Outdoor Articles

River Fishing – Smallmouth Bass

by Pursue The Outdoors on November 30th, 1999 in Freshwater Fishing

River fishing for Smallmouth Bass can be a ton of fun. Many anglers may not realize it, but smallmouth bass can be fished for in much the same way that trout are. You can put on your waders, fishing vest, and polarized sunglasses, then grab your ultra light rod and go fishing for smallmouth bass, just like you do for trout. Smallmouth bass can even be caught using many of the same techniques.

If you’re a live bait angler, as I am, Smallmouth bass offer me a great way to keep my angling skills sharp for trophy trout (at least that’s how I look at it). Smallmouth Bass are widely considered to be the hardest fighting fish, pound for pound that swims in freshwater. I don’t know if this is really true, because I’ve met many rainbow trout with “skills”, but smallmouth can definitely hold their own. You couple the tenacity of a smallmouth with the current in a river, and you’ve got a recipe for a great time!

One of the best techniques that can be used to catch smallmouth in rivers is to use a live worm. Sure hellgrammites and minnows work well too, but for me a live worm rigged on a set of gang hooks is hard to beat. You see, a set of gang hooks is simply two small hooks tied in tandem, which presents a live worm in a completely natural manner. When you use a set of #10 gang hooks, it’s hard to tell there arte even hooks in the worm. And if a human being has a hard time seeing the hooks, doesn’t it stand to reason that the fish won’t be able to see the hooks either?

Lures can also be used to catch smallmouth bass in rivers. Spinners and spoons are a great choice. Colors used will vary depending on conditions and experimentation is always the key to lure fishing. Frog imitations are usually a good idea and red and white spoons/spinners always seem to produce well. Another great lure for smallmouth is a jig. A jig with a Powerbait twister tail will sometimes out fish live bait, especially when fishing for smallmouth bass in rivers. Again, for the right color, experimentation is the key.


If you’re in an are of the country where there are smallmouth bass, don’t forget to put of your waders, fill your bait bag with worms, grab your gang hooks, and go fishing for them in rivers. Whether you do it for the shear enjoyment of a good fight or so stay in shape for trout fishing, the point is that catching smallmouth bass in rivers makes for a great time.

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