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jivey

Smallmouth

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I am going on my annual trip to my grandparents place in WI for Labor Day and am looking to do some smallmouth fishing on their lake.  My problem is that I have no clue where to begin.  

The only smallmouth I've caught on the lake have been caught on live bait while trolling at night for walleyes on a ledge that runs in front of our cabin.  I have no problem catching largemouth, and I know there is good sized smallies in the lake, but I just don't know where to start.

Any advice towards a late-summer/early-fall pattern as well as lure selection would be very much appreciated.

The few main features i know of the lake offhand are that it is a very deep lake, and the banks drop rather quickly.  An abundance of submerged/emerged weeds have taken over about 1/5th of the lake in the last 5-10 years.  

I'm just not sure what kind of structure/cover these fish should be relating too.

Thanks again.  

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well jivey im not too shore either, but if your catching them on that ledge infront of your cabin i would definately try there.  also look for similar areas around the lake.  if you catch one remember the depth so you can find them again.  as for the lures just down size from the lures you would use for largemouth.  small cranks are always a good choice.

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Yeah, definitely try to fish those dropoffs.  I know that when we fish for smallmouth up in Canada, we always try to find rocky elevation changes.  I caught about 30 smallmouth this summer on a plain lead head and leech, so.

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If you have a good depthfinder, always look for humps in a natural lake.  Often they exist, and they nearly always hold smallies.  Those that rise to about 6-15 feet of the surface are often good no matter what the season is. I would throw a green pumpkin gold flaked tube for most of my offshore, deeper angling.  Go with8-10 lb. flourocarbon if that water is clear. Also concentrate on those long points with the most numerous basketball and even larger size rocks if they are present.  Sometimes the edge of softer bottoms meeting harder bottoms is all it takes on drop offs or shelves to hold some big fish.  The outside edges of weedlines especially if they are on tops of fast tapering points could be good for you too.  Never neglect the wind.  Smallies can really stack up on the windier banks far shallower than you would expect especially if you see lots of bait in the shallow, windier areas.  These banks could even be sandy and the smallies can hold there if the bait is there.  Get the tandem willow spinnerbaits ready in a silver blue skirt or just plain old white skirt.  One silver and one gold blade is often a good compromise on the blades which could be 4 to 4.5. on the larger blade.  Good luck and keep us posted.

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Personally, I like to use either a tube or a Senko style worm rigged wacky. I have a nearby smallie lake and I do really well wacky style. I concentrate on deep water rock structure and piles. Remember if you catch them over 28ft deep you should needle their air bladder.

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Nick just returned from a very successful smallmouth fishing trip in Wisconcin, pay special attention to his post. I would emphasize points, ridges, ledges and humps, especially in deep water or surrounded by deep water. If there is a breeze, concentrate on the windward side.

Tackle: Medium power/ fast action spinning gear. I recommend lighter line, 6 lb Yo-Zuri Hybrid Ultra Soft. Small crankbaits, tubes, C-rigged lizards and Hula Grubs are sure bets, but you'll catch more smallmouth with live minnows fished on a split shot rig.

This time of year smallmouth are easy to catch in Wisconsin, they feed all day long. The key there, as everywhere, is finding the fish. Once you do, don't be quick to move on, smallmouth tend to stack up and school together. Focus on structure and look for similar features throughout the lake. If you have trouble, slow troll your crankbaits and drag a minnow 10-12' deep on a bobber. When you catch a fish, stop and try your other lures in that area.

Good luck.

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if i had to generalize about smallie fishing i'd say focus on wind and rocks, particularly around points, drop-offs and other classic structure.  it's a lot easier of course to fish where it is protected, but i've had the best luck fishing on the wind blown sides of points, islands, humps etc.

tubes with anywhere from a 1/8 to 1/4 oz. jig head inside have also been a confidence bait for me.

good advice about water depth above - once you've found some fish try to find structure/cover that intersects that same depth in other locations.

good luck - let us know how it turns out.

boneman

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For smallmouth go with crankbaits around rocky bottoms and weedlines. In the rocks fish eiter a hula grub or a smalliebeaver on a 1/4th to 3/8ths ounce football head, this technique will always produce.If you can find gravel flats try the above mentioned and try burning a spinnerbait across it.

In the morning and evening try topwater of any sort around any structure.Smallies will swim 25 feet just to eat a topwater.Also a jig and pig will get some better size smallmouth.

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Due to regional differences, I don't know if this will work as well out there as it does here. When I fish the Northern Arizona lakes and rivers and I want to catch smallmouth, I go out and buy about 8 white rooster tails as big as I can get them. In one particular lake that has a long deep cove with abundant stick-ups, I found that finding casting parallel to the shorline where the water goes from shallow to extremely deep draws the smallies up to strike.

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What lake is it in Wisconsin?

It is Beaver Dam Lake in Cumberland.

Thank you all for the replies, this should prove to be very helpful.

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When I'm exploring a new smallmouth lake I always key in on points. I hit the major ones first starting way out in about 35 or 40 feet of water and then slowly working my way in. Most of my best summer fish this year have been taken in around 20 feet of water. I know some guys like to get in tight to shore on the points and fish their way out but I feel that I'm more effective the other way around. I tend to just play connect the dots with the major points on the lake, hitting anything that juts out in between. As I'm putting along between them I try to keep my boat in about 16 feet of water and kind of fan cast out ahead. There's nothing like your first time on a new body of water. The challenge of trying to unlock its secrets is certainly half the fun. If you can get your hands on a map of the lake before you go that would definately give you a headstart in putting together your game plan.

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