Cornhusker Smallmouths: Nebraska Smallmouth Fishing

It seems everywhere you look, smallmouth bass fishing is being discovered and loved in state after state and location after location.  The world is catching on the the glory and excitement of smallmouth bass fishing.

Who can blame them, smallouth bass are great fun!

Nebraska Smallmouth Fishing

Here’s a recent recount of the smallmouth fishing in western Nebraska from the North Platte Telegraph.

I would never have guessed that you could find smallmouth bass fishing like you have here in western Nebraska,” Stouffer told me the last time he was here. “You have a real fishing gem.”

On this particular trip, Stouffer and I went about five miles downstream on the canal from its starting point on the Platte River east of town. There is a bend in the canal that has a lot of rip-rap – perfect smallmouth habitat.

It was a cloudy and cool morning. The subdued light made it almost a perfect morning. I selected yellow/chartreuse and black jigs to use. I rigged them about 24-inches below a small pencil bobber.

“Take this and swing it out so the bobber is drifting in the current about three feet away from the rocks on the shoreline,” I told Stouffer. He took the 16 1/2 foot jigging pole and walked about 50 yards upstream from where we’d parked. Before I could even get myself rigged up, Stouffer had a fish on.

Stouffer’s line cut a fast arc across the canal. I could see the flash of the fish beneath the surface. It was a smallmouth. A couple of minutes later, Stouffer lifted a 10-inch fish from the water. He was quick to remove the hook and get the fish back into the water. His face held a big grin!

Stouffer had caught several more smallmouths while I was landing my fish. I left my lure drift another 25 feet and the bobber disappeared again. Another hungry smallmouth had darted from cover and grabbed the jig.

Platte River caddisfly

“I want to try my fly rod,” Stouffer said as he walked past me toward the vehicle. I was busy working another smallmouth to the shoreline.

Stouffer picked a spot where there was a slight eddy current and cast a chartreuse clouser minnow pattern. On his second cast, Stouffer hooked up with another 15-inch smallmouth. The fight was on. I enjoyed watching and seeing the pole bend. Stouffer eventually landed the fish and I took a picture. The fish was back in the water in a matter of seconds.

Our morning of fishing continued like this. Someone always seemed to have a fish on. In all, we caught maybe 30 smallmouths. All were released to fight another day.

As we drove back to town, Stouffer and I talked about the fishery we have here. “You know, in all my experience of fishing,” Stouffer began, “I think this is the best morning of smallmouth fishing I have ever had – anywhere.”

I thought it was quite a compliment from someone who has the opportunity to fish all over North America. We may not have the biggest smallmouth to catch, but they are good fish and you can’t beat the sheer number of fish you catch in a couple of hours. Maybe we do have some level of world-class fishery here. Give it a try.

As more people discover the great time they can have landing bronzebacks where they live, we need to make sure we are careful in our catch and release techniques.  Catching 30 bass, if kept or not handled properly can have a major impact on the future of smallmouth bass fishing.  We want to preserve Nebraska smallmouth fishing for years to come.

Tight lines and enjoy those cornhusker smallmouths.

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