Spring Bassin’ Memories


Well, here we are again, the dawn of another season of sunshine, warmth and smallmouth. I don’t know about you but the only thing that keeps me going in the winter is the memories of an early spring bronzeback busting the water in my favorite fishin’ hole, the Snake River.

This year I’m especially looking forward to going fishing because I have committed myself more than ever to getting back to nature and some of my first outings will include the shores near my childhood home on the Snake River in Homedale. In these deceivingly shallow waters lies some of the finest smallmouth action in the entire state. I’ll never forget my first hook set into a three and half pounder the year I started bass fishing.

smallmouth on crankbait

A good Idaho smallmouth slashing a crankbait in the springtime

It was a brisk late March day when all of a sudden my line began to dart down stream, leaving a vee-shaped streak like it was going to take-off. “Kaboom!” The water opened up! Thrashing and twisting in the glimmering early morning sunlight the big smallmouth tired reluctantly as it surged back and forth in an attempt to get away. But it was to no avail. I won and, needless to say, I was hooked for life after that day.

I was even more surprised than both the fish and my partner when I slid the hefty lunker up on the shore. As I remember, I had just put on a new lure. It was one that I had just sort of invented and I was amazed that it worked with such experience on my part. I guess you could call it luck but then I wouldn’t be able to explain why Mister Twister and Mepps Spinners eventually got together and packaged the very lure I concocted on a hunch. Too bad it wasn’t as a result of my contacting them with the idea.

It was a number three red and white Mepps with a chartreuse Mister Twister double tail 3” worm pulled over the treble hook as a trailer. Oh, well! I guess I can feel good about having an idea that worked. In fact it worked so well I caught a lot of nice smallmouth with it on the “riv,” as one of my bassin’ colleagues calls it. Don’t worry, this time I will be sure and get a patent on it before anyone gets wind of it. Besides I can’t give away all my secrets can I?

No, but I can tell you that using active colored baits like 4” grubs in crawdad patterns of reds, browns, greens and blacks are good bets for spring fishing. Also crawdad pattern crankbaits work well in or near rocky shoals and reefs, especially later in the day as the water begins to warm up. Keep your lure presentations slow at first, increasing the speed of your retrieve as the water temperature begins to rise in late spring. And don’t forget, never leave home without your Mepps Killer Kit!

Stick to areas near feeder streams and shallow water near deeper drop offs. Smallmouth will be getting nervous this time of year and as each day wears on they will become increasingly compulsive about finding food and favorable spawning areas. Usually these areas have been used in the past, so if you’ve located some quality fish in a particular area last spring, go back to that same location as often as possible and sooner or later they’ll be back.

That’s exactly what my partner and I did recently, and let me tell you, I continue to be impressed with the quality and numbers of healthy smallmouth at my ole’ fishin’ hole can produce. There is nothing like knowing there is someplace you can go to catch fish without being elbow to elbow with the rest of the world, thank God I live in Idaho!

Photo by Sharon Watson


More Information:

9 Great Spots for Idaho Spring Fishing

Best Bassin’ of the Southwest