Ontario fishermen are so fortunate to be surrounded by thousands of rivers and lakes - including the largest freshwater lakes in the world - our Great Lakes! Recently I had the opportunity to head across the border to the USA and fish the south shore of Lake Erie. The season opens earlier for smallmouth bass in New York state and hosts numerous tournaments running from May-August. Before heading out, it is important to gauge several well-known environmental factors when fishing for smallmouth bass - wind direction (historical and forecasted), cloud cover, water temperatures, and pressure changes.
For this time of the year on Lake Erie, I prefer winds from the south or southeast, 10-18 knots. Offshore winds minimize wave heights even under higher wind conditions. Lake Erie is known for changing rapidly, making fishing undesirable and unsafe so plan the day right. Throwing out a drift sock or using the Minnkota helps to slow down and control the drift so your baits remain on the bottom.
Water temps, even surface temps can offer some indication to smallmouth activity. Once getting to the 50's you can expect more action. This is not a perfect science for numerous reasons but most guides and charters captains will always head to warmer surface water temps. If heading out, watch your temperature!
Smallmouth will hit under most cloud cover types when fishing water deeper than 25ft. Still, my preference is to stick with the now discoutinued Storm Thunderblade lure - silver/black or rainbow green/silver. Not really sure why this lure was discontinued but it is a great bait that gets you down deep, provides great vibrations, and is better than dragging a tube. A close cousin is the Kamooki Smart Fish.
Atmospheric pressure changes are thought to impact feeding behaviour of bass. Though not proven, many fishermen have experienced a "lock-jaw" effect when pressure rapidly changes from high-to-low, or low-to-high. From my experience, it is this "change in pressure" that does in fact slow down feeding - but not stop it completely. I tend to slow down retrieval rates, go with more natural colors, and even go with live bait to entice the bite. From my perspective, it is all about giving fish time to acclimate to the pressure change.
All in all, the day was great and we stored our fishing photos as waypoints using FISHBUOY Mobile. Next year, we will have the information accessible in FISHBUOY Mobile and FISHBUOY TripPlanner to help us find our spots and align our trip to the right fishing conditions.
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