Fly Fishing Adventures

Fall Fly Fishing Smallmouth Bass: Escape from the Office

Fall Fly Fishing Smallmouth Bass: Escape from the Office


I love the fall in Iowa, the leaves are changing, the temperature starts to drop, and there is almost NO ONE on the water.  Friday afternoon if the weather cooperates is a perfect time to sneak out of the office a little early and hit the water in search of fall smallmouth. It's great to be able to make phone calls to and from the water to stay productive.  There is a stretch of water a little less than an hour from my house that is fantastic for fly fishing smallmouth bass.  We have had a ton of rain recently in Iowa, and the river was a few feet higher than normal, and running fast.  Not the most ideal conditions for fly fishing, but I had an hour window, and was going to swing a giant streamer in the current no matter what.  



I brought El Ocho, our 8 weight packable fly rod with me, and also clipped El Cinco, our 5 weight combo to my pack.  You never know if you need a back up set.  This special spot is a little hike, and it will take the wind out of you if you need to go back to the vehicle for another rod.  My pack of choice is El Bolso, our sling pack.  Its all you really need, super small and simple, and helps you not bring the kitchen sink with you on every trip.  Bring what you need, not what you don't.  I actually forgot my net this trip, but we can all do without that every once in a while.  



I decided to wade to the middle of the river to fish the far bank.  There is a great run over there that I've had success before when the river was lower.  The river was so much higher, normally there's an island in the middle you can stand on.  The water was over the island.  When I made it out to the middle, I began tossing a very large white streamer with a fish skull head.  This fly sunk super fast even in the fast current.  I generally throw the fly at a 90 degree angle to the bank, allow the fly to sink and swing in the current, and begin my strip after a few seconds right in the middle of the swing.  I find that if a fish strikes, it occurs during this swing right as you begin to strip.  



Today was a good day, about 15 minutes into my fishing window, right in the middle of my swing something nailed my fly.  This was not the normal strike I've encountered on these waters.  Normally I get a TON of very small fish in these waters.  Choosing to throw a LARGE streamer allows you to get past the little fish, and focus on the big fish.  Less strikes, less fish, but when you get a strike, it's generally a real fish.  I was super excited and started my GoPro, only to find out it wasn't working...not super happy about this by the way.  After watching 4-5 acrobatic jumps, this fish stayed down deep in the current.  The only think I was thinking was, thank God I choose to use the 8 weight today.  El Cinco, our 5 weight is a great rod, but it would have been the classic story of bring a knife to a gun fight.  El Ocho had plenty of backbone for this beast.  This battle in the fast current lasted for around 10 minutes, perhaps my longest fight of any bass on a fly rod.  Normally they tire after their jumps but not this beast.  



I was able to capture a little video, which will be up on YouTube later, I'm super disappointed my GoPro died on me, we would have loved to share all of the jumping action.  This was my largest smallmouth bass ever caught, and I'm so happy to share the images with everyone.  


Fishing large streamers will absolutely get you less strikes, but when something hits them, its generally big.  There is a time and a place to fish for numbers, today was not that day for me.  It's great when you have a window of time, great equipment, and a plan to get outside in the fall.  Hopefully you all can get out there soon!



Reading next

Denver Business Trip - Bonus Fly Fishing Adventure
January Driftless on the Fly - North Bear Creek

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.