My brother is coming to fish the Niagara with me this weekend for the first time. He wants to smallmouth fish. I am not much of a bass fisherman and was wondering if anyone has any insight on techniques and locations to hit this time of year? He has both a Canadian and NY license.
Kevin K and I fished the Grass Island area last night with no action.
I fish smallmouths once in a while. My most used technique is drop-shotting. I use 6lb test and tie a hook to the line with a palomar (sp?) knot, leaving a 12 to 24 inch tag line. At the end of the tag line I'll tie a 1/8 to 1/2 ounce sinker, depending on wind and current. I attach a 3" shad colored gulp minnow to the hook through the nose. You could use live bait or crayfish if you prefer.
My favorite locations this time of year are the Canadian shoreline above the Peace Bridge from the old broken pier to the beginning of the cement wall along Fort Erie. Drift anywhere between 8 and 30 foot depths. You'll see other boats doing the same.
Another good drift is from the South Grand Island Bridge down past the power lines along the GI side of the river. 10 to 25 foot depths. I've found the deeper you go, the bigger the fish. But you'll probably catch more, but smaller fish, in the shallower depths.
Other areas include the drift below Thompsons to the International Bridge, and the waters in front of Strawberry (start mid-river near adjacent to the mouth of the canal).
I've also have had success (and probably more fun) casting small crankbaits shallow along and above any shoreline weed edges.
The bass are everywhere, so don't be afraid to explore and experiment a little. I used to catch a lot of nice bass down the west river - in front of Beaver Island and down towards Staley's reef.
My brother now hates (or at least he pretends to) musky fishing, so when he jumps on board we bass fish. Don't forget about large mouth. Cast frogs, buzzbaits and spinnerbaits around the sloppiest weeds you can find, or pitch docks. It doesn't hurt if these areas are around creek mouths. We mostly drop shot for bronzebacks on mid-river structure this time of year, but a few of the green buggers to the boat is always fun.
Good luck, and what is it about brothers and bass fishing?
Derek...I don't go out purposely for smallies, except occasionally in the springtime, but I have had days where I can't keep them off, even in the summer. One of my fav spots (it's not in the river) is at the South Gap on the lake side. Do a fast troll with a hot-n-tot, shad rap or anything with a big lip & short, fat body. I learned from a guy that if you troll fast (>2-2.5 mph), you'll get a reaction strike rather than a feeding strike. Smallies are notorious for that.
Best troll is parallel to the wall in about 15-21 ft of H2O. get shallower than 12', you'll get weeds. Go deeper, there's no structure.
I'll see people fishing for bass just about everytime I'm out fishing the outside of the breakwall, esp at the three gaps. I'll put another post on a sleeper spot for largemouths. Good luck!
Thank you everyone for the information on smallie fishing!
Scott, I am not sure what it is about brothers and smallies, haha. hopefully if I can get him to hook into a musky he will forget about the smallies.