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Summer time on my local river usually means shallow, clear, and very warm water. It’s also one of my favorite times of the year to fish. The water is warm so the smallmouths metabolism is high causing them to feed more often and or feed on bigger meals. This time of the year and conditions also fits right into my favorite styles of fishing, power fishing while covering water. The fish are scattered, for the most part, and there are a variety of patterns and baits/presentations you can employ to target them. I want to share with you some of my top producing patterns that consistently result in trophy size smallmouth during this time of year and under these water conditions.

Shallow gravel flats: Bass use these areas to ambush baitfish. They’ll push the baitfish up to exposed gravel areas or humps to trap them in. This is also one of the few times I’ll find more than one fish. They’ll hunt these areas in wolf packs working together to corral schools of baitfish into these dead end zones.

Exposed grass islands: Fishing grass islands can tend to be trial and error. I’ve found smallmouth using them differently from day to day so I fish them thoroughly to see how they are relating to them. The top side, edges, and back side. Also try to determine if they are relating to islands with shallower or deeper water around them. I’ve predominantly found that grass islands surrounded by good current tend to be the best producers.

Ledges: Ledges with fast moving current can be dynamite. These areas provide water richer in oxygen levels which is important during the hot months when the water temps are at their peak. Smallmouth will hide behind structure in some of the fastest moving water just waiting to ambush a meal as the current pushes everything by them.

Shade: When the sun gets up high and most other patterns begin to slow, I start targeting shaded areas. Smallmouth will stage in shade pockets to keep cool and also use the lower light levels to ambush prey. Shaded areas with some structure to hide in are prime locations.

Dams: These are great summer time locations. The water disturbance helps oxygenate the water. They are basically like a buffet for smallmouths because these areas are full of aquatic life.

Give some of these patterns a try the next time you’re out on a river. For a very high percentage spot look for areas that combine two or more of these structures/covers. Don’t be afraid to mix things up and don’t commit to just one pattern cause it’s working. Things can change from one hour to the next and often times more than one pattern will produce.

– Bill Durboraw