Extreme Low Flows and Smallmouth Bass

N. Metz

Active Member
This year the rivers are way, way down in Minnesota. Sounds like they're low in a lot of places. The flows this June are significantly lower than they are most years at the end of August/ beginning of September when they hit annual lows. Unless we get some rain, there's barely going to be any water in the rivers by the end of summer. This summer has also been unusually hot.

The few times I have been out for Smallmouth this year, the fishing has been quite bad. Today I didn't see a single fish in the few hours I was out. Typically, especially at lower flows, I see fish when I am walking along the river quite often. My question is this: Where the hell are the fish?

The two rivers I've fished this year have lakes connected to them. One river has a few lakes connected to it. Is it likely that a lot of fish have went back into the lakes to find better conditions? Have they sought out the deepest water the can find in the river? Does anyone have any insight or experience with a similar situation? How do you change your approach to river smallies when rivers are pitifully low?

We got over an inch of rain this past weekend and I am shocked at at how low the rivers still are. I guess all the rain was absorbed by the dry ground before it made it to the river.

Thanks for the help everybody.

Nick
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
I wonder if water temps don’t play a roll.
When I was there a couple weeks ago, the Mississippi water temps were like bath water.
I caught some smallies, but it wasn’t stellar.
I know bass are warmwater fish but I have to think at times they go through the doldrums based on water temps and weather.

I was also fishing in the middle of the day due to some other obligations, so the heat and bright sunshine likely weren’t helping my cause.
I’d think crack of dawn or fishing until dark would be the best option.
SF
 

N. Metz

Active Member
Stonefish, I definitely think the water temps are a factor, especially with the low flows. Smallies seem to be a bit more sensitive to water temp than Largemouth.

Guess I need to go and hit the deepest pools I know.
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
Are smallmouth bass considered a warm water fish?!? I didn’t know that. Seems like they shouldn’t be…..

They’ve always been considered a warmwater fish, but maybe you can petition the state to change it to a coldwater fish and replace the steelhead as the official state fish.
Steelhead will be extinct soon so let’s get an early jump on its replacement.
SF
 

DerekWhipple

Active Member
Are smallmouth bass considered a warm water fish?!? I didn’t know that. Seems like they shouldn’t be…..
They prefer colder water than LMB (high 60's to 70's), but it is still way too hot for trout.


When it got to be summer in Indiana and the rivers and creeks would start to look bony, they would stack up in deeper spots. Most of the creeks at that time of year were super shallow riffles that dumped into deeper holes. Find a spring or a shady spot with oxygenated water. That's my guess anyway.
 

triploidjunkie

Active Member
My experience is they go back into lakes if it is an option. If they can't get back to bigger water, they'll sulk in the deepest pools they can find. They should be stacked up and noticable, so I'm guessing they fled to the lakes.
 

triploidjunkie

Active Member
My experience is they go back into lakes if it is an option. If they can't get back to bigger water, they'll sulk in the deepest pools they can find. They should be stacked up and noticable, so I'm guessing they fled to the lakes.
 

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