Deep Smallmouth

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species Fishing' started by GSPNut, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. GSPNut

    GSPNut

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    This is the time of year when I am rudely reminded that I need to up my Smallmouth game. After getting fat and happy on eager pre-spawn biters and then seeing fish everywhere in the flats during the spawn, the shallows are once again devoid of fish in the clear and deep lakes Northern Michigan lakes I frequent. Unfortunately, this is when I struggle. How do you guys locate fish once they’ve vacated the shallows and what baits and techniques work best in that 15-25’ zone. Thanks for any help!
     
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  2. 101thwacK

    101thwacK

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    Also very interested in this subject! I will say one thing I have noticed is that the first and last hour of the day I still seem to find them shallow, I assume they are coming up to feed. But just like you I typically find fishing difficult other than that narrow window. Looking forward to others answers
     

  3. FishMichv2

    FishMichv2 Premium Member

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    They likely won't be too far from where they were spawning. I've been getting them on stuff I can move a little slower. For example, a lighter weight tube that sinks slower rather than eratic hopping on the bottom. Just gotta force yourself to fish a bit slower. Thats been my experience on some TC area waters anyways.
     
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  4. DRR324

    DRR324

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    The bite will be a little slow for a week or so as they recoup from spawning. Once they recover, target any off shore hump, exposed island edges where a good break line leads from the 30' stuff up to 5-6' on top. They love to hang deep all day and then hit the humps and shallow flats at dusk to feed throughout the evening. To find them during the day, focus on the deeper- but more narrow areas that lead to the flats. Drop shot rigs, creature baits on a jig head, slow rolled spinner baits are all good bets during the day. I use search type baits to find them, (rattle traps, spinner baits) once I find them, I switch to the drop shot, tube and jig to pick them up. Find one, usually plenty hanging all together...
     
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  5. GSPNut

    GSPNut

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    Great info. Thanks
     
  6. Stubee

    Stubee

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    I rarely fish the early shallows & spawning bass. I later target drop offs near deeper water, say a pretty rapid drop from about 10 feet to 20. My best method for years has been a slip bobber + half a crawler on a small hook. If you find them it can be very interesting. I started drop-shotting in the same areas a few years ago and do that while waiting for a bobber to go under. I also use plain old jigs with a twister tail etc but the drop-shotting is fun.

    I obviously anchor for this stuff, on the drop to about 14-15’. Watch the bobber and set it once it’s down about 2-3 feet and you’ll very rarely miss a hit and won’t deep hook ‘em. I find the fish moving to these areas well after spawn and when the surface water temp hits 75F or so. I fish a pretty big, deep and clear NLP lake.
     
  7. piketroller

    piketroller

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    Have you tried a circle hook under a bobber? I’ve had good luck fishing shiners under a bobber on a circle hook for largemouth. Just reel in till it’s tight, and fish on, an no hooks down the gullet. Really gets rid of the guess work of when your line will be tight enough for a traditional hook set.
     
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  8. mbirdsley

    mbirdsley

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    I caught a small mouth today guarding a bed on the Saginaw bay. He may have been legal size. Seems late


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. DirtySteve

    DirtySteve

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    Not too late. Lots of bedfish to be had around the state still. Lake st clair opens the small mouth season this week because of bedding late. There were plenty of fish in beds. Males will protect the bed 10 days after they spawn.
     
  10. johnIV

    johnIV

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    If you have imaging on your fish sonar, use it to locate isolated rocks or wood in deep water clear lakes. An example is I locate big rocks or wood structure on bottom. Depths may be 30-50 fow. Tube jigs, swim baits or blade baits all work well here. Cast swim jigs or tube jigs until they hit bottom. Long casts leaving alot of slack so bait drops straight down and not pendulum toward the boat. Once it hits bottom, pop the bait and let it drop. Pop it and let it drop. Continue this to the boat. Same exact method with the blade bait. Your hook up will come in the pop or jerk. The fish pick it up on the drop and you automatically set the hook on the next swing popping the bait. You may need to move around before locating fish but this is a tried and true method I use to hook nice deep water Smallies. Grass on bottom is another great place. Patches of grass in otherwise Sandy bottom is another magnet for Smallmouth. Rocks, wood or scattered grass
     
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  11. Slimshady

    Slimshady

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    I recommend watching the Major League Fishing events that happened up in Alpena. The main guys were up there twice and the Selects were up there once as well. I think both times they were there in August. You can find all of them on www.myoutdoortv.com. The subscription is $9.99 per month, but the first month is free. 2014 Summit Cup, 2017 Challenge Selects & 2018 Summit Cup.

    We go up north every year around that same time and fish very similar lakes, so I learned a ton by watching those events. They are fishing the lakes for the first time (generally) and they don't know where they are going until that morning, so they have to figure them out real-time, just like we do.

    In a nut-shell, I learned that early in the day, top-water can be amazing, especially on those hot, muggy days. Later in the day, there are still relatively shallow (8-12 fow) fish to be had in most of the lakes, but you have to find the weed-edges. On the windy or cloudy days, spinnerbaits or square-bills did well. There are also lots of deep fish, and most of those were caught on drop-shots or tubes.
     
  12. johnIV

    johnIV

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    Most of those Smallmouth lakes in the Alpena area aren't very deep. Relatively speaking that is. 25' max. Beaver is deep 75' but Long and Grand are not. Hubbard is the deepest approaching 90'. Winyah is under 30 barely. Those 5 are about the only lakes for Smallmouth in that region besides Thunder Bay (Huron). Good advice tho on top water early also late but in shallower water. I do my best in 8-14 fow on all those bodies. Lake Huron being a different animal. All depends on the year. Some years the fish stay shallow all season. Beaver is tough as heck to find fish. Long and Hubbard are about the best two for me.
     
  13. Slimshady

    Slimshady

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    Ironically, the one with the best top-water bite was Hubbard (in the videos anyway). The lakes that I generally fish up there range from super deep and clear to shallower and somewhat stained and everything in-between. Walloon Lake, Crooked Lake, Burt, Paradise Lake, Round Lake, Douglas, Little Traverse Bay, etc. Parts of Crooked are like Winyah, other parts are like Long. Burt is more like Hubbard. Douglas is deep, yet with tanic colored water. Lake Paradise is like nothing I have ever seen before with all of the massive weed-beds choking things off. It is certainly not "one size fits all", that's for sure. I try to take something away from each location and then try to find areas or situations that match. So far it has worked pretty well, but it can be hit & miss up there, depending on the weather and timing. One year I was smoking giant smallies on Sexy Dawg Jr's and Poppers in several lakes up there. The next year, it was much cooler and windier and I never had a sniff on top. Even one day to the next it can change dramatically. Last year I had one day where I caught 15 or 16 bass in about 20 casts over the same small rock pile in 3-4 FOW right at sun-up. The next morning I took my son with me and we caught 1 at that spot. The weather was about the same, so who knows why it changed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  14. Slimshady

    Slimshady

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    Got this 5 lb'er on a Sexy Dawg Jr. last year up there in about 3 fow near some reeds on a rocky point:

    upload_2020-6-30_17-47-34.png
     
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  15. johnIV

    johnIV

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    The traverse area is another story. Tons of lakes little and big. All have good Smallmouth fishing. You may have been referring to little traverse lake when you mentioned little traverse bay. That lake is small but a powerhouse Smallmouth fishery at times. Can be tough at times also like the Glen lake chain. Spring and fall is really the best time ultimately for big fish.