Smallmouth Bass offer some of the best fishing when things get hot. July and August fishing for our resident Smallies in the Manistee River is a great way to spend a day. Whether you are an angler looking to improve your skills, or you’re an advanced fly fisherman looking for fun, then smallmouth fishing is for you. Watching fish eat off the surface or attack flashy streamers with rubber legs and marabou — things they just can’t resist either in a dry fly/popper or streamer — is just plain cool.
I like to guide on various sections of the Manistee based on conditions. Along with the occasional canoe that goes by, you will enjoy a scenic float along a beautiful section of river pretty much to yourself and the fish.
Fishing sink-tip fly lines and a streamer is usually the most effective technique, but there are days when they prefer it on top. Face it — fishing on the surface is a favorite for just about anyone who fly fishes. Sometimes they sip flies, and other times they explode on top of it (so much for peacefulness!) — it’s always fun when they grab.
The Smallies’ wavering ways of choosing what and what not to eat is part of the fun as anglers work to solve the puzzle. And when it comes together the only one not smiling is the fish.
Those anglers looking for smallmouth on a flats setting should consider carp fishing in the Grand Traverse Bays as the two species share a lot of the same water. While stalking the “Golden Bones” of the bay, the smallmouth often provide opportunities some bass anglers never get. When conditions are right (late May and in June), the larger smallmouth bass come in shallow making them the primary target and focus of anglers with a fly rod.
Each year bass fishingprograms and their hosts either discover or reveal what they have known for a while — that the fishing on Grand Traverse Bays for smallies is among the 10 best in the world.