2010 went out with a wimper; an icy ending. I did get on the board in December, only just, with 11 bass back on December 5th! I landed smallmouth bass in 22 different streams in Indiana in 2010.
I have a string of smallmouth every month going on 5 years now. January could be tough if we don't get some open water.
Warning: there be statistics and numbers below. Turn away now, if that's not your bag.
2010. Overall, a good year when I think about the feel of it. Numbers were up. I ended with 1,483 bass (98% smallmouth bass) and 147 'other' fish in 431.35 hours in 87 trips. My best ever yearly rate at 3.44 SMB per hour fished (3.78 fish per hour of all types while SMB fishing).
I fished less, but caught more bass in less time. I was on the water 140 hours less in 2010 than 2009
Some great numbers days; I had 7 days 20-29 SMB, 8 days 30-39 SMB, 6 days 40-49 SMB, 2 days 50-59 SMB, 1 day 60-69 SMB, and 2 days 70-79 SMB.
Lots of action from May onwards.Very slow before then.
I landed 146 Smallmouth Bass 16" or better. 89 were 17" or better. The percentage of larger fish in 2010 was way down from 13.93% in 2009 to 9.84% in 2010 (lowest since I've kept track).
The larger 18"+ group shrunk from 59 in 2009 to 32 in 2010. 2009 was my best year for big fish and worst for numbers. So now we have a near reversal. (2007 was my best year for numbers 1,876 and 16" + = 235)
I did fish some smaller feeders that probably limited the upper size smallmouth as well as inflating numbers of 11-14" smb. However, it didn't change when I got back out in the big rivers. There it were lots of dinks m(under12") and one nice fish (17"+) a trip, maybe two. On several streams, it was clear a fine year class of 8-11" bass was just getting to catchable size. A nice sign for future Indiana smallie populations.
In 2010, it took me about 2.95 hours to land a 16"+ smallmouth bass, 13.48 hours to land a 18"+ smallmouth bass, and 53.9 hours per 20"+ smallmouth bass.
In 2009, it took me about 3.4 hours to land a 16"+ smallmouth bass, 9.68 hours to land a 18"+ smallmouth bass, and 51.9 hours to land a 20"+ smallmouth bass.
It would suggest a 18-19" size class may have had a hard time, though 8 fish over 20" would indicate the cupboard is not dry. Smaller streams could have changed this somewhat, as there seemed to be more 16-17" bass, and not many 18"+ fish as year's passed.