Fishing for smallmouth bass can be tough, but when you find out what they are hitting it’s super easy and fun, they tend to be in the shallows from early spring to mid-summer. Then they move out deeper to find food and to escape the hot summer months. Here is a roundup of my favorite Green Bay smallmouth bass lures.
This is a popular bait for smallmouth anglers, these baits dive from 1.5 feet to 6 feet. The crawfish color shown above is one of the best colors, due to the amount of crawfish hiding among the rocks of Green Bay. Another good color is the Sleeper color or bone craw, casting these around rocks will imitate escaping craws or even small gobies. Cast this bait around structures most likely rock ledges or sunken trees and range the depth so that the bait is running from a foot off the bottom to halfway in the water column. Buy it here.
The Megabass dark sleeper is a goby bait that comes in three sizes, 2.4”, 3”, 3.8”. It comes in 10 colors that you can check out on the amazon link above. Of course, the color above is my personal favorite but there are several others I have good luck with. It is a very versatile bait, you can swim it or bounce it off the bottom. This bait can be fished in pretty much any way you want and fish will bite. This bait imitates a small goby, it is a paddle tail swimbait and has a nice large top fin that protects the hook from weeds. But the fins are flimsy enough that a smallmouth bass will have no issue getting hooked. Buy it here.
The Googan baits drag-N-drop is a finesse-style bait that can be fished in most likely 3 ways. It comes in 7 colors and any color will catch one because it can imitate a goby, worm, leach and much more. The first way is on a shaky head, a shaky head is a kind of jig that wobbles and when the lure is on the bottom and you bounce it will jiggle the tail. The second way is on a drop shot and a drop-shot is where you tie a weight that can vary weights due to the depth of water you fish and then tie a Palomar knot with a smaller hook about a foot or higher above the weight. The ideal way to fish a drop shot is to cast out and do two or three bounces and let the bait slowly fall. The last way is to Texas rig it and fish it but drag it along the bottom and bounce it. Buy it here.
The Berkeley hit stick is one of my goto smallmouth baits, it is meant to be fished by straight retrieve for about two or three feet then give it a jerk or two to imitate a dying baitfish. This bait can dive from 3-12 feet. There are two sizes, the 3.5” and 5.5” the 3.5 dives 3-6 feet and the 5.5 will dive from 6-12 feet due to how fast you retrieve. It has 11 colors, there are so many colors that work very well but I would stick to a baitfish color. The color shown above is my personal favorite and I have caught several 3+ pound smallies on this jerk bait. What I like to do that I don’t hear of much anymore is when you feel the bait hit the bottom, by hitting rocks you should stop the bait. Let it float a couple of inches then continue the retrieve because that pause gives the smallmouth a chance to eat it if they are a little more finicky. Buy it here.
Ned rigs are by far the cheapest option if you are looking to get into smallmouth fishing. A ned rig is about a total of 1.5-2 inches, many many companies make this style of bait. There are hundreds of colors and sizes. There are lots of different jig head weights that you can get to how deep you are fishing. This bait is meant to be a small insect or really can be whatever you want it to be. How you fish it is by casting out and bouncing it off the bottom, this bait is usually used in the spring when smallies are spawning and fished by bouncing on their beds. I know several people who swear by this bait to catch every fish in its path. Buy it here.
Green Bay Smallmouth Bass Lures
Tube Baits are amazing lures that are at the top of Green Bay smallmouth bass Lures. Spinnerbaits are highly effective lures for smallmouth bass, as well as almost any other species of gamefish in freshwater. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are both very popular lures for smallmouth bass when the fish are active.
Some of the more productive lures for smallmouth in streams are 1/4-ounce spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Many of the best bass fishing lures are smaller versions of the ones used on bigmouth. Jigging spoons are among the best bass deepwater fishing lures, though they are seldom fished by most bass anglers.
This combination makes the most spoons a great option for those anglers that have a large body of water they have to cover to find fish. The best spoons for smallmouth bass cover just about every scenario, from bottom-straining fish to topwater feeders that are aggressive, going after minnows and damselflies. There is no better way to catch smallmouth when they are aggressive than topwater lures, certainly when conditions are right.
While smallmouth are a lot like bigmouth, and they will populate the same areas and eat the same lures, in bodies of water where smallmouth are the dominant species of bass, like deeper, more pristine northern lakes, you are going to need to adjust your techniques and presentations, and make adjustments in not just how you fish, but your bait choices. When shifting focus from bigmouth to smallmouth, fishing different areas will be far more effective than changing up lures, but using these classic smallmouth baits will allow you to get a lot more in tune.
Swiftwater smallmouth would typically be bigger and stronger than those caught on creeks, and through the years, specific lures and types of baits emerged as a must-have on each and every smallmouth fishing trip. Whether fishing Snake, Potomac, John Day, New, Niagara, Susquehanna, Shenandoah, or lesser-known streams visited only by locals, the best smallmouth bass lures will produce smallmouths summer to fall. Otherwise, if using lures is your preference, you can choose one of these popular smallmouth bass lures.
Bladed Swim Jigs are also highly effective in hot summer months, as well as late fall, when there are a lot more smallmouth in deeper waters. Lipless crankbaits still may work through deeper water, but are best at shallower areas to catch the smallmouth bass moving down in for a feed on a baitfish.
You can target suspended Bass in deeper water, or simply crank a Crankbait through the shallows looking for Bass moving in to feed on baitfish. When the bass are moving deep (15-30 feet), it is not unusual for some anglers to get some grouping Bass when jigging vertically on Bass hanging around schooling baitfish. Generally, anglers may be fishing all finesse soft plastic lures in a similar manner, pulling and bobbing baits across the bottom.
Anytime you are having trouble getting a bite on other lures, be it extremely cold water temps or warmer ones, these soft plastics often will do. You can rig whatever soft plastics you like onto your spinnerbaits, however, most anglers report better success imitating fish lures like shad, glow lights, and other types of minnows. Artificial lures enable anglers to cover more water, while also getting a trigger for bites on fish that are not actively fishing.
Many times, baits can be cast on rocks or sandy bottoms on an open hook such as tube without having to worry so much about getting caught in the weeds. I love using crankbaits for floating when you are rapidly moving through the water and need a bait you can retrieve at moderate or rapid speed. I find that these lures work well for all types of situations, and hopefully, they will be helpful to you in your quest to catch the bass smallmouth.
The Coffee Tube is a powerful, all-around bait that will help you land a smallmouth anywhere it swims. In addition to being great at catching smallmouths along the bottom of the water, this lure produces a caffeine smell, thus its Coffee Tube name. For the smallmouth angler that is cash-strapped or budget-conscious, however, this is a lure that you are going to want to pick up.
As its name suggests, this crankbait is slightly smaller in size compared to the other models offered for bigmouth. The Divine Swim Jig also features a quality Mustad 1/0 hook, the hook is super strong for the smaller spinnerbaits size, and while the bait is smaller, you will have no trouble hauling in huge bass of more than 5 pounds.
The jigs are great bigmouth lures as well, and these lures will also catch bigmouths. Smaller soft plastics might not produce the same action that some other bass lures, but they offer a simple food item so that any fish would be hard-pressed not to take a bite, thus being great Bass producers. All finesse soft plastic lures are great on rocks piles and sand beds for finding smallmouth bass cruisers.
The best Green Bay smallmouth bass Lures for pre-spawning smallmouth bass include mid-drop crankbaits with crawfish or fire tiger shades, jig tips with chunks of plastic, and plastic grubs. Brown bass will be scattered around gravel bank edges of the channel and around the body of the lake, so try moving lures like white or chartreuse spinnerbaits or mid-diving crankbaits in crawfish, fire tiger or bluegill colors. Most smallmouth anglers use eight-ounce jig heads with three-inch tubes as their standard rigs for channel fish, and colors including black, brown, pumpkin, olive and root beer patterns have caught fish all season.