September smallies get aggressive in WNC

Western NC’s smallmouth bass get aggressive as water temps begin to cool down this month.

September, at least the majority of it, is just another summer month, but for Matt Evans of the Catawba Angler in Western NC, change is in the air. And it’s a good change.

“September is one of my favorite months to guide, because it is a transition month. The beginning of the month can still be hot, but we start to experience those cooler fronts that remind us that fall is near,” he said.

And these cold fronts really perk up the smallmouth bass, and their appetites.

“Those cold fronts trigger smallmouth bass into feeding aggressively,” he said.

It also changes the diets of these fish, since more types of food become readily available to them this time of year.

“The primary diet for river smallmouth in the summertime consists of crayfish. But when water temperatures drop in late September, smallmouth start eating shiners, chubs and minnows,” he said.

And that opens up possibilities for fly anglers, as well as those fishing with conventional gear.

“It’s always fun casting big flies, or throwing big plugs to aggressive smallmouth,” said Evans (828-460-2390).

This is a great month for numbers of smallmouth, but it’s also good for big fish, especially later in the month. Evans said October is probably when most anglers catch their biggest smallmouth, but plenty of big ones are also caught toward the end of September, at least during certain years when the weather cooperates.

Smallmouth love low water levels

And even before the cold fronts move in, September is usually a time of low water levels, and this also makes for great river smallmouth fishing.

Low water is great for wet wading, and it’s also great because it concentrates fish into smaller areas. That means anglers that find deep holes in whatever river they’re fishing will find fish stacked up. This also allows anglers to get a good look at all the hiding spots up and down the river.

During these low water periods, it’s even more important than normal to keep your distance and try to keep hidden from the fish. Even when they are essentially trapped in the deeper holes with no escape routes, they will develop lockjaw if they sense danger nearby.

Long casts aren’t always necessary, just as long as you keep a low profile, but the ability to make long casts will give you more options and enhance your experience.

Evans said September is also time to begin chasing trout.

“The best time to trout fish is from October to May, but when tempeartures drop in September, we will chase trout in some of our local trout streams.

“Some years, the water temperature will drop below 65 degrees in late September, which is ideal for chasing trout. And the trout fishing will only get better from here,” he said.

Book your trip with Evans at

About Brian Cope 2787 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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