Smallmouth like cool, clear streams with moderate current, as well as large, clear lakes. Preferred habit has a gravel or rubble substrate, boulders, some shade and cover, along with deep pools for stream environments.
The best characteristic to distinguish a smallmouth from a largemouth bass is the position of the MAXILLARY, or large flap at the posterior end of the upper jaw. Close the fish's mouth, the maxillary will reach, but not obviously extend beyond the eye. Hence the name smallmouth, where in largemouth bass the maxillary always extends past the back edge of the eye. Smallmouth bass are typically brown, bronze, or tan in general color with dark vertical bars as opposed to the dark lateral band found on largemouth bass, which are usually green or gray in color.
Spawning occurs from April through June, when water temps. range from 58 to 70 F. Since smallmouth bass are in the Sunfish family, they are nest builders. The males build saucer shaped nests that are about twice their body length in diameter. The nests may be found on sand, gravel, or rubble with usually a boulder, overhead limb, log, stump, or bank nearby. After the adhesive eggs are externally fertilized and laid in the nest, the male assumes guard duty. He fans the eggs to prevent silt deposition, remove metabolic waste, and insure good dissolved oxygen levels. The male protects both eggs and newly hatched fry, which are very dark in color, from numerous predators in the aquatic environment.
Good water quality is essential during and for at least 30 days following spawning to obtain adequate recruitment of a strong year class of smallmouth bass. After surviving this CRITICAL period the young must avoid predation, usually cannibalization, and grow large enough to endure their first winter. Once they become yearlings (one year old), many will remain in the environment to provide good fishing for several years.
It requires 3 to 5 growing seasons, perhaps 6 seasons in small streams, for smallmouth bass to reach the legal harvestable size, (check regs.) In general, they feed upon insects both aquatic and terrestrial, crayfish, and fish. They feed at the water surface, in the water mass, and off the bottom. Their food items and feeding locations make them "angler friendly".
Smallmouth bass can be caught on a wide variety of live and artificial baits. Many anglers prefer the less expensive soft, plastic artificials, GRUBS+TUBES because lure loss is a certainty when fishing prime smallmouth habitat. Light spinning tackle is the most popular and least tiresome after casting and catching fish all day.
h2o<----smallies+salmon are personal favorites!!!!!!