The Smallie Gods Finally Deliver!

by | Jul 7, 2024 | fly fishing for smallmouth bass | 3 comments

Matt-NortonBoy, it’s been hard to get my man Howie (Matt Norton) on the water this summer.  Howie has more company visit than anyone I know.  And when he doesn’t, he’s often busy getting the Norton estate ready for the next round of guests.

 

I’ve been razing Howie, but not too badly because he has been fishing.  He’s been chasing the Hex hatch almost every evening for the last two weeks.  But he hasn’t had the full days we need for any sort of fun adventure together.  Today however, he finally did.  We dropped his boat in in Chequamegon Bay on Lake Superior and made our first casts before 7 AM and our last around 9 PM.  You could call today my new “Marathon”.

 

fly-fishingWe targeted today because the wind was down.  While you always want a bit of wind so the fish aren’t so spooky when fishing a lake, the gales we’ve experienced much of this summer is awful to deal with.  Today was just right.  Along with this low wind forecast was a call for scattered thunderstorms and light rain showers.

 

 

Lake-SuperiorOur plan started with a drive by to the lake whitefish jigging grounds near what locals refer to as “The Green Can”.  Howie and I have dredged here with fast sinking lines and Clousers and had good success.  Even when the silvery salmonids are as deep as 40 feet.  At first glance things looked good because there were only two other boats.  But despite seeing fish on the fish finder and an hour of trying, they wouldn’t budge for a fly.  It’s likely because these fish received some extra pressure over the holiday.

 

fly-fishingWhen fishing is slow move fast.  When fishing is fast move slow.  Well, after our first hour we decided we should hit a spot and rather than spend an hour, literally make 15 minutes of casts and move on.  Our next stop was Kakagon Sloughs for walleyes, then smallies, then anything that would bite but once again, we didn’t see a fish.

 

 

fly-fishingKnowing we may not fish together for month based on the way things have been in 2024, Howie and I decided to hit an old reliable spot on the lake.  A place where we’ve knocked off personal best smallmouth bass the last couple years.  Though still early in the day the wind remained down, however some ominous clouds lingered.

 

 

smallmouth-bassWe knew quickly we made a good choice.  Howie struck first.  He was fishing a 3” long dragon tail pike concoction he tied himself.  Pike was on his mind because he had it attached to 10” of wire.  But this fish was a smallie and a hefty one at that.  The beautiful bass measured just over 17”.

 

 

fly-fishingI followed up Howie’s with three of my own.  Mine were small for Chequamegon Bay.  One was a mere 10” and the other two under 15”.  Great fish anywhere except here.  I had my chance at a stud.  I went tight off a drop-off only to catch a glimpse of his side then lose him.  The side was 8” thick of a glowing bronze.  Dang it!  About then the first storm hit with a deluge.

 

 

yellow-perchThe thunder was loud and there was a flash of lightening that I didn’t particularly care for.  But the smallies were hitting with vengeance.  Howie and I agreed if it flashed again we’d retreat but luckily it didn’t and we were able to fish through the rain.  We racked up at least another half dozen smallies including a 16” and a few handsome yellow perch.

 

 

northern-pikeAn hour after the storm the sun was out.  There are sand flats in this area that often have more smallies, sturgeon, redhorse and common carp on the prowl.  If its calm and the sun is out you can stalk these fish.  But as soon as we started this pursuit an unexpected wind kicked up.  It turned into blind casting off the flat.  It wasn’t a bad thing however.  We caught seven northern pike.  While this one of Howie’s has wire attached to the fly, of note, I’ve now taken seven pike in a row without wire shock tippet.  This will never be a habit of mine.  When I’m focusing on pike I use wire.  However, the other day nor today was I focused on pike.  I just got lucky and we should all take notice that my Scientific Anglers 20lb Fluoro tippet is impressive!

 

thunder-cloudsBy 2 PM you could already call today “epic”.  Epic is a word I try to avoid because if you look up the word, the truth is that very few days are “epic”.  But with all the smallmouth and pike we’d already boated – we were there.  And that’s not to mention the day itself.  I was fishing with a buddy under stunning cloud formations drifting slowly through the northern Wisconsin sky.  At some point we each probably had a Leiny in hand with small chunks of ice melting down the side too.

 

smallmouth-bassBy 5 PM we’d experienced another storm.  More sun.  Less wind.  And it was calm again.  We could have easily headed to the Apostle Islands and cast for huge trout on ledges under such conditions, but never leave fish to find fish.  We had these slab smallmouth like in this photo and pike feeding steadily.  Plus, I hadn’t yet caught the brute I always hope for on Superior.

 

smallmouth-bassBut, as I say time and time again, persistence pays off.  I soon landed a beast of a smallie that topped out just over 18”.  And Howie added another hefty one to his tally as well.  What a day.

 

 

 

 

smallmouth-bass

 

 

 

 

 

 

cloudsWe finally broke the rule and left our spot to find more fish.  There’s another dandy of a smallie and pike spot we often end our days at.  But guess what?  We left fish to find fish and never caught another.

 

 

 

fly-fishingOur last cast was at nearly 9:30 PM.  We didn’t know it at the time but we were tired.  It hit us when we pulled the boat at 10 PM under the last glow of sun reflecting off the clouds.  Our drive home seemed long but when we got to Howie’s his wife Sue had made us a meal to die for of Thai pork loin dinner and homemade blueberry ice cream dessert from blueberries she and Howie picked yesterday.  EPIC DAY!

 

Lake-SuperiorI’m offering a special on my Warmwater Fly Fishing book.  The book is normally $27 plus shipping.  The SALE is $25 including shipping.  Send me a check for $25 (P.O. Box 1084, Hayward, WI 54843) and I’ll send you an autographed copy.  Be sure to include who to sign it to, your mailing address and email address in case I have a question.  Think you.  Think Christmas.  Think Birthdays!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

3 Comments

  1. Howie

    I have to agree that “epic” is appropriate. Gorgeous clouds and scenery, decent weather (despite the Monsoon Currier effect), and of course the fish! You forgot to mention that you put on an absolute “clinic” catching fish. To say you were in the zone is an understatement! Hopefully, not so long for the next trip!

  2. Mike Neumann

    Great day gents, glad to see the weather following Jeff around. We’ll need to get together soon!

  3. Jeff

    Yea it was a good one Neumann. Yes you need to make it up here soon!

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Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!

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