We got skunked steelheading. No worries, as the smallmouth fishing was cooperative! This weekend, Mike and I headed to a local tributary to target drop back (post-spawn) steelhead. With bright sun and clear, low water, we never saw a steelhead. Darn, they were in there just a few days ago…
Fortunately, we managed to coax half a dozen feisty smallmouth. If you located the right water (gravel/seams/good current/3′ depth) we found cooperative fish. I fished a small olive bugger and then white, baitfish patterns. Initially, I never moved a fish. Mike quickly figured out that fish preferred large, black buggers (3″). He fished the same water that I previously fished. They were ignoring my small offerings. Once he switched to a 5″ olive articulated fly, he generated even more aggressive bites. My largest fish also came on an oversized olive pattern. These were strong, acrobatic smallmouth that hammered a swinging, or actively retrieved fly. In addition, I lost a decent pike that flared it’s gills to inhale a large, flashy brown pattern. Our connection was short, as the chomp cleanly nipped my 8 lb flourocarbon tippet.
Regarding smallmouth, most fish came within a foot of the bank, or against logs. Mike enticingly dangled his streamer between a logjam and managed the best fish of the day, a 4 pound smallie. The only hardship was cleaning your leader and fly of the floating algae. On most casts, you couldn’t fish your fly more than a few feet without getting it fouled. With all the floating debris in the creek, perhaps that’s a reason the fish chomped on larger, oversized fly patterns! Oversized flies stood out. Or, perhaps that larger offering better triggered a predatory response. Tap into your predatory instinct! Get outside, get on the water and enjoy a local fishery!
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