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Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tactics & Techniques on Dinorwic Lake

Smallmouth Bass are actually an invasive species and not indigenous to the arctic watershed. Over the years they have been making their way north and west. Normally when Smallmouth Bass move into a lake they quickly proliferate and become one of the dominant species. In some cases they have devastated other fishing populations. Dinorwic Lake has two unlikely knights in shining armor that will not let the bass take over. We are referring to our fantastic Muskie and Northern Pike.

Because of the high population of Muskie and Northern Pike, there is an extremely high mortality rate for young Smallmouth Bass. Some do survive to become adults and the rich nutrient water of Dinorwic Lake lets them grow fast and get big. With this in mind, you need to use tactics that will entice big bass because big bass is all your going to get in Dinorwic Lake.

Still Days: On still days when the water surface is like glass, the Smallmouth Bass are feeding but they tend to explore their area and get spread out alone the shore. Sometimes baitfish will feel too vulnerable and head deeper into darker water and the Smallmouth Bass will follow them. If you are not hitting fish at rocky points or over rocky shoals, try covering some area and troll along the shore about 15 yards out and cast towards shore with small Mepps Black Furies or Blue Rapalas or Blue Thundersticks.

Gone Deep: If the bass have gone deeper, try sinking blue, black or worm-colored tub jigs off in the deeper water that is just off the shoal or rocky point. If it's late summer or fall, the Smallmouth Bass may go as deep as 28 feet, which is the bottom of Dinorwic Lake. In this case, you may want to use your depth finder and find shelves and ridges down at the 15-foot mark that are adjacent to the 28-foot depth. Smallmouth Bass will hang around drop-offs and ridges so they can quickly change depth in case of large fluctuations of atmospheric pressure. Baitfish seem to congregate along ridges after coming out of open water. It's the closest to protective structure that they can find. If the wind dies down, take off the jigs and put a big fat worm on a hook with no weight and just let the worm slowly sink.

Windy Days: When it's windy and sunny, that is the very best time for Smallmouth Bass. Normal behavior is to patrol around and on top of the shoals. When it's windy, the big Smallmouth Bass will move to the backside of the shoal on the opposite side of where the waves are hitting the rocks. This is also true for points. The bass will move to the backside of the point. They may come up shallow or site back in 5 to 10 feet of water. You can cast with lures because they will keep their eye on the shallow water and come up and hit lures just under the surface. You can also try some lures that go deeper. The very best way to get the big Smallmouth is to get a good size bass hook and put on a big worm with no weight and cast out and let the worm slowly sink. What you can do is un-clip your bail and let the bass take the worm and run with it for 10 second before setting the hook. You can also use the same technique with a live minnow, if you are on a lake that allows live bait. Some of the biggest bass are taken this way.

When it's windy, Smallmouth Bass will also head towards a rocky shoreline. Depending on how big the waves are, the bass will sit off in 5 to 10 feet of water but stay close to where the waves are pounding the shoreline. Big waves bring in warm surface water and surface food, which attracts minnows. The big waves also cause an oscillation in the water that the bass do not like. They site off-shore in quiet water but close enough to the turbulence to see unsuspecting prey.

Rain and low pressure: Generally the Smallmouth Bass will go deep and stop feeding when it's raining or if a low-pressure system moves into the area. They don't always stop feeding. In this case, try heavy tub jigs and fish a lot deeper. On small inland lakes, the bass will go 15 to 20 feet deep. On big lakes, people have found incredible success fishing 30 to 40 feet deep using tube jigs.

Sunny and Hot: In some lakes, the bass will hide in thick weeds. This is a good time to try weedless rubber baits like a Texas Rig or a Carolina Rig. These rigs are usually used for Largemouth Bass but can be effective for thick-cover Smallmouth Bass. In a lake like Dinorwic Lake where there is a high population of giant Muskie and Pike, the Smallmouth Bass may not feed while in the weeds.

Get Bass Out of the Weeds: An old Perch fishing trick that my father taught me was to drive your boat into the thick weeds. Then throw your anchor out and drag the anchor out of the weeds with your boat and let the anchor drag a big mess of weeds with it. This stirs up the bottom and the weeds. All the bugs and brine shrimp start swimming around. This attracts minnows and small Perch. If you wait 5 to 10 minutes, it will attract large Perch and Smallmouth Bass. Then you just fish right under your boat.

Smallmouth Bass are also very curious fish. If you go swimming along the shore with a mask and snorkel, you will see that Smallmouth Bass are following you. They are attracted to splashing just like sharks and crocodiles. If you don't get much luck after dragging the weeds out, start splashing your hands in the water for a couple of minutes. Dinorwic Lake is not choked with weeds like some lakes so the splashing technique might be best.

Generally the Smallmouth Bass are 3 pounds and bigger and travel in mating pairs. They will also have a territory and try to keep the smaller bass and Walleyes out. If you find a spot that looks really good for Smallmouth Bass and you are not catching any, most likely there is a pair of really big bass in the area. They are big because they are smart. Be very quiet and try casting with lures or jigs. If you don't get anything, leave the area for an hour and then come back quietly and try using some slow baits that will not spook them. A big worm on a hook with no weight is the very best. If you still don't get anything, it may means a big Muskie or pike is in the area. That's when you put on some bigger lures and try to catch Muskie or Pike. There are hundreds of islands and shoals to fish on Dinorwic Lake.