Smallmouth bass fishing on the New River in northwestern North Carolina is beginning to pick up as water temperatures are on the rise, setting the stage for spawning.
“I went two weeks ago, and they still hadn’t spawned,” Marty Shaffner of Tri-State Guide Service said last Thursday, “but I’d say they’re spawning right now.
Shaffner (336-902-0044), said his anglers have been scoring with tube jigs, but spinnerbaits and jerkbaits to take over as more and more smallmouth start to spawn.
“We targeted gravelly, sandy areas adjacent to deep water two weeks ago,” he said, “but smallmouths will come to the flats to spawn and feed. The spawn is a fairly narrow window, only a week or two, and they don’t all go on the beds at the same time.”
Shaffner said most of the fish his clients have been catching have been from 12 to 14 inches long, with the exception of a 17-inch fish caught earlier this month. He said the fishing should get even better as June arrives.
Although anglers may use fly rods, but light-action spinning are using light spinning tackle.
“You downsize lures when you have low, clear water and go with bigger lures when the water is murky,” said Shaffner, whose float trips typically cover 4 to 6 miles.
Shaffner added that delayed-harvest trout fishing continues to provide good action as well.
“Mostly, you have to use single-hook artificial lures,” he said. “Trout are hitting beadheads, pheasant tails and prince nymphs, although sometimes they’ll take wooly buggers.”