So, maybe you're a trout angler who considers bass to be "those other fish." But don't let your prejudices and stereotypes get in the way of learning how to enjoy smallmouth bass fishing.
You probably have most of the gear you need, and learning to cross over from trout fishing to bass fishing is easier and more economical than you think.
If you haven't fished for smallmouths, here's what you're missing: They're scrappy fish that provide a lot of action. They're also abundant in Southwest Idaho.
If you really want a challenge, try catching some of the bigger ones, which tend to be wary and selective.
Sound familiar? They're similar to trout in this way.
Smallmouth bass are often associated with big reservoirs, such as Brownlee and C.J. Strike, but they're actually native to rivers - just not Idaho's rivers. They have been transplanted to a variety of waters here where they do quite well.
Look for rocky areas with slow-to-moderate current - prime "smallie" water - in the Snake, Payette, Weiser, Owyhee and Boise rivers.
For now, let's talk rivers because it's an easy place to get your start catching smallies, and you don't need a boat. Your trout tactics and tackle will be well-suited for this pursuit.
Grab a brown Rooster Tail out of your tackle box; the bigger the better. It will look enough like a crawdad to fool a bass. Other spinners will work and so will spoons. Smallies like to chase things.
You can inexpensively add some grubs, worms and tube jigs specifically for bass.
If you're a fly angler, smallies will also be interested in your woolly buggers, leeches and other streamers.
DON'T WAIT TILL SUMMER
There's a misconception that all bass prefer warm, still water because people think smallies act the same as their largemouth cousins.
Smallmouths like a little current and they can be active in fairly cool water. Their pre-spawn activity starts when water temperatures reach the mid-40s. They'll start moving into the shallows when water reaches the mid-50s. Spawning occurs when water temperatures are around 60 degrees.
The spawning season is a good time to catch those bigger fish, and unlike trout fishing, there's no stigma around fishing for spawning bass, if you release them.
Where those big females spawn you will often find schools of smaller males lurking nearby.
Smallmouths do most of their feeding in summer, which is when you'll find schools of aggressive fish. Summer is prime time for fishing on the Snake River. It's easiest with a boat, but you can catch them from shore if you choose your spots carefully.
The river downstream from Swan Falls Dam is chock full of rocks and great bass habitat, but there are lots of other places. Get out and explore.
And that's one of the beauties of smallmouth bass fishing. You get to find new fishing holes, plus there are lots of reservoirs and ponds to explore.
With a little effort, you may find smallmouth fishing is a fun change of pace to trout fishing. Don't be surprised if you find yourself enjoying catching the feisty fish more than you expected.
Roger Phillips: 377-6215, Twitter: @rogeroutdoors