• Laurel Contributor

Summer Smallies

by Matt Canter

They don’t get as much attention as their trout neighbors, but Summer Smallies are an angler’s delight.

Here in the South, we are blessed to have a year-round trout fishery with relatively mild winters by trout standards.

Our struggle though, is the dog days of summer when water temperatures rise and trout become lethargic. The silver lining is our other prized gamefish, the Smallmouth Bass. The Smallmouth Bass gets less attention than our cold water trout do, but many experienced fly anglers will tell you that it’s their favorite species to pursue with a fly rod.

And, when the trout season slows down, the Smallie Season is just getting right!

We have Smallmouth that live in both lakes and rivers here in Western North Carolina. The ones that reside in the rivers are the favorite of the fly angler. These fish hang in shallow water shoals on our largest, warmest rivers. They will eagerly and aggressively take popping bugs off the surface and minnow patterns stripped down below.

As the saying goes, “Pound for pound, the Smallmouth Bass is one of the hardest fighting freshwater fish there is.” They are aggressive fish and once hooked, a Smallmouth might become airborne four or five times before its landed.

One of the most effective ways to pursue smallmouth with a fly is by hiring an experienced guide service to float you down one of the many beautiful warm-water rivers we have here around the Plateau. By floating, you will cover an enormous amount of water, and see all the beautiful scenery as you go. Your guide will control the boat for you while you fish in a raft with a fishing frame specifically designed with fly fishing in mind. He or she will position the boat into likely holding spots for you to cast a fly to, and your job as the angler is to get the fly there, and hang on!

Give us a call at Brookings to learn more about this wonderful summertime activity.

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