Bass Fly Fishing

by Ray Kendrick, SFBCA member.

My Trout fishing takes a hiatus during the dog days of summer when the water temps of my favorite rivers exceed 70F . Catching and releasing a Trout when the water temperature is high can have a negative impact on a Trout’s ability to recover from the fight.   There are some streams that stay cold, like the upper reaches
of the Wilmot, where I measured 54F in July!, and unless I was mistaken, that’s cold, but such streams are few and far between in southern Ontario. 

Anyway, I give them a break when it’s007 hot, and go find something else to bug, like my Kids, Pike, or… Smallmouth Bass!   We’ve all heard that expression, “Ounce for Ounce, Pound for Pound……” or variations of in regards to the fighting ability of Small Mouth Bass, and they are especially fun on a fly rod, and luckily for us  they are widely available in many of our lakes and rivers.

Although I enjoy fishing the rivers and streams East of Toronto, which I have discovered since becoming a member of our club, my ‘home rivers’ are the Credit and the Grand.  That is where I discovered
Fly Fishing, and it’s an area I have come to feel…well I guess…’at home’.  It’s likely you will have some company at the main access points, but there are miles and miles of river that are overlooked where you can find solitude and fish.  But even those that you encounter, will give you plenty of berth.
Here’s a favourite ‘Bass’ spot I like to fish on the Upper Grand. This is west of Orangeville. There no Trout up here, north of the Belwood dam. The Browns reside below the dam, where there is an excellent Tailwater fishery which extends to about West Montrose before getting too warm again for Trout.


Choosing flies is much less technical with Bass than it is for Trout, and many of the Trout flies that we readily carry are just fine, such as wooly buggers, streamers, nymphs,  and dries. There are also specialty flies designed with Bass in mind, such as poopers and Crayfish patterns.

When fishing Bass in a river or stream, I use the same 5wt rod, reel and floating as I use for most of my Trout
fishing. That setup is quite comfortable when the bass are small to average. There are times I move up to my 7wt, especially if I’m fishing bigger waters where I know BIG Bass are present, such as Georgian Bay for example.

The 7wt’s reel  is spooled with a Bass Taper fly line, which simply means it is designed to push heavier flies,
and comes in handy when it’s windy, or I’m using a sinking tip, especially on those bigger waters.
Bass Brown Bay GB 2
I use three presentations when presenting a fly to Bass in a river. They are swinging, retrieving and dead drift. With Swinging I will cast a wet fly (any sub-surface fly) straight out or slightly upstream and just let it ‘swing’ until it’s downstream directly below me, and I may add some twitching/retrieving during the swing. If I’m using a streamer, I’ll cast out and retrieve the fly at different stripping speeds. Lastly, and this my favourite when I’m getting tired of ‘working’ my fly, is simply tie on a subsurface fly, like a nymph, or wooly bugger, add a bit weight if required, attach an indicator and dead drift.
If I was going to mention a fourth presentation….I’d say a dry fly, or any surface pattern, but I have not tried it, so I won’t talk about it. …..but if I do give it a go…..I think a hopper or a popper would be worth a try.


About adminsfbca

Scarborough Fly and Bait Casting Association.
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One Response to Bass Fly Fishing

  1. Geoff says:

    Nice article Ray.


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