Pound for pound, ounce for ounce, the Smallmouth Bass is one of the best fighters for its size. The smallmouth start the spring season out in the shallow water around rocks and stumps. As the water warms in the spring, male smallmouth start to carve out holes in the gravel preparing for the female to lay her eggs. The male will guard the spawning nest with great ferocity. Many of our guests enjoy fishing the smallmouth bass when they are guarding the nests. It is important that you release these fish immediately because they are guarding the spawn for predators such as perch and suckers.
Smallmouth feed on small crayfish, minnows and hatches of insects. Some of the lures that work best in the spring are crawdad imitations, Rapalas, Tiny Torpedos and Zara Spooks.
After the young bass have hatched, the male will move on and gather in schools throughout Slender Lake around rock piles, points, sucket humps, logs and weedbeds. They are caught readily on small jigs, either plain or tipped with leeches or small bits of crawlers. They are also caught on various crank baits, small spinner baits and countdown worms. A sure and tried method to having an excellent day of smallmouth fishing is to make a small lindy rig with an 1/8 oz. sinker and bluegill hook. Simply hook the leech in the suction cup end and drag it off small points and rockbars. You will get a light hit that is much like a perch, however, if you open your bail and watch your line the smallmouth will run with the leech. If you count to six or seven and set the hook, most of the time you will hook a smallmouth bass. For those that don’t want to work that hard, you can use the old fashioned bobber with a bluegill hook and a split shot, you will catch plenty of bass as well.
In the fall, the smallmouth bass will move to deeper sections of Slender Lake where they will concentrate on sunken humps and reefs that top out at 15-20 feet. You can still catch them on a slip sinker and leech but you must use a heavy sinker. the fall time means one thing – BIG Smallies. At this time of year they gorge themselves on crayfish and minnows in anticipation of the cold winter months. For large trophy smallmouth bass, another tried and proven method is to buy 6-8″ sucker minnows and a 3/8 oz. lindy rig and rish vertical on top of these humps. Smallmouth bass of up to 22″ have been caught this way. If you are an artificial bait fisherman, you can use 3-4″ tube jigs and Berkeley Gulp on this same rig.
Our species guide not only describes the beautiful fish that you’ll pull from Canada’s finest waters, but also specifically where you can expect these fish to be in Wabakimi Provincial Park and our boat-in lakes. Click the fish for more information.