Western New York Fishing Magazine

Big Water Spring Smallmouth Success in WNY

The days are getting longer, the sun shining brighter. The temperature is on the rise, or at least should be. The snow and ice is melting and there is more and more open water every day. It is officially spring and that means it’s one of the most exciting times to fish in Western New York.  Maybe it’s that the cure for cabin fever is in sight, or perhaps just that it’s no longer necessary to dress for an arctic expedition to grab a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk from the corner store.

The itch to get on the water is starting to set in heavy, but its best to stay out of the boat until spring has fully sprung. Swinging flies for steelhead has brought some success and a temporary fix. A few inland trout have been landed and are in the freezer helping to pass the time. Finally the wait is over and it’s time to chase the Lake Erie Bronzeback.

This fish was caught in April dragging a Strike King bitsy tube 2 3/4" green pumpkin up a bank inside the breakwall just outside of the NFTA Small Boat Harbor in the sheltered harbor area of Lake Erie in Buffalo, NY

This fish was caught in April dragging a Strike King bitsy tube 2 3/4″ green pumpkin up a bank inside the breakwall just outside of the NFTA Small Boat Harbor in the sheltered harbor area of Lake Erie in Buffalo, NY

Some of the best smallmouth bass fishing of the year can be had in the spring months on Lake Erie’s near shore reefs, harbors and its tributaries as well as the Finger Lakes region. This means a couple of things, first that all angers; shore and boat alike, with fly, spin or casting tackle have an opportunity to land quality fish and that it’s not necessary to wander too far from shore, or launch points.

Although immediately after ice out there isn’t too much smallmouth bass action, with longer days and more intense sunlight the water and action and heat up quick. Once the water temp starts to hit, what seems like magical, 40 degrees things start to change. There are two techniques that come to mind as a starting point for finding these very early season pre-spawners, dragging tubes, and throwing jerkbaits. Both of which can be fished in the same type of water being any ledge, rock pile, or drop off nearest to gravel or sand flat.

Forget about off shore structure at this time of year and work closer to shore, and in and around break wall areas. Sheltered areas or areas with banks facing the sun tend to warm up slightly faster bringing the fish in sooner

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About Randy B

Working in Winter Sports, Randy has made it his "job" to be on the water as much as possible in the spring and summer months. Born and raised outside of Syracuse NY, Higher Education brought him to WNY and he hasn't left since. Coming from a family rooted in the sportsman tradition, he has dedicated the last few years to Kayak Fishing and the evolution of the sport in WNY.

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