Lake Huron Spawning Smallmouth, May 20 to 22

Broken Barb Hooks Clouser Minnow Patterns Marabou Banger Popper Mopworm Jigs Opal Minnow Jig

The Michigan Fly Fishing Club does a big outing at the tip of the Thumb, usually the weekend before Memorial Day Weekend.  Its a good time to go but expect a lot of guys on the water that weekend.  We fish spots from Quanicassee to Huron City.

I fished the river mouth pond of a small natural flowing stream.  The water was deep and still with visibility of maybe 4 feet.  Lead eyed Clouser Minnows in Brown, White and Chartreuse or other Chartreuse combinations are always good to get deep 6 or 7 feet down and get lots of fish here.  The first few bass and a good Sheephead took a Heavy White Clouser.  Later a lighter brown Clouser worked well.  The Surprise was how much better Bead Head Black MopWorm Leachs and Hellmgramites worked.  Also some smallmouth bass hit poppers in shallower water or when they were blitzing minnows on top.

I got maybe half a dozen 6 inch Largemouth Bass which were probably born in this river mouth pond.  This is good largemouth habitat so expect to see more and bigger largemouth in the future.  When there is more current in the channel you might hook a walleye, carp or any of a number of species found in Lake Huron.  Pike are usually a threat to bite off your flies here.

  • BeadHead MopLeech   (Marabou is a good tail substitute)
  • Hook        # 6 to #2 60 Jig J1960BN or Down Eye Wet Fly  Hook
  • Bead        4.5 to 5.0mm,  Bright Metalic or Black Nickel
  • Thread    Fire Orange, 210D or 140D 
  • UnderBody  Mop Chenille butts bound down to shank     
  • Tail          Forward of the bend, Mop Chenille, twist tighter, fold back & retie
  • Rear Body  2 turns of mop chenille (optional)
  • Main body  Dubbing to match tail color, tied over built up chenille base
  • Hot Spot     Band of bright thread wraps behind the bead 

 June 3, two weeks later, I returned to this river, tried poppers upstream in it's clearer warmer tributary and had one good smallmouth on and a few more hits on a 3/0 White Marabou Banger.  No popper hits down stream in the main river.  Experimenting with several untried bead head flies got maybe one or two fish on each.  A shiny Silver BeadHead Dark Purple MopLeech Jig got 4 fish on the first 7 casts and more after that.  The Black MopLeech version had been similarly effective 2 weeks earlier. A  gold bead dark brown Marabou Leach pattern worked well also.

In the overall clearer water today, I observed a smallmouth bass behavior that is like when schooled up saltwater fish "rally".  As you catch fish, the remaining fish are excited by the fighting fish and bite more aggressively.  I saw one to maybe to seven fish harassing and following hooked fish in shallower water.  These following fish were the same size or frequently bigger.  When you miss a hit or a fish gets off in deep water, if you can quickly return to a rip and fall retrieve, you can frequently hook another fish.

At the mouth, an alternating rip current was alternately pulling colder clear lake water back "upstream" into the river channel before reversing to flush warmer muddier river water out into the lake.  There were no biting fish to be found in the cold clear water that moved inside the channel.  Mostly no fish could be caught in the muddy plume of river water when it flowed out into the lake.  Out in the clear lake, fish could be caught casting to rocks and deeper water around the mouth.  A flashy pearl white and silver jiggy bucktail pattern works well for that.

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