Category Archives: Smallmouth Bass

December 3, 2013 – Shore Fishing Report

Pretty excited to share this latest fishing report with you all. Got a nice early start this morning (Tuesday, December 3) for another day of shore fishing at Round Valley with Zach Batren and Chris Moran. We finished getting our lines into the water at 5:15 a.m., and were fishing with salmon peach and rainbow PowerBait about two feet off the bottom. A little while before 6:00 a.m. Chris left to go grab some Shiners from Behre Bait & Tackle and got back a little while later. So with nothing on the PowerBait except one tap Zach B. and Chris decided to switch over one of their rods to slip bobbers with Shiners instead of PowerBait on the bottom. Right after the sun came up around 7:00 a.m., I got a hit on one of my rods with rainbow PowerBait on the bottom and landed a nice 15-inch Rainbow Trout.

Round Valley Rainbow Trout - December fishing report
My 15-inch Rainbow Trout caught on rainbow color PowerBait.

Not even five minutes after that, Chris and Zach B. started getting hits left and right on their slip bobbers. Chris lost a few Trout shortly after the hook set, and Zach B. landed a nice 15.25-inch Brown Trout. So I decided to switch one of my rods over to a slip bobber and see if I could join in on the action.

Round Valley Brown Trout - December fishing report
Zach Batren with his 15.25-inch Brown Trout caught on a live Shiner under a slip bobber.

After I had my bobber in the water for maybe ten minutes or so, we were all talking and I looked over to where my bobber was and couldn’t find it. I walked over to my rod and as soon as I picked it up, my line started shooting out into deeper water! [PUBLISHER NOTE: This exact scenario is why our tagline is, “dude, your bobber’s gone.”] I set the hook on what I immediately knew was a good fish, but I didn’t know just how nice of a fish it was yet. After fighting the fish for a bit, it started heading towards a weed bed so I fought it up and over the weeds before it had a chance to get me tangled in the weeds. Right about then, the fish went sideways and I saw a flash of the white on it’s stomach and finally knew I was into a really nice Trout, though I couldn’t tell if it was a Brown or Rainbow. Immediately after rolling over, the Trout did a nose dive right into the middle of the weed bed and I thought my line was going to get tangled and snap. Luckily I was able to horse it out of the weeds and it came out about 15-feet or so from shore. After the Trout got clear of the weeds, I eased up and enjoyed the fight a bit before bringing it in so Zach B. could net it for me, and he guided what I could now see was a brown Trout into the net nice and easy head first. Right off the bat I knew it was the biggest Brown I had caught in a while at Round Valley, and ended up measuring 24-inches and weighed 3-lbs, 6-oz (Though we all agreed it looked more like 5-lbs).

Round Valley Brown Trout - December Fishing Report
My 24-inch, 3-lb 6-oz Round Valley Trout Association jaw tagged Brown Trout caught on a live Shiner under a slip bobber.

The fish also was a Round Valley Trout Association jaw tagged Trout which was an added bonus, especially seeing as exactly one week ago (last Tuesday), I caught a 3-lb, 10-oz RVTA jaw tagged Rainbow Trout. After that 30 minute blitz, the bite seemed to completely die all at once and it was very slow pickings for the rest of the day. For the next three hours or so, all I had was two swings and misses on my PowerBait rod, one fish that I broke off on the hook set, and what I’m pretty sure was another Brown Trout toying with my slip bobber for a while but never stuck the hook. Though one of my swings and misses knocked the PowerBait off the hook, which floated to the surface, immediately followed by a Trout which sucked it off the surface. Chris, thinking fast, grabbed my slip bobber rod which had a Shiner on it, that I didn’t get a chance to cast back out, and cast it right to where the Trout hit the surface. Maybe five seconds after hitting the water, the bobber shot under and Chris landed a 14.5-inch Rainbow Trout, which was released since it was short of the legal size limit. Definitely one of the more interesting stories of landing a fish I’ve had in a while. Maybe about half an hour after that, I finally got a good hook up on a fish that took my rainbow PowerBait and landed a 15-inch Rainbow Trout.

Round Valley Smallmouth Bass - December Fishing Report
Zach Batren with his Smallmouth Bass he caught on a live Shiner fished on the bottom

That ended up being the last Trout we landed for the day, but Zach B. landed a nice Smallmouth Bass on a Shiner fished on the bottom. We didn’t bother measuring it before we released it, but it looked to be about 15-inches and somewhere between two and three pounds.  Even though the majority of our fish were landed within a 30 minute window right after the sun broke the horizon, we all definitely had another awesome day of fishing, and it definitely seems that the shore fishing at Round Valley has really picked up for us over the past two weeks. Better late than never!

Round Valley Brown Trout - December Fishing Report
My 24-inch Round Valley Trout Association jaw tagged Brown Trout.

Spruce Run Shore Fishing Report – October 11, 2013

Fished over at Spruce Run Reservoir on Friday, October 11, 2013 with Zach Batren in some cloudy, overcast, and rainy weather (Sounds like fishing weather to me!).  We met up at Spruce Run around 1:30 p.m. and got our first lines into the water around 1:45 p.m at one of the coves on the Northern side of the reservoir, and had a six rod spread between the two of us.  We were using live Herring fished on the bottom with a basic rig consisting of an egg sinker, barrel swivel, short leader, and a hook.  After not even ten minutes, I was into a fish, which turned out to be a nice 4-lb Channel Catfish, probably around 22 or 23-inches.  It didn’t give much of a fight since it swam towards me for pretty much the entirety of the fight, but still a good way to start any fishing trip!  After that, we kept getting constant hits on almost all of our rods for a good hour or so until the action seemed to die down for a bit.  Then out of nowhere one of my rods doubles over and I’m into a nice fish with a lot of fight in it.  At first I thought it was a big Channel Catfish judging from the fight, until I saw it jump and was able to see it was a nice big 17-inch Smallmouth Bass.

Spruce Run Smallmouth
My 17-inch Smallmouth Bass caught on a dead Herring at Spruce Run

After a hard fight; with several strong drag peeling runs, and not one, not two, but five jumps where it went completely airborne, we were able to net it.  That Smallmouth was definitely a nice surprise for the day, especially seeing as it took a dead Herring that was meant for catfish.

After that the action slowed down for a little bit again, with the occasional hit here and there.   Though just as we got used to the lull in the action, Zach B. was into another fish that took another dead Herring.  We weren’t sure what exactly it was that he had hooked since it wasn’t fighting too much, but after we got it in closer we were able to identify it as a Northern Pike.  While it wasn’t anything huge, it was still a nicely sized and beautifully colored 25+ inch Pike.  We were definitely making out with a good mixed bag of fish up until this point with one Channel Catfish, one Smallmouth Bass, and now one Pike landed, though we released the Smallmouth as well as the Pike.

Spruce Run Pike
Zach B. with his 25+ inch Northern Pike that took a dead Herring

After that the action really slowed down for the next few hours, other than a few more hits we got but the hook didn’t set well so we lost the fish, as well as a snapping turtle I reeled in.  Our next landed fish was a little while later after dark.  Zach B. hooked into something just as the sun slipped under the horizon, and he was able to wrestle in another nice Channel Catfish; almost identical in size to the one i landed when we first started fishing.  A few minutes after we finished up with netting and unhooking that fish and Zach got his line back out into the water, I was into another fish which ended up being another Channel Catfish, a little smaller than our other two.  Maybe about a half an hour after that, I got a hit on one of my lines and my line snapped right after I set the hook, which was another disappointment on top of all the missed hits we had earlier in the day.  After that I got my line back into the water, and about an hour after that Zach was into another fish.  Now landing this fish started off normal, but ended up being one of the weirdest and most confusing ways to land a fish I’ve had all year.  At first we weren’t sure what he had on the line, and at one point Zach thought he had lost the fish, but luckily it was only swimming towards him.  Anyways, once we got it close enough we were able to see it was a nice big 31-inch Northern Pike with a good amount of girth to him.

Spruce Run Northern Pike
Zach B. and I with our surprise 31-inch Northern Pike

But the weirdest part came after we landed it and realized that Zach’s hook wasn’t in the fish at all, but about 10-feet away tangled in another fishing line which had the hook attached to the fish, and we decided was definitely one of mine since it was the same exact line, swivel, leader, and hook I was using.  So we assumed that the Pike had somehow taken one of my other lines without us noticing and gone right over to Zach’s line and his hook snagged my line.  But I then reeled in my lines to see which one it was, and it wasn’t any of mine that I had out, which means that it was the line I had that broke off an hour earlier after setting the hook.  This in turn meant that the same fish that my line had broken off on was in the same area for one whole hour, and Zach’s hook had somehow managed to snag my line trailing behind the fish while it was going by.  Now what are the chances of that?!  Definitely was one of the weirdest coincidences I’ve ever had happen while fishing to this day.  I think it’s only fair to give Zach B. the credit for the catch, but I came in with the assist and we both get to add another crazy fish story to our collection!

Spruce Run Northern Pike
Zach B. showing off the business end of his Pike!

A little while after that, we decided to call it a night at 8:30 p.m. after getting two Northern Pike up to 31-inches, one 17-inch Smallmouth Bass, three Channel Catfish to 4-lbs, and missing countless other fish that hit our lines.  As usual, both the Pike and the Bass were all released.  But as for the catfish, those were dinner!  Definitely one of the weirder days I’ve had fishing in a while, but we definitely got some nice fish and despite the amount of missed hits we can’t really complain one bit about the outcome of our day.

September 26 & 29, 2013 – Round Valley Shore Fishing

Went out to Round Valley to fish for some Trout from the shoreline on Thursday, September 26, 2013.  After getting a pretty late start, I got out to the Valley at around 10:30 a.m. and just as I arrived, I watched one of the guys fishing next to where I was land a nice approximately 15-inch Brown Trout on a live Shiner about four feet under a bobber.  So despite my late start to the day, seeing that got my hopes up that there were still Trout around to be caught.  As usual I was fishing with three rods out, and this time I had two with slip bobbers set to seven and 12 feet down with live Shiners and one rod with Powerbait about 2.5-feet off the bottom.  After about 45 minutes, one of my slip bobbers shot under and I set the hook.  Not sure what exactly it was that was on the end of my line since I didn’t get a chance to see it, but right off the bat it was screaming out drag and ended up shaking the hook right as I got close to the end of the line on my reel.  So I reeled in, cast back out, and 30 seconds later my bobber was under again, though this time I landed a 16-inch Rainbow Trout.

Round Valley Rainbow Trout
16-inch Rainbow Trout caught under a slip bobber

After that it was slow pickings the rest of the day, with a few fish here and there.  For the most part I only landed little dink Largemouth Bass that hit the Shiners under slip bobbers, and by the time I left I landed nine Largemouths to about seven or eight inches and two Smallmouth Bass about the same size.  Though in addition to my 16-inch Rainbow, I also landed one 14-inch Brown Trout that hit a slip bobber, as well as another 15.5-inch Rainbow that hit my Powerbait.  All in all it wasn’t the best day of fishing, but I did beat the skunk and caught a few Trout which is all that really matters in the end.

I headed back out again few days later on Sunday September 29, 2013 and this time I was joined by Chris.  We started out nice and early and got our first lines in the water around 6:45 a.m. just as the sun was coming over the horizon.  Between the two of us we had six rods out, two with Rainbow Powerbait on the bottom, two with Salmon/Peach Powerbait on the bottom, and two with Shiners under slip bobbers.  Probably about ten minutes or so in, one of Chris’ Powerbait rods doubles all the way over with the tip almost touching the water and starts screaming out drag out of nowhere.

Jaw tagged Rainbow
21-inch, 3-lb 1-oz Rainbow Trout. Chris’ first RVTA tagged trophy Trout!

With that said, both Chris and I knew there was a good fish on the other end of his line before he even engaged the fish, and the fight that followed definitely proved it.  After setting the hook, it continued to peel out drag and run from left to right for almost the entire fight.  At one point, Chris had managed to get it within 20 feet of where we were standing on shore and it jumped a good two feet clean out of the water, which is when we were able to see it was a nice big Rainbow Trout.  Immediately after that it went out on another run back towards deeper water and we were back where we started, though the fish clearly started to tire after that last run.  Shortly after that, we got the fish in close to shore and began to get it under control so we could net it; which we always do with larger fish, even when fishing from shore.  After netting it we were finally able to get our first real good look at the fish and were able to see it was a “JOIN RVTA” jaw tagged Rainbow that was stocked by the Round Valley Trout Association back in early May 2013.

Jaw Tagged Rainbow
RVTA jaw tagged Rainbow

The fish weighed in at 3-lbs, 1-oz and measured 21-inches in length.  Definitely made Chris happy since it was hit biggest Rainbow ever caught, his first Fall shoreline fish from Round Valley, and his first tagged Trout!  After that it was slow pickings of tiny Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass again and after landing around ten or so of those and losing what we assume was a Trout that hit my Powerbait rod, we called it a day at 10:00 a.m.  While Chris’ fish was the only real fish we caught that day, we definitely can’t say it was a bad day of fishing after landing that beauty of a fish!

Round Valley – October Shore Fishing

As the weather starts to cool down and Fall begins to set in, the shoreline fishing for Trout at Round Valley begins to heat up as the water cools down and the Trout come up shallow and start swimming the shoreline.  Last year was my first year fishing at Round Valley during that time, as opposed to previous years where I’d either be too preoccupied with school or fishing at Spruce Run.  Though last Fall at Round Valley definitely got me hooked on going back and fishing there every Fall almost exclusively.

Fall Brown Trout
Brown Trout from Fall 2012 at Round Valley

This was back before I started writing for this site, and I just happened to be looking through some of the articles and came across one that Rob had posted about shore fishing in October using slip bobbers, which got me curious about trying it out.  However, I wasn’t fully convinced to get out until I heard from Lebanon Bait & Sport (This was before they closed down of course) that people were starting to get into a few Trout from the shoreline, so then I decided I would go out the next morning and see how I could make out.  That decision ended up being one of the best I made to this day in terms of fishing and ended up being the beginning of almost three weeks of beautiful Fall weather, and some phenomenal fishing, some of the best I’ve ever had the entire time I’ve been fishing!

Fall Round Valley Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout from Fall 2012 at Round Valley

I remember my first day out there last October like it was yesterday, I stopped and grabbed 2 dozen Shiners from the bait shop, and was out at Round Valley putting my first lines in the water not too long after 6:00 a.m.  I cast out my first rod, which I had rigged up with a slip bobber 10 feet down, and before I even got a chance to turn around to bait my second rod, my bobber was gone, and the first fish of the day for me was a 14-inch Chain Pickerel.

Chain Pickerel
My first fish from Round Valley during Fall 2012

After releasing that, I cast my rod out again, and just as I finally get my second rod out, my first bobber goes under again.  This time it was a 15.5-inch Rainbow Trout!  After putting that one in the cooler, I cast my second line back out, and not even 5 minutes after that I was into another fish, this time a 15-inch Brown Trout.  Now what was all within a time frame of 10-15 minutes or so, pretty good start to a day  if you ask me.  I ended up going back to the bait shop two more times that day because I kept running out of bait!  After that, it only got better for me as October went on.  I had a good amount of days that I was able to land 100+ fish, all of which were released perfectly healthy, except for my daily limit of two Trout whenever I felt like keeping a few for dinner.  Nearly everyday I got a mixed bag of fish as well, between Chain Pickerel, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Largemouth Bass, and the occasional Smallmouth Bass.  While most of the Bass were on the smaller side, nearly all the Trout were 15+ inches, which is keeper size at Round Valley for those of you that may not know.

Fall Rainbow Trout
One of the many beautiful Rainbow Trout I got during Fall 2012 at Round Valley

Last year, I got nearly all my fish on Shiners fished under slip bobbers, with a small percentage caught on artificial lures; Rapalas and small spinners.  Though with the amount of fish swimming the shoreline that time of year,

Fall Bass at Round Valley
Largemouth Bass from Fall 2012 at Round Valley

you’re pretty much bound to get something eventually with whatever it may be that you’re using.  I’ve been eagerly awaiting for this time of year again since last year, and I’ll be sure to be out there nearly everyday come October.  So if you haven’t tried Fall shore fishing at Round Valley, I suggest you give it a try, and if you see me out there feel free to come say hi!  Overall, Fall at Round Valley to me means; beautiful weather, awesome Fall scenery at Round Valley, and not to mention lots of fish … Who could pass that up?  I know I couldn’t!

Fishing Live Herring Under a Slip Bobber

As the Summer goes on, the water temperature of Round Valley Reservoir gets hotter and hotter. As of today, the water surface temps were in the high 70’s and by August it will be in the 80’s. That’s just too hot for trout who prefer water temps in the 60’s… so where do the fish go? They go down to cooler water.

How do slip bobbers work?

An effective way for shore fisherman to target deeper fish in the hot summer months is to use a slip bobber. Unlike traditional bobbers which clip directly onto your fishing line, slip bobbers allow your line to pass through them until a stop hits a bead at the top of the bobber.

Slip BobberSlip Bobber Stop with Bead
Slip Bobber Bobber Stop and Bead

Because of the design of slip bobbers you can cast a rig set to any depth. Ten, twenty, thirty feet deep? No Problem. On the flip side, casting anything longer than 6 feet with a traditional bobber is almost impossible.

Terminal Tackle:

On the end of the line I like to use a size 4,6 or 8 circle hook. When your hook is far away from you and deep, it is much easier to hook your fish by reeling in line on your circle hook than setting a traditional hook by swinging your rod high.

About 2 feet above the hook I like to put a small splitshot to:

  • Keep the herring down.
  • Prevent the slip bobber from falling on top of my hook.

Bait Presentation

Hook your herring (or shiner) through the back right where the dorsal fin starts. In the water the fish will be vertically suspended under the floating bobber. I’ve used this rig with worms too and have caught Rainbows and Smallmouth on it.

This Rainbow fell to a slip bobber and worm combo
This Rainbow fell to a slip bobber and worm combo.

Once you cast your line out, pay attention to your bobber just like you would any other bobber. If it goes under completely, wait about 5 seconds, point your rod tip at the bobber and reel in fast. As soon as you feel tension on the line begin raising your rod tip up as you continue to reel.


Using this technique you will catch rainbows, browns, and bass all summer long. So the next time you are shore fishing, bring a few extra rods and remember to try out different depths and baits.