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Smallmouth Bass On A Fly

Smallmouth Bass On A Fly

19.5" smallie!

Top water flies

Northwest Ontario is blessed with thousands of pristine rivers and lakes filled with trophy-sized fish. For those that have caught smallmouth on a fly rod, they know how incredibly exciting it can be, especially with top water flies.



Northwest Ontario is blessed with thousands of pristine rivers and lakes filled with trophy-sized fish. For those that have caught smallmouth on a fly rod, they know how incredibly exciting it can be, especially with topwater flies. The smallmouth bass here are large, with three-pound fish being the norm, but many four-to-seven pound specimens are regularly caught.

If you want to enjoy some good topwater action for bass, May through to mid-July is your best option. For subsurface, the season is virtually from spring to fall for smallmouth but you need to bring the right equipment. Most anglers use 6 to 8 weight fly rods in moderate-fast to fast action. A simple click-pawl reel is all you need for fighting these fish. However, it is strongly recommended you bring a number of line choices to help you fish all parts of the water column effectively.

Best choices are an intermediate fly line, a WF floating line and a full-sink or sink-tip fly line. The floating line is perfect for topwater and fishing down to approximately 4-5 feet in depth. The intermediate fly line is ideal for subsurface presentations down to 8-12 feet in depth. A full-sink line in a Type III of Type IV is ideal for getting down near the bottom when the bass are suspended near deep structure. This line will also help you catch walleye when the opportunity is available. 

Top flies to use include: 

  1. Topwater – medium to large sized poppers in yellow, black and green. Both plastic and deerhair type poppers both work well;
  2. Streamers – muddler minnows, Scottys McFly and woolly buggers are very effective for smallmouth. Sizes should be size 8 to 2. Best colour choices are: white, black, olive, purple and tan; and
  3. Crayfish – when smallmouth bass are relating to structure like rock piles and submerged humps or points, try using an intermediate flyline with a short leader connected to a crayfish pattern. Fished slowly, this pattern can be deadly in July and August.

The numbers of rivers and lakes that hold good populations of large smallmouth bass in Northwestern Ontario is vast. Best of all, the fishing here is affordable and accessible. 

Some recommended lodges for smallmouth bass in NW Ontario:

Vist Sunset Country
In Sunset Country, you'll find the best fishing in the world.

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