responses to Top 5 Rivers for Smallmouth Bass Action

  1. Rick Kozlowski March 19, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    The Fox River in Northern Illinois has turned into a world class Smallmouth Fisherie. Best part is that the majority of it is only accessible by wading or from shore. Keeps the pressure down on large stretches of the river. I caught and released 10 Smallies over 20″ last year and lost count of how many in the 16-20″ range.

  2. Dr. Roger Gilliam March 26, 2014 at 11:17 am

    White River in east central Indiana

  3. Dave Lovett March 14, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I have to agree with Doc Gilliam. I’ve lived on the White River over 30 years. Total numbers of fish have dropped, but there are still plenty of large 18 to 20+” fish.


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