Smallmouth Bass were introduced into Eagle Lake around the 1930’s. They have filled their own niche in the lake and have become a popular species sought out by anglers for their unbelievable fight. Pound per pound there isn’t a harder fighting fresh water fish. We have found in the spring that they are especially active in weedy, shallow bays that have an easterly shoreline.
Some of the best fishing for smallmouth can be found at the end of May through mid- June when they are spawning. We encourage strictly catch-and-release fishing at this time. You can’t keep any smallmouth over 35 cm or approx. 13 ¾” from Jan. 1st through June 30th. This has really helped this fishery and has made it a sought after species on Eagle Lake.
Later in the season, after they leave these shallow bays, fisherman target gravel, rubble and broken rock areas that receive the afternoon sun. Successful baits include in-line spinners, “twitched” floating minnows, Beetle Spins and various plastics. As the water temperature increases, smallmouth bass tend to move deeper, choosing offshore rock structure more than shorelines. Look to humps, reefs, tapering submerged points and saddles from 14 to 24 feet to hold these bronze backs! Jig and night crawler combinations are always a stand by method for success.
For days that there is not much wind, top water baits such as small Zara Spooks, Pop-R’s and Chug Bugs are successful artificial baits. In the fall, when the water temperature starts to drop, smallmouth can be found in even deeper areas close to submerged humps, target the 25-35 foot zones. We have had success using jig and minnow/crawler combinations or plain hook rigs.