The 10 Best Smallmouth Rivers

Androscoggin River, Maine
The stretch from Bethel to near Turner is all prime water. Much of the river is best fished by floating, but there's good shore access between Bethel and Rumford along U.S. 2.
Local Guide: Androscoggin Guide Service
androscogginguideservice.com
207-562-6083
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Delaware River, Pennsylvania
This big border water has about 40 miles of great smallmouth fishing between Callicoon, N.Y., and Matamoras, Pa. One hot zone is the fast water at Lackawaxen, Pa.
Local Guide: West Branch Angler Resort
westbranchresort.com
800-201-2557
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Upper Mississippi River, Minnesota
The 47 river miles from St. Cloud down to Dayton, north of Minneapolis, are prime for big smallmouths, thanks in part to special regulations. Start at Monticello or Elk River.
Local Guide: Big Dog Fishing Guide Service
bigdogguide.net
(320) 543-3396
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New River, West Virginia
Smallmouth fishing is outstanding in the 53-mile New River Gorge near Beckley. Shoreline access is limited by the rough terrain, but there are many whitewater-float services in the area.
Local Guide: New River Outfitters
small-mouth.com
877-982-3474
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John Day River, Oregon
Running through the north-central desert country, the river offers exceptional fishing for smallies up to 5 pounds. It is also remote and best fished where State Route 218 crosses the river.
Local Guide: Arrowhead River Adventures
arrowheadadventures.com
800-227-7741
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Devils River, Texas
This pristine river set in the rugged, cactus-filled habitat might be the clearest river in the United States, which mean the bass are easy to spook. "You have to think like you're in stealth mode, using nothing bigger than 6-pound fluorocarbon line," says Kevin Stubbs of Expedition Outfitters. While do-it-yourself float on the Devils is possible, there are very limited access points, and a guide service may be the way to go.
Local Guide: Expedition Outfitters
expedition-outfitters.net
210-602-9284
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Mohawk River, New York
The Mohawk River follows the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) from Albany to Syracuse giving you lots of points of access in the cities along the Interstate. The stretch west of Schenectady is particularly good.
Local Guide: Nate's Field & Stream
518-382-7908
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Housatonic River, Connecticut
According to Torrey Collins, manager at Housatonic River Outfitters, the best spot to float for smallies when the weather is warm and the river is low is the stretch from the dam at Falls Village to the "Push 'em up" hole. "At its peak in July, an experienced angler can get into about 100 smallies in a day on the Housatonic," says Collins.
Local Guide: Housatonic River Outfitters
dryflies.com
860-672-1010
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Snake River, Idaho and Oregon
With the smallies in post-spawn mode, they are feeding off grubs and tube worms. According to Bill Shulke of Dream Catcher Guide Service, you'll want to target the rocky points in the stretch from Lewiston, Idaho to the Oregon border.
Local Guide: Dream Catcher Guide Service
dreamcatcherguideservice.net
509-758-3981
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Buffalo River, Arkansas
The lower 24 miles of this Blue Ribbon smallmouth water where it meets the White River are protected, which means that there is limited access, but not a lot of pressure. For easier fishing, the stretch above Buffalo Point provides great access and great fishing, according to Steve Hudgens with Rose's Trout Dock.
Local Guide: Rose's Trout Dock
rosestroutdock.com
888-425-1141
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Best Smallmouth Rivers
There are many good smallmouth hotspots across the country, but we've got maps, fishing tips, and contact info for local guides on ten of the best.