My Favorite Smallmouth Bass Patterns on Guide Trips For the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers
1. The Clouser Minnow- The Susquehanna River is where the Clouser Minnow was created. It was created by Bob Clouser and it should be a staple of any smallmouth angler's box if they are fly fishing the river. The pattern is used to imitate the abundant baitfish that you will frequently see smallmouth bass corralling and eating ferociously. I go through a lot of color combos ranging from gray and white, olive and white, olive and yellow, blue and white, chartreuse and pink, pink and white etc.... I go through all the different colors some days until I can figure out what the fish are going to eat. The fish change throughout the day based on light, water temperatures and time of day. Sometimes trying to find out a rhyme or reason can be a daunting task.
2. Boogle Bug Poppers: I have yet to find a popper that has "popped" as many bass as a Boogle Bug on my boat. I don't know what it is but this popper outperforms any other popper that I've fished with on the Susquehanna and Juniata and I think many other fly anglers and guides on the river would agree. Part of the fun of fly fishing for smallmouth bass is the fact that they are willing to eat top-water flies so willingly. One particular way that I really like to fish the Boogle Bug is by targeting the edges of grass beds, rock structure and shorelines. During the early season I use a consistent and noisy, fast pop. As we get later in the season and the water starts to clear and get a little lower. I slow the popper down and make more quiet pops. Sometimes even a dead drift will pick fish up.
3. Murdich Minnow: This pattern is as much of a staple in my box as the Clouser Minnow. I fish the Clouser in deeper water and this pattern in shallower water. This pattern is fished best on a floating or intermediate line closer to the surface. If you fish it properly with aggressive twitches and strips it fishes much the same as a spin angler fishing a stick bait. In the Susquehanna and Juniata River this is a great pattern to prospect for fish or to throw into a group of smallmouth that are busting on baitfish. I like this pattern in blue and white, black and white, gray and white, and copper and white color combos. You can purchase the fly here at Tight Lines.