Smallmouth Flies???? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Smallmouth Flies????

02-24-2003, 04:42 PM
Can anyone point me in the right direction for some really good smallmouth flies? Smallmouth are about the only local species that is worth fishing for with a fly and I am planning to persue the little devils very religiously this year, and am looking for some new flies to throw at 'em.

BTW I envy you guys that have the Steelhead, Salmon and all the other "magical" species that are the subject of every fly fisherman's dreams right in your own back yard. All the while I'm living in Cincinnati a.k.a "The Mudhole" where our only thriving species is the catfish.

Anyway if you guys help me out it would be much appreciated!!!

Dble Haul
02-24-2003, 09:33 PM
You could probably catch smallies all year round with only two fly types: clouser minnows and wooly buggers. But where would the fun be in that? :)

Crayfish are a staple and favorite food, so any flies that imitate them are good. I do well with a brown over orange clouser, and once in a while a more realistic pattern like the Near Nuff (see the warmwater archive) is gangbusters.

For topwater, smallies seem to prefer a more subtle presentation than largemouths. This makes sliders like Sneaky Petes very good.....deer hair bugs are also effective. And when a hatch is on, these bass aren't shy about coming up for some juicy stoneflies, drakes, or whatever else might be coming off the water.

The past few years I've been using scaled down versions of Pop Flyes for smallies with great results. The surf candy and jiggie in particular have worked well in about a size 4. I tie them in colors to match the primary forage fish around here, which happens to be the spot tail shiner. And probably the most overlooked fly type for smallmouths are large nymphs...they're not just for trout! :)

Above all, don't be afraid to use flies meant for other species. If it fits a need, then it will probably work.

Have fun and let us know how it goes.

02-25-2003, 08:17 AM
Yea I was defiently was interested in some Crayfish flies becasue the local streams are jam packed with them. Thanks for the info!

02-25-2003, 09:10 AM
I love fishing for smallies with surface poppers. Try the smaller sizes (large panfish poppers). Rubber "legs" sticking off to the side helps, too. These work especially good early in the season. In clear water, you can watch 'em sneak up and inspect the fly, trigger a strike by just making it quivver and shake slightly!
Smallies on a fly rod are FUN!!!


02-25-2003, 09:46 AM
who says a smallmouth isn't "magical"?
I often fish for them in early summer which is primetime for trout.
They almost always jump, which makes them, I think, among the most fun to have on the line.
I use the woolly bugger - black w/ peacock herl instead of chenille all wrapped with red wire so it doesn't fall apart - almost exclusively.
You should also go for Pike - I bet you have some excellent Pike/Muskie water around there.

02-25-2003, 09:56 AM
All my surface flies for smallmouth have rubber legs. I have fished for smallmouth with a fly rod since 1978 and can say without fear of contradiction that a popper with rubber legs will consistently outfish one without. As far as surface flies go, I like Dahlberg Divers, sometimes in very large sizes. I also use basic deerhair poppers, but again, sometimes in very large sizes. I gave one tied on a 2/0 Mustad Stinger hook to a friend that had a head with a face that was 1 1/2" across. That fly was a killer, but very difficult to cast. As far as colors are concerned -- yellow in the spring, green in the summer, orange in the fall , and black anytime. My $0.02.

02-25-2003, 11:28 AM
Never really tried to fly fish a popper but you guys have certainly convinced me to bring a few along.

We actually don't have many Pike/Muskie around my neck of the woods. I think they thrive a little farther north.

Don't get me wrong guys I love catching smallies! That is what I have grown up fishing for, but being fairly new to the fly fishing world I have noticed alot of mention to the Steelhead, Salmon, Trout, etc. and not much credit given to the Smallmouth.

P.S. I grew up using live hellgramites for Smallies any of you ever seen or fished with one of them creatures???

02-25-2003, 12:00 PM
When I lived in the south, one of the popular live baits was a "Mud Puppie". One of the ugliest things i've ever seen in my life.


02-25-2003, 12:06 PM
If I am NOT going to catch a smallie, I'd rather Not catch one on a surface fly......
I know that all sorts of subsurface flies work well and many good recommendatiosn are made in prior posts.
When I was fishing for smallies (none in Alberta) back east, the best bug I could use had rubber legs.

Try out something like a "foam sandwhich" fly, twitch it and hang on for the explosion. (Tie on a proper bass hook, this one is a trout pattern/hook)

Dble Haul
02-25-2003, 12:07 PM
Will, check out the hellgramite pattern in the warmwater archive by sandyflyx. It's a great imitation with a full recipe.

And yes, like I said once, hellgramites and other nymphs are very underrated smallie flies. They like 'em a lot. :)

John Desjardins
02-25-2003, 12:36 PM
Pete that pattern looks awfully close to a Chernobyl ant. Its a great indicator fly when using the dry & dropper for trout.

02-25-2003, 12:49 PM
We use to use live hellgramites. We would sein them in the stream and then go fishing. I know one thing: Them things are EVIL! When one gets ahold of you it can draw blood, and believe me it hurts.

Thanks for all your help guys I appreciate it.

02-25-2003, 06:07 PM
I'm sure the ChernoB ant was the "inspiration" for many of these types of "Foam Sandwich" flies. I have seen so many variations on the theme that I prefer to call them a generic name. No offense to, or exclusion of, the original ChernoB pattern.

02-25-2003, 06:16 PM
Forgot - this is important. Cast the popper, and let it sit. A good minute, until all of the ripples have subsided. Then, give it a tentative small twitch. Just enough to make it move slightly. Then, start a slow retrieve, to make it look like a struggling, dying thing. Finally, give it a good pull to make it "pop", and let it rise to the surface. This type of activity really gets 'em worked up, and they will smash it at anytime during the sequence. You will swear a bomb went off under the lure!


02-25-2003, 09:11 PM
My father-in-law lives very near to the Shenandoah River in VA and smallies are about all he fishes for.

He's a spin guy and quite often uses live helgramites(sp?). I can tell you I'd rather wrestle an alligator than handle one of those scary creatures.

There's a pharmacist, named Harry Murray, turned fly tyer/fly shop owner down in Edinburg, VA. He specializes in smallmouth fishing. If you want a link to his site just PM me.

02-25-2003, 10:32 PM

02-26-2003, 12:04 AM
hello neighbor,

just an hour or two due south is some of the best smallie action in the south or midwest. Research some of these ky creeks.....Stoner Creek, Hickman Creek , Silver Creek, Paint Lick Creek, Hanging Fork, Dix River, Jessamine Creek, Sugar Creek, Elkhorn Creek, Rolling Fork, La Rue Drainage, Fox Creek, and Of course, the Cumberland river. E-mail me and I'll tell you about a secret creek, not much bigger than a ditch, wher i couaght trophy bronzebacks all summer long last year...just north of Heaven and just south of Lexington........

tip: drift large live hellgramites for the best action...every purist in the forum just cringed......giant stoneflies and damsels are big fish slayers too!!!

02-26-2003, 04:30 AM
Hi smallmouth fans - I love 'em too!

Got into them big time on the Housatonic last summer and I second the surface fly experience - full blooded agression - very cool :D

Must try some of those sandwitch chernobyl jobs this year :smokin:

02-26-2003, 06:12 AM

I grew up fishing for monster smallies withing the shadow of downtown Boston. I found a lake that would produce monster smallies on a regular basis and I fished it almost every day when I was in high school/home from college.

Poppers are deadly - no doubt about that. I have found that they are particularly deadly at dusk.

If you are looking to build confidence in a new fly (I know that catching some fish on a new fly always breaks down some anxiety in me) then tie a popper on in the dusk hour and hold on tight!

I also agree with letting the popper sit still for a minute or so before stripping the fly. And do not be afraid to use large (striper sized) poppers. I am going to tie some in the next few months and I will post a recipe on the database! I have caught some monster smallies on large Bob's Banger type poppers.

Just my 2.


02-28-2003, 11:47 PM
the stream i favor the most has a very nice stonefly and toad bug population...try a giant stonefly but don't weight it heavy unless you are fishing deep, quick runs and want the fly to stay as deep as possible. Montana stones take some nice smallies as wel. I tie both in sizes 2-8....Mosquito Hawk (black dragonfly) imitations and blue damsels work great from may until the first of october. You may also want to try white woolyboogers with red bead heads...something about the color red must trigger some type of attack or feeding response in most fish....have caught many species from the same stream with this pattern when nothing else had worked all day.....just remember, if the streams you are hitting have big fish, give them a big meal!!!

03-01-2003, 12:16 AM
I had more luck with a yellow body/white hackle woolie bugger for smallies than any other fly...

Next best smallmouth fly for me is the Thunder Creek style fly, fished around the rock piles below a dam.

They bust them at Beaver Creek State Park in Ohio...