Fishing is always good on Smith Lake, but each season seems to bring it’s own specialized challenges and rewards. As most of us know, lake level during the late fall and winter period is traditionally lower than in the spring and summer months. And, according to Reed Montgomery of www.fishingalabama.com, the schools of spotted bass and largemouth bass easily adjust to these falling water levels. They are used to fluctuating lake levels on our lake (up or down).
There are many factors that drive bass towards deep water. Most bass are already adjusting to deep water due dryer and much hotter summer conditions, recreational water vehicles and boaters lake wide and some very clear water as well. All of these are negative fishing factors and tend to show up in summer daytime bass fishing for both spotted bass and largemouth bass really slow down in July and August. But things seem to look up in the fall months on Smith Lake. Montgomery continues, “There is also some excellent bream fishing, cat fishing, crappie fishing, white bass and striped bass fishing to be had on Smith Lake. As waters cool the fishing for all these species gets even better. Keep in mind there have been largemouth’s over 10 pounds and some up in the ‘teens’ taken on Smith Lake in past fall and winter seasons.”
Montgomery also offers the following advice for Fall Bass Fishing on Smith Lake:
Spotted Bass: Smith Lake is made up of thousands of schools of spotted bass. Unlike the homebodies the largemouth bass, these feisty little fighting bass roam the lake in huge wolf packs in search of an easy meal. They are usually following the bait fish schools around and feeding on threadfin shad and gizzard shad. Or spotted bass can roam the lake searching the shallows for other meals like small catfish, crappie, bedding bream and crayfish. They may feed on small worms, eels, snakes, small minnows, insects and other small prey. So lures that look similar to these smaller meals they feed on work very well in Smith Lake’s clear waters. Spotted bass do have a small mouth and they may prefer to feed on meals that are small, especially when compared to the feeding habits of the notoriously labled, largemouth bass, some of which can easily devour a one pound shad. But don’t rule out fishing for spotted bass with oversized lures. They can be taken with big, oversized lures usually reserved for fishing for stripers or largemouth bass. Lures like big worms or jig combos fished on bottom, or oversized floating and suspending model jerkbaits, big gaudy spinnerbaits and zara spook topwater lures can fool even the weariest of spotted bass.
Largemouth Bass: The largemouth bass of Smith Lake get little recognition. There are plenty of largemouth’s in the 3-5 pound range in this lake. And they can get up to 10 pounds or slightly more on rare occasions. They are surprisingly shallow, found in the fall season hanging around wood cover like laydown trees, logs, stumps and brush. Rocky points or rock bluffs featuring wood cover are attractive to Smith Lake’s largemouth. Or, if an angler can fish whatever piers and boat houses are still in the water at low pool. These largemouth bass can be fooled with topwaters like buzzbaits and zara spooks, sammies or over sized poppers. They may be very skittish due to water clarity and hit smaller topwaters like baby torpedoes, pop-rs, the spittin’ image, the poppin’ image or very small buzzbaits. As fall rains increase on Smith Lake the mid-to-far back ends of major feeder creeks, the lake’s headwaters will display current and a stained look to the water. This gives these feeding bass a feeling of security. This is when spinnerbaits are excellent lure choices. So are crankbaits, floating and suspending jerkbaits and a whole list of Texas rigged worms, Carolina rigged worms and small finesse worms fished on jig heads, all that will fool both spotted bass and largemouth bass as waters cool and winter approaches.