The smallmouth bass are on their beds now. The male smallmouth bass have recently created visible beds in shallow waters along the shores of BWCA lakes and rivers. The male bass makes the bed by fanning the sand and gravel away from an area near a rocky shoreline. If a female bass is impressed, then she will lay her eggs in the bed. Then, the male swims guard over the eggs.
Both the female and male smallmouth bass will aggressively defend the nest.
I took both of these photos of the same smallmouth bass bed today on Crooked Lake. The above photo shows the bright ring made when the male brushes away the sand and gravel. The below photo shows a bass in the same bed, just closer up.
Casting topwater lures such as a Heddon Torpedo near these beds results in a fierce strike for the bass now. This action won’t last long, so grab a pole and practice catch and release. You will want to do like we did and release any female bass that have eggs. It is an important conservation practice to allow these fish to reproduce for healthy populations.