Find the Rocks
While anglers can find rocks without smallmouths, it is difficult to find smallmouths without rocks. Rocks are their preferred habitat, and anglers should always begin the search for smallmouth bass around rocks. The three most likely smallmouth locations throughout the year are rocky islands (the shorelines of the islands, if they are above the water), points and shoals. The smallmouths may not necessarily be right on top of the rocks, but they will be nearby so they can head to the rocks when it is time to feed.
Match the Hatch
Since smallmouth bass are so keyed on their main food source, it is wise to choose artificial lures that are crayfish in color. Most of the waters in Ontario are clear, so smallmouth bass can get a good look at a bait before they decide to eat it. Ensuring your lure looks as natural as possible is an important part of putting smallmouth bass in the boat.
Smallmouth bass in Ontario shift locations throughout the year. During the spring, they are in shallow, rocky areas. These are the places in which they spawn and will remain in until the water temperatures warm. Smallmouths move to deeper water during the summer, but are still found around rocky points, drop-offs and the edges of reefs and humps. Check water ranging from about six to 30 feet deep. In the fall, the smallmouths continue to relate to the same areas, but they hold deeper. After the leaves have dropped, the best depths to target smallmouths are between about 20 and 35 feet of water. Throughout the year, the best bet is to use quick-moving lures like spinnerbaits, crankbaits, lipless crankbaits or topwater baits to locate smallmouth bass. Stay on the move and continue casting until you catch one. When you do, make careful note of the spot and continue casting to it. Smallmouths are schooling fish, so where you find one, you likely will find many more. Continue casting to the same area, and changing baits from time to time, until the fish quit biting.
Keep a Topwater Rigged
Topwater baits like poppers and small buzzbaits can by dynamite for smallmouth bass in Ontario, especially early and late in the day. During these periods, the bass will slide onto the shallows parts of the rocky areas in which they are located and feed actively on crayfish and minnows. These are aggressive fish with no qualms about smacking what they believe to be an injured fish atop the water. If you spend more than an hour fishing topwaters in the shallows without catching anything, it probably is time to look in deeper water since smallmouths that are feeding actively generally can't help but hit a topwater bait.