I was on that trip with Fishon1 in early June. We knew it was a big fish compared to what we had been catching but we didn’t know how remarkable it was for the John Day. Later we talked to the BLM employee responsible for keeping the campsites clean. I can’t remember the specifics of what he said. It was something to the effect that he had fished the John Day a 100 days a year for the last the 10 years and hadn’t caught one that big.
Thats nuts....A huge smallmouth indeed. The thing is, it seems the john day is just loaded with smaller fish. The only places that are public that ive done well with big bass seem to be the columbia and snake, i guess they are just harder to find in the tribs, unless it is spawning time. One thing to try, upsize flies and toss a floating fly on sinking line to get a suspending action. Helluva fish.