Fly Fishing the Big Walnut in Mid-Summer


Let’s be real clear…there are certain times of the year when a smallmouth bass can become as intelligent as any fish around; truth be told, on my most recent fish finding excursion…they were operating at a Mensa level. The water on the Big Walnut was not only gin clear, but very low…as low as I have fished the stream. Now maybe you’re not familiar with such parameters, but suffice it to say…it was tough, very tough!

Once again I was fishing with young Thomas Bouldin as my regular fishing buddy of many years, Frank, was on hiatus with his wife and grandkids. I dropped Thomas off on the upper section and then drove down a few miles to start the lower section of water. It was evident to me in just a few steps that this was going to be one of those days that would include a lot of skulking and long casts.

My first fish came in just a few minutes and set the pattern of success for the day; long casting into shaded areas with a white baitfish pattern as my fly (note: the fly tying demo is of me tying the actual fly that was used in the video). I felt more like I was turkey hunting than was I fly casting to smallmouth bass. I won’t go into the number of times that I rolled my eyes and shook my head as fish blew out of cover ahead of me; the good news, I caught enough fish to make it all interesting and for sure the walk down a beautiful stream was worth my time, many fold.

The big fish of the day, for me, came as I was flipping my shiner just a few feet at a time into various rocks and cover that produced several smallies…the big one, a chunky 16 incher that followed my fly for a few feet before committing to the take. Thomas, on the upper section, which I might add had a few more deep holes, ended up doing quite well as he landed a pair of 18 inchers (one can be seen at the end of the video)…and yes, on one of my own, home-tied, baitfish patterns.

All in all it was a great four hours upon water that I truly love. I watched an eagle on two occasions and marveled at how silent the stream and its surroundings, can actually be. That is in fact…what smallmouth bass fishing is all about; that and landing a few that really put a bend in your rod. As always…if you have any questions please direct those to me by e-mailing me at and I will do my best to give you a solid answer to your question.

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