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Smallmouth in the Spring


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What are your thoughts on smallmouth in terms of the spring season (patterns/lures, transitional movements, etc.). I know here in Minnesota most of you may not have had the chance to fish for them really early (3 weeks after ice out) becuase of the season restrictions, unless your on the river.

The reason I ask is because I have a tournament coming up in about 3 weeks in Indiana and the main fish are smallmouth (largemouth will play a role depending on water temp). Its a natural lake that reminds me a lot of green lake in spicer, MN Big bowl with many rocky humps and flats around the shoreline. I've done a lot of research and I have a general idea of what I'm going to do, but I personally have never fished for smallmouth in the spring so I'm wondering if someone has some advice.

I'll be gone for a week but will check this post when I'm back, thanks for any input!

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Is there a river influence on this lake? I still think anytime you can mix smallmouth and current, you are better off than dead water fishing.

I have always read that lake smallmouth will make daily migrations near shallow, warm water early in the year. Maybe not right into the shallows, but near the mouth. I have no real experience trying this, but have crappie fished smallmouth lakes right after ice out and caught smallmouth at the mouths of bays that held crappies. Something to think about.

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Hey Bob -

I'd start by seeing if you can ID the areas where they're likely to spawn. Then start searching in that area. Based on some of the stuff we see with early season smallies in Ontario, they seem to boogie to spawning areas pretty soon after ice out. If it's cooler or a cold front look at the base of breaks outside spawning areas or off the edge of flats near spawning areas. If it's a rock reef, find the edge where the rock meets sand or gravel, for example. Sometimes they can be pretty deep but seems like they don't go any deeper than they need to go to find the bottom edge of the hard bottom. On a nice day you can sometimes find them up on plain sand or gravel. Seems like the bigger fish get there first and go shallow before the rest of them do for some reaoson. Worth checking out. If there are reefs or humps up on a mid-depth flat they seem to go right to the inside edge of them when it's nice out.

As far as lures, jerkbaits like a Pointer, X-rap or Wild Shiner can be REALLY good for cold water smallies. Pause it longer than you can stand it. If they're deeper, drop shot or tube, or a hair jig...

Good luck.


Rob Kimm

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Thanks for the reply guys! That pretty much summed up what I had been thinking of doing, with a little extra added in.

Ray, there isn't much for a river influence, a few inlets and outlets (which could have a factor if warm water is coming in)and thats about it.

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