Dry Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass

Fly-Fishing for Smallmouth: in Rivers and Streams


Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass

Once on the river our knowledgeable and patient instructors will work with you one on one to improve your fly fishing skills, tactics and techniques. We customize the On-the-Stream Fly Fishing portion of these schools to meet your specific needs and desires. The format we follow creates a great Introduction to Fly Fishing Class. These schools provide you with the most comprehensive experience by preparing you to fish Smallmouth Bass rivers and large trout streams. You will learn, or brush up on, casting, fly fishing equipment selection (fly rod/fly reel/ fly line/ flies/ wading gear), knot tying, reading water, entomology and all aspects of fly fishing for Smallmouth Bass. We spend the majority of the time on the stream to maximize your individual learning experience so come prepared to wade in the river and fish.

The final tactic which can be outstanding fly fishing for smallmouth bass in the flat water late in the season is fishing dry flies during the White Fly (White Miller) mayfly hatch. The smallmouth bass seem oblivious to the low water, I suspect, because of the density of the flies on the water and the late hour of the day when the hatch occurs. The specific period for this hatch depends on the geographical stream location, but it is usually in July and August. However, the flies can be on the water for six weeks. The main thing to keep in mind on this hatch is to stay on the river until dark…yes, dark.

fly fishing for Smallmouth bass, ..

Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass by Byron Begley

Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass in Flat Water

One evening last August I decided to fly fish for smallmouth bass on a stretch of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River I know very well because I do many of my fly fishing schools there in June. I was shocked when I saw how low this part of the river had gotten in two months. I knew this area held some nice bass so I decided to make the most of the low water level. The first thing I did was to walk upstream around the stretch we fish in my fly fishing schools in June because it was too shallow to fish without scaring the bass. When I got to a stretch that was three to four feet deep I decided to fish it upstream on the surface with the Shenandoah Blue Popper and to punch out long casts. Right away I started catching a fair number of small smallmouth bass. About a half hour before dark I had fished up to the tail of a pool that had a depth over my head in the middle with wheelbarrow size boulders along the left bank in water hip deep. Yes, you are right, it is tough to wade but it also holds a great amount of food and in the low light the smallmouth bass move into this type of water to feed. On my second cast up to these boulders a very large smallmouth bass took my Shenandoah Blue Popper. He turned out to be the second largest bass I had caught in the last five years. I firmly believe he was in the tail of that pool because it held a great amount of food and my upstream approach helped me keep from scaring him.

Fly fishing for smallmouth bass in the flat low river levels one often finds in the late summer and early fall is some of the most challenging fly fishing to be found. Challenging because it makes you think. Success seldom comes by luck under these fishing conditions. Rather, you need to evaluate where the bass will feed, how they will feed, their preferred foods and the best tactics and flies to use.