March 20 2016

Targeting Squam Lake’s Smallmouth Bass


Ryan Collins

This trip began before sunrise nearly one year ago, on May 22nd, 2015.

My friend Jeff Coates and I were en route to New Hampshire, to target big smallmouth bass as they prepared for the spawn.

Although we would fish in New Hampshire, it is also very possible to target spawning smallmouths here on Cape Cod.

The techniques and strategies I share in this report can definitely be applied to smallmouth bass fishing on the Cape.


Getting Started

I left the house before sunrise and met Jeff at a rest stop off route 93. Our plan was to fish Squam Lake in New Hampshire.

By 7am Jeff and I had reached the boat launch and were greeted by picture perfect springtime conditions.

The skies were clear and the lake flat calm.

lake new hampshire smallmouth fishing

We passed by rocky points and lonesome islands, which dotted the lake, and would later provide protection from the afternoon breeze. We cruised in more than 30 feet of water, but would we soon be fishing in less than 10.

lake new hampshire smallmouth fishing

Jeff eventually eased up on the throttled and maneuvered his bass boat in towards shore.

My First Smallmouth

We each grabbed a rod and began scanning the bottom, in an effort to visually locate male smallmouths protecting their beds.

jeff coates scanning for smallmouth bass

Soon Jeff spotted a fish, and he instructed me on exactly where to cast. I plopped my jig towards the smallie and allowed the jig to fall to the bottom.

casting for smallmouth bass

Slowly I raised my rod tip, which made the jig dance just off the bottom. The smallmouth turned in the direction of the jig, and in one fluid motion propelled his brown body through the water, mouth fully agape, turned and sucked down the jig. Fish on!

underwater smallmouth bass with white grub lure

With help from Jeff I had hooked into my first-ever smallmouth bass. The fish fought like hell and dug for the bottom as if it was a bluefish. After a terrific little battle I had him.

smallmouth bass
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  • Wow! Very nice largemouth! I’ll have to go up to New Hampshire next spring, hopefully the bass in CT start to spawn as well. Great report Ryan!

  • Great report!

    I know that lake!. I grew up in New Hampshire, and we had a cabin on that lake. I spent I spent a lot of time fishing there, but caught mostly sunfish, perch, and catfish on night crawlers I’d dig up along the shoreline. Beautiful place. I miss it.

  • Great article Ryan. My background is mostly fresh and can relate to the beauty of lakes and mountains. I have extensive experience with fresh water, cold and warm water species.I keep a boat back in western Ma just for that purpose rigged for lakers and salmon fishing Quabbin Reservoir. Now that I spend time on the Cape, stripers are now my focus. Can’t wait to learn and share experiences with other members. I really need a headstart as to some places to start, Name of beaches and other areas to get started. I have been to West Dennis Beach and the jetty at Smugglers and even been successful with schoolies. Stripers are alot like largemouth bass. There are times when they school up, like some kind of cover, boulders, weeds etc, chase baitfish, even lures are similar. I do have a boat here on the Cape as well. Just need to become more familiar with the areas. that why this website is so awesome, The articles written here are better than any magazine I’ve read. Keep up the good work….

    • Sounds like I may be asking your advice sometime regarding freshwater Warren. For example, I know nothing about fishing for salmon and lakers, but I sense I will give it a try at some point in the years to come.

      I’ll be launching a virtual guide service in about one month which will help you get a head start on stripers. The content and forum here on MFCC is a huge help too, but this new service will allow me to personally assist people 1 on 1.

      As you mention, I think your largemouth bass experience will help a lot with transitioning to striped bass. Glad you are enjoying MFCC, and terrific having you onboard!

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