My most productive minnow imitation is the Murray’s Magnum Hog Sucker Streamer size 4. For many years the bait fishermen have relied on the natural hog suckers to catch their largest bass. I fish these along the edge of the gravel bars where they drop into the deep part of the river at dusk. I catch many bass this way!
My most effective surface bug is the Shenandoah Blue Popper size 4. I rely strongly on this fly because it out-fishes other surface bugs by a great margin. I just do not like to change a winning game!
I am very confident that these five smallmouth bass flies will give me excellent fly fishing in 2017 from July until October. This is because last year they gave me the best bass fishing I have had in many years.
During summer, as the sun intensifies I catch most of my bass in the middle of the day along the heavily shaded banks. This is where the water is three to five feet deep over cobblestone streambottoms. However, my very best fishing is at dawn and dusk in the tails of the pools. My standard leader for smallmouth bass fishing is the Murray’s Bright Butt 9 foot 2X Leader.
In reviewing my stream notes from last year, here are the five best early season smallmouth bass flies which were the most productive from March through June. Based on this success I plan to rely strongly on these for my early season smallmouth bass fishing this year.
Late in the day when the sun gets below the horizon many large smallmouth bass move down onto the tails of the pools to feed on the abundance of natural minnows that live here. Apparently, they are simply more comfortable in the low light level.
You can approach these pool tails from the riffles below them or from the side of the river… Just be sure to wade carefully and slowly so you don’t send out telltale waves that will spook the fish. I can assure you that large bass feeding in water which is two feet deep are very wary. Also be willing to punch out long casts to help from scaring them.
Productive flies in the pool tails at dusk are Shenk’s White Streamer 6, Murray’s Floating Chub 6, Murray’s Floating Dace 6 and Murray’s Dying Chub 6.
If you are fly fishing a section of a river which you fish often, mentally mark the specific areas where you are successful because on future trips these same spots will probably hold big bass.
NEW for 2011
Murray’s Floating Dace Minnow (sizes 4 & 6) $3.95
For 8 years my son Jeff and I have been testing various methods of tying and fishing our new Floating Dace Minnow. This is a real bass-catcher and it is very durable. Fish these in the back eddies, below the riffles and along the shaded banks. A slow strip-slide-strip action where you move the Floating Dace 6 inches every 10 seconds is very effective.
NEW for 2011 Murray’s Floating Chub Minnow (sizes 4 & 6) $3.95
I’ve been using numerous versions of this fly for the last 8 years and I am now very pleased with this pattern. It is very durable and it is one of the most productive smallmouth flies I have ever used. Last August I caught over a dozen large bass one evening in the tail of one pool at dusk on this Floating Chub Minnow. I like to fish this upstream and retrieve it just slightly faster than the current.