Smallmouth bass are golden green to bronze with dark vertical bars and blotches on the side. The upper jaw does not extend beyond the eye. In some locations, it has a red eye. Somewhat smaller than the largemouth, smallmouth bass in Oregon may reach 23 inches and exceed 7 pounds.
Smallmouth bass are adapted to flowing waters and do well in warm streams with deep holes and rocky ledges. They also prefer lakes and reservoirs with rocky shorelines and limited vegetation. Adult smallmouth feed mostly on fish and crayfish.
Much of what was written about largemouth bass also pertains to smallmouth. Like largemouths, smallmouth bass are less active and much harder to catch when the water temperature is below 50°F. Smallmouth are more likely to be found where cover consists of rock rather than vegetation or sunken wood. The best places to look for them are near rocky points, boulders, ledges, or drop-offs. In the spring they move inshore in lakes and reservoirs and into the shallows of streams as the water warms. Spawning activity begins when water temperatures reach about 58°F. As with largemouth, the male aggressively guards the nest and fry, making them easier to catch at this time. Other seasonal behavior is similar to that of largemouth bass, as are the angling techniques used to catch them, but because smallmouth are generally smaller, the lures used are also often smaller. Plastic grubs, crankbaits, and spinners are all effective.