fly fishing in lakes

the most effective time for fly fishing is dawn


After the spring spawning is over, Smallmouth Bass are very hungry and feed aggressively.


While flies are an excellent means to catch Smallmouth Bass in river conditions, casting crankbaits and spinners is the preferred method in lake conditions, though flies can work in the shallows.

Where to find the Smallmouth

In lakes they tend to spend most of their time in deeper waters up to 30 feet deep, especially around long gradual points where lake bottoms are constructed from gravel and sand. Where they are inactive during the day, they become active feeders at night moving into shallow waters to feed. However this works best in the summer, spring and early fall.


Smallmouth bass actively feed around fallen debris, boat docks and rocky shorelines as this is where they wait to ambush their prey and it’s also where they feel safe and protected. It’s worth noting that they are suspicious of lures at this time of the season.

Fishing Techniques

  • To catch Smallmouth try trolling a crankbait on a line 60 yards long over the shallows with a live bait or plastic worm attached. You may intercept fish that return from deep water to the shallows after the boat passes overhead. Keep your engine on as they tend to spook the fish.

It’s possible to cast long distances with ultra-light spinning equipment. Using light lures such as a small floating-diving crankbaits are best in these conditions.

  • If the fish are uninterested, try spinners or even small spoons.

Fly Fishing in Lakes

Fly fishing is highly effective at dawn. Use a fly rod with floating deer hair bugs and a 9 1/2 foot or longer leader, tapered to a 4 pound test tippet. The bug should be placed against the shore among the fallen trees and foliage.

  • Smallmouth bass usually strike when the bug hits the surface.

Rocky waters, 5 to 15 feet deep, are best fished with ultra-light spinning tackle and a 1/8 ounce yellow jig with a piece of night crawler at its tip.


Cast the jig over the rocky area, slowly hopping the lure along the bottom.

The lure imitates the motion of a crawfish or leech and quickly attracts the attention of Smallmouth Bass.