Living in Northern Maine the fish du jour are trout and salmon, but I wanted to get into some smallies so the Fish and Game department tells me there’s this lake about an hour south of me that has smallies in it. The guy at the local tackle shop/trading post tells me they spawn there mid to late June. Yesterday I head down there after a restless night dreaming of big fish and arm tiring long runs. As I am putting in I meet an old guy with a square stern motorized canoe, the standard for Maine anglers, and he tells me they are hitting all along shore. 2-3 pounders he says. Now my juices are flowing and I string up my 8 weight fly rod, tie on a black crystal wooly bugger and paddle with some vigor away from the put in. A few casts around a rocky point get me nothing, but limber up the wrist for casting all day. Near a cottage on another point I see a downed tree in the water and paddle over and flick a cast into shore. A few strips of the line and a ghostly green football lazily swims up and inhales my fly. I set the hook and the fight is on. I can tell right away that I need to get this bad boy on the reel. As I’m reeling in the loose fly line in the bottom of the canoe he’s pulling me toward the rocks along the shore. Stop reeling, grab a paddle, back paddle away from there so he can’t wrap the leader around something and snap off. Finally get him on the reel, he promptly pulls 20 feet of line off. Back and forth we go for 5 minutes. Me recovering line, him taking it. Eventually he tires and I bring him alongside the canoe. A chunky smallie 2 maybe 3 pounds. Nice fish, I slide him back into the water and he swims slowly away. An hour and 5 more of his clone like buddies later and my fly is trashed. It’s the only black crystal bugger I have. I try a plain black bugger. An hour goes by no hits and definitely no runs. I drink a Coke and eat my sandwich. Then I tie on an olive crystal bugger. First cast we’re back in business. Get him on the reel, lose some line, keep him out of the trees, look at the rod bend, hope it doesn’t break, reel in some line, feel the power as he motors away from me. Finally he comes to the canoe willingly and I heft the biggest fish of the day a guesstimate of 5 pounds. Real nice fish, I pop the fly out of his jaw and send him back. And so it goes for the next two hours, another half dozen fish and I’m pooped. My arm is sore and my fishing spirit is soaring. I dreamed of fishing days like this all winter long. The dream came true. Smallies are a kick. You can bet I’ll be sneaking back to that lake again this week sometime and getting them while they’re shallow. Tight lines!!

I didn’t get to go this weekend.
Nice read! Almost felt like I was out fishing. Except for the catching fish part, LOL.

I love smallmouth fishing. Interesting on the crystal getting them excited. Smallmouth are very curious fish attracted to flash and sometimes to noise. I’m in kind of the opposite situation as you. I’ve been a smallmouth fisherman much of my life, but I’m just getting into the fly rod. I’ll be sure to get flies with flash in them.

Congratulations on the good day. Nice to have had someone give you the pattern at the launch so that you didn’t have to spend most of your trip figuring it out. Do someone else the favor in the future.

  • Big D

Not sure what freshwater game fish
cannot be taken on a bugger, just have to have the right color combination, size. Channel catfish love 'em. Smallmouth streams in Texas are mainly in Central Texas, none in the lakes, so don’t get a chance to go after them. But, the ones I’ve caught when living around Austin put the bend in an ultralight or fly rod.

Good going and enjoyed the report. If only the photo option was beyond the testing stage on pnet, would love to see the photos, both of the fish and the area. But, then, if you are like me, I’d rather fish than photograph. I’m wishing I were up in Maine right now…99 yesterday, about the same today. Night fishing is quickly rising to the top of my agenda.

Big Bass in Northern Maine
I can relate. I also live in northern Maine the small mouth bass are hot in June. If you really want some action try Grand lake in Weston Maine. There are guys who travel from all over the nation to fish this lake. To catch 50 or more bass a day during the spawn in June is no problem.

Now that’s what I call …
… the right place , at the right time , using the right tackle , and knowing your target .

A perfect 4 . Don’t let them cool off on ya until you’re finished with them for the season !!

Smallmouth , the stuff of feverish fishing !!

Glad for you , keep them hot …

Big D: The fly rod will definitely give you an ear to ear grin with the smallies. I tie my own flies by the score. If you’d like a few crystal buggers send me your e-mail and I’ll be happy to mail you a few. I returned the info favor as I was taking out a fellow paddler was heading in and I passed along the good news.

Yak: I was so damn hot to get to this place that I forgot my camera as well as my PFD. Went for it anyway. The good thing is I didn’t flip and drown. LOL!! My minds camera remembers the fish 50% bigger than they actually were!!!

Countykayaker: Grand Lake is big on my list as is Spednick down near Orient, I think. From your handle I assume you are in Aroostook county? If so where from. I’m in Presque Isle.

e-mail sent
Thanks for the offer.

  • Big D

Aroostook County
I am in Houlton

to the dark side :wink:

Smallies are some of the most aggressive freshwater critters you can ever have on the end of your line.

Come on over…may as well come dwell in the 7th circle with the rest of us:

He fished a lake
For lake fishing for smallies, another web site resource is

But you really should do it in a river. It’s more exciterating.

  • Big D

He ties nice flies. I’ve a bunch he
sent me…just have to get out and use them. Each time I’ve planned a trip lately, weather or family has interfered.

2nd River
Fishing- Especially in smaller streams with ultra light equipment. You just can’t beat landing a 18" smallie on a 4 lb test line while it’s in the current pulling for it’s life!!

Of course, afterwords I always let them go…

Catch, Photo, Release…

only way to do it.

I like to Eat Fish!!!
Most of the fish that I catch are released but some are filleted and eaten. Small mouth are very tasty!!! I like to dip the fillets in beaten egg and roll in cornmeal. Here in Alabama most of the bass that I catch in the river are spotted bass and they hang out mostly in the rapids. I use a sunfish popper and fish more or less like I fish for trout. I have been amazed at what I have caught using a green and yellow popper. Smallmoth, spotted bass ,largemouth,sunfish and unbelieveablly a 6 # catfish!!! The other evening a 3’ gar hit the popper. I like to watch the fish hit the lure on the surface. There is a variety of smallmoth called a redeye that is a warm water equivalent of a trout. So far I haven’t caught one. They are smaller than smallmoth and have red eyes. They live in small rivers and creeks in the rapids. Spotted bass are very aggressive. I saw one beach itself while it was cashing a minnow almost at my feet. One of life’s little dramas. BTW I saw it eat the minnow.

There are better tasting fish than smallmouth, belive me. Try Crappie, flakier flesh and not mealy, as SM can be at times.

And a ‘Red-eye’ or ‘Goggle-eye’ as they are sometimes known is NOT a variety of Smallmouth. Coloration can be about the same (a bronzy-green), but they are actually a species of Sunfish, although all Bass belong to the Sunfish biological family. But it they are 2 entirely diffrent species.

Try the Red-eyes on Fly gear…they’ll wear you out.

Not the Same as Redeye!!!

Up north there is a fish called a redeye or rockbass. This is not the same as the Alabama Redeye bass.

I have caught many redeyes when I lived in Tennessee. They were something of a pest at times being too small to eat but taking nightcrawlers off of my hook. I actually caught a few in trout streams!!! Note from the scientif name that it is closely related to a smallmouth.

As long as you abide by the law,
I won’t criticise you. Especially because you said most of what you catch is catch & release. I think it’s OK to use the resource in accordance with the law so long as it is used in a sustainable fashion. C&R most of the time and keeping just a few seems like it would be a responsible use in SOME waters.

However, you have to understand ShenandoahRiverRat’s home water has had a fish kill the past four years and EVERY fish in that water is important. Keeping fish from that river may be allowed by law, but it’s not a proper thing to do from a sustainable standpoint. Kind of makes Br’er Rat a zealot on CPR.

However, if your river is fecund and you have a good population and diversity of fish (as it sounds like you do), then there’s nothing to criticise with keeping a few.

  • Big D

Eating Smallies-
I tried eating smallmouth one time and honestly just didn’t like the taste too much. On the other hand, goggle eye are a different story. I thought they had a good taste to them!! But my all-time favorite will remain crappie.

Bass are best filleted and without skin
Almost more than any freshwater fish, the skin seems to take on the flavors of the water in which they swim. I’m not as familiar with smallies, but I’ll sometimes eat a largemouth just to aggravate bass boat fishermen.