Go After Idaho Smallmouth Bass on the Snake River

A beauty caught by Rick Claffey
A beauty caught by Rick Claffey

You guys living in the states of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington have one of the premier smallmouth fisheries in America. I wish I lived in one of these states so I could go after Idaho smallmouth bass on the Snake River, a river loaded with many sport fish, especially trophy size bronzebacks. The Snake River wanders through all the states listed above eventually emptying into the Columbia River in the state of Washington.

Smallies on the Snake River

While many locals fishing this beautiful river tend to focus their fishing on salmon, steelheads, and trout you’re crazy if you’re not fishing for smallies. They are plentiful, and due to lack of fishing pressure on this species many trophy size smallmouths are just waiting for your bait to come their way. Those who visit the Snake River for great smallmouth fishing can go it alone, or for less than one grand you get three days with a professional guide who specializes in catching smallmouth bass. And we are not talking about a dozen or two fish each day. The Idaho smallmouth bass found on the stretch of this river flowing through Idaho is full of one to four pound smallmouths. It is not unusual to have a day where one hundred or more smallmouths are caught by one fisherman. Talk about an exciting day of fishing!

Finding Idaho Bronzebacks

The trick to catching this many fish in a single day is keep moving until you find good conditions that smallie prefer, depending on the time of year and water levels. Once you have one of these hotspots located the action will come quickly. Once you’ve found the pattern, look for the same conditions elsewhere. This is where a local guide comes in as a very valuable asset well worth the cost.

Depending on the weather smallmouth action can begin as early as February or as late as the end of March. Although smallies will still feed, the water temps have to be above 45 degrees for the smallies to come out of their winter lethargic state. As the water warms into the mid-fifties up to as high as seventy degrees the action goes into high gear. For those who fish the Snake River when water temps are in the mid-forties, a great way to find smallies willing to strike is look snake river feederfor one of the many smaller feeder creeks and streams flowing into the Snake. These small streams are going to be dumping warmer water into the main river. This means higher water temps for a mile to as much as five miles below the feeder streams and the smallies will be more active in these stretches.

Idaho smallmouth bass fishing on the Snake River is a trip all smallmouth fanatics should take. You will have the time of your life and catch so many fish your arms are going to be tired!

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