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Fly-By-Night
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Never targeted Smallies but I have to go back to N. Indiana for 3.5 months. Planning on hitting the St. Joe, Kankakee, Dowagiac in S. MI and anywhere else you guys suggest. I'll be taking casting and spinning gear, along with single hand and Spey setups but I'll start another thread in the fly section for that.

What are your favorite lures and methods for spring through early summer? Also areas to target....... Downed trees, gravel, sand, deep, shallow.....Etc.

I will have a small boat with me, if that makes a difference in the advice given.

Thanks
 

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The one freshwater show that really concentrates on the “how to” of fishing every kind of freshwater that I’ve seen is the In Fisherman... Wouldn’t be surprised at all to find lots of shows on smallies archived there.

Good luck - post up what you find. Many years ago I used to find big smallies under bridges in North Alabama of all places -this was mid sixties...
 

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1A7BBE09-5831-4410-AD72-CC56F317BE72.jpeg 8857AC54-1D3E-4D3B-8AFE-787902941B1F.jpeg F33C5B2D-DDC4-4483-BB72-932DFBA87CF2.jpeg Kalamazoo river in July

What months are you going to be up there and where are you going to be staying. I grew up in the Midwest and still travel up to Michigan every summer. Spring steelhead is pretty epic. You can find some monster Smallmouth fishing in those rivers.

If you are river fishing steelhead are around till sometime in April. Depends on temps
May-Oct are usually pretty good for smallmouth. Most of the stretches in the rivers you mentioned you will be casting at structure along the bank...downed tree's ect. Anything that breaks the current. smallmouth like faster water than largemouth, but slower than trout. My favorite lure for conventional tackle is a mepps spinner size 2 or 3, but small spinnerbaits work great. Simple answer for the fly tackle any flies that sink fast and has a good action. Clouser's were made for smallmouth and they work great. Flo pink and Chartreuse or black if the water is really dirty, I like an all flash (gold over silver) Clouser for clear water.

If you want a cool long weekend trip Look up Wilderness State park and Carp or smallmouth fishing. Lake Michigan is crystal clear and you get to Sight fishing for Monster carp, or try catching the bruiser smallmouth that are up there. You have to hit the weather right. The flats are pretty exposed so wind can be tough. May is usually best, but again depends on temps.
 

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Fly-By-Night
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies. This thread was from early 2017, I can report back that I did find the Smallies up there. Had the most fun throwing gurglers on a 6wt switch rod. And small streamers on a 5wt.

They liked the green and chart gurglers with white and chart tail. #4 and #6 seemed to be the ticket. The small leech pattern streamers were good in tan and black, most with a cone head.
 
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