Post Spawn Smallmouth Bass - Where Are They?

Post-spawn smallmouth bass fishing in Ontario offers exciting opportunities for anglers. As the bass transition from spawning to their summer patterns, two lure categories stand out: soft plastic baits and reaction-style baits. Let's explore how to use these effectively in Ontario's prime smallmouth bass waters.

Soft Plastic Baits for Ontario Smallmouth Bass

Here are some top choices:

1. Tube Jigs: These smallmouth magnets excel in rocky areas. Try green pumpkin or brown colors. The Xzone Lures 3.75" X-Tube and Great Lake Finesse 2.5 Juvy Craw are fantastic choices.

2. Drop Shot Rigs: Pair finesse worms with drop shot rigs for a deadly presentation in deeper water. Tackle Outfit's tungsten drop shot weights are some of the best in the business, cylinder or tear drop  Check out these soft plastic bait drop shot options. Xzone Lures Slammer, Hot Shot Minnow, Stealth Invader. Great Lakes Finesse 2.4" Juicy HellgrammiteDrop shot hooks by Gamakatsu & VMC Series

3. Ned Rigs: These compact soft plastics are perfect for finicky bass. Use them around rocky points and drop-offs.  Tungsten Ned Head Jigs by Tackle Outfit are outstanding. Must have soft plastic ned head baits, Xzone Lure 3" Ned Zone. Great Lakes Finesse 2.4" Juicy Hellgrammite

4. Soft Plastic Swimbaits: Rig these on jigheads or weedless to mimic baitfish in various water columns. Fantastic swimbaits by Xzone lure 4" Pro Series Swammer, 5.5" Mega Swammer

Reaction Baits for Aggressive Smallmouth Bass

Reaction-style baits trigger instinctive strikes from active post-spawn smallmouth. Consider these options:

1. Topwater Lures: Walking baits and poppers create explosive surface action, especially during low light. Some of the best top water hard baits are produced by Rapala, check out the Skitter V

2. Crankbaits: Medium-diving crankbaits cover water efficiently and provoke reaction strikes.

3. Jerkbaits: Suspending jerkbaits shine in clear Ontario waters, mimicking wounded baitfish.  Tried and tested, the Rapala Husky Jerk and Rapala X-Rap will always put fish in the boat!  Replacement hooks available by Gamakatsu

4. Spinnerbaits: Perfect for windy days or slightly stained water, spinnerbaits attract smallmouth with flash and vibration. This is my go to to cover a ton of water when looking for those sneaky smallmouth bass.  Some of the best spinnerbaits are produced by Terminator 

Where to Find Post-Spawn Smallmouth in Ontario

Focus your soft plastic and reaction bait presentations in these key areas:

1. Rocky Drop-offs: Use tube jigs and crankbaits along these transitional zones.

2. Submerged Humps: Drop shot rigs and jerkbaits excel over these underwater structures.

3. Weed Edges: Try soft plastic swimbaits and spinnerbaits along vegetation boundaries.

4. Current Breaks in Rivers: Ned rigs and topwater lures can be deadly in eddies and seams.

Techniques for Soft Plastic Baits and Reaction Baits

1. Vary Retrieves: Experiment with different speeds and actions for both soft plastic baits and reaction baits.

2. Match the Hatch: Choose soft plastic bait colors and reaction bait sizes that mimic local forage.

3. Cover Water: Use reaction baits to locate active fish, then switch to soft plastic baits for a finesse approach.

4. Depth Considerations: As summer progresses, use deeper-running crankbaits and longer drop shot leaders.  For superior Fluorocarbon leaders check out fishing line by Sufix

Top Ontario Smallmouth Destinations

1. Lake Erie: The eastern basin is perfect for tube jigs and deep-diving crankbaits.

2. Georgian Bay: Rocky structure here calls for Ned rigs and jerkbaits.

3. Lake of the Woods: Topwater lures and soft plastic swimbaits shine among the islands.

4. St. Lawrence River: Drop shot rigs and spinnerbaits are top producers in the Thousand Islands region.

5. Rideau Lakes: Try tube jigs and shallow-running crankbaits in this historic waterway.

Seasonal Considerations

Early post-spawn: Focus on shallower areas with topwater lures and soft plastic swimbaits.

Mid-summer: As bass move deeper, switch to drop shot rigs and deeper-running crankbaits.

Late summer: Target main lake structures with tube jigs and big jerkbaits for trophy smallmouth.

Conservation Tips

Practice catch-and-release, especially for larger smallmouth, to preserve Ontario's world-class fishery.

By mastering the use of soft plastic baits and reaction-style lures, you'll be well-equipped to tackle post-spawn smallmouth bass fishing in Ontario. Remember to adapt your approach based on conditions and fish behavior. With practice and persistence, you'll soon be catching more and bigger bronzebacks on your favorite Ontario waters.

Other Articles of Interest  - How to Fish Hellgrammites for Bass

Cylinder or Tear Drop Tungsten Fishing Weights - Determine the right situation

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