Smallmouth Bass: Protecting and Targeting The Big Brown Trout and Bass of The Ozarks with Ryan Walker | Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

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The Fly Fishing Insider Podcast, hosted by Christian Bacasa, offers a deep dive into Ozarks fly fishing, showcasing stories, tips, and insights from personalities throughout the fly fishing industry. In a captivating episode, Ryan Walker from Ozark Smallmouth Alliance and Ozark Smallmouth Fly Co. joins Christian to share his extensive knowledge and experience as a smallmouth bass specialist.

Part 1: Embarking on a Fly Fishing Journey

Ryan Walker's fly fishing adventure began in childhood, nurtured by his father's guidance and an encounter with an expert angler named Vern. This early exposure to the craft’s artistry and technique sparked Ryan's lifelong passion. His journey into fly fishing was self-taught, further enriched by the traditional wisdom imparted by mentor Mark Oler in Reed Spring. Mark's classic approach, emphasizing understanding of hydrology and fish holding, profoundly influenced Ryan's philosophy and respect for the craft’s history and tradition.


Part 2: Transitioning from Trout to Smallmouth Bass

Ryan's initial focus on trout fishing in the Ozarks evolved into a deep passion for smallmouth bass. His guiding career began with a specialization in midge fishing on the Missouri Taneycomo tailwaters. However, Ryan's interest in smallmouth fishing grew, especially with the streamer craze, leading to his experimentation with larger baitfish patterns. This shift in focus culminated in the formation of the Ozark Smallmouth Alliance, a conservation-focused group raising awareness about smallmouth bass and their role in the ecosystem.

Part 3: The Art of Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass

In his conversation with Christian, Ryan reflects on his childhood experiences and the techniques he employs for successful smallmouth bass fishing. Understanding the fish's habitat, behavior, and the importance of crawdads in their diet are key aspects of his strategy. Ryan stresses the need for flies that mimic the natural prey effectively, focusing on the overall profile rather than minute details.



Part 4: Crafting Effective Fly Patterns and Understanding 'Attitude'

Ryan and Christian discuss the importance of crafting fly patterns that accurately represent saltwater shrimp, emphasizing their movement and buoyancy. The concept of 'attitude' in fly fishing is explored, highlighting how the presentation and trajectory of the fly in the water can significantly influence its attractiveness to smallmouth. Ryan shares anecdotes demonstrating the effectiveness of articulated flies and the importance of mimicking natural prey behavior.

Part 5: Expert Tactics for Targeting Big Smallmouth and Browns

Ryan divulges his tactics for targeting larger fish, focusing on understanding fish behavior around structures and adjusting techniques accordingly. He discusses the strategic approach to casting downstream, boat positioning and adapting to fish behavior throughout the day. Ryan's insights provide a comprehensive understanding of how to effectively target and catch bigger smallmouths and browns.


Part 6: Delving into Fly Fishing Strategies with Ozark Smallmouth Alliance

The podcast episode further delves into detailed fly fishing strategies, including the importance of strategic casting, boat positioning, and adapting to fish behavior. Ryan shares his experiences with the Ozark Smallmouth Alliance, highlighting the organization's role in promoting smallmouth bass fishing and conservation.


The Fly Fishing Insider Podcast with Ryan Walker offers a rich exploration of the intricacies of fly fishing, particularly for smallmouth bass. Ryan's journey, from his early days of trout fishing to becoming a smallmouth specialist, is a testament to the depth and diversity of the craft. His insights and experiences provide valuable lessons for anglers at all levels, inspiring them to explore and appreciate the art of fly fishing.

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Christian Bacasa, Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

By Christian Bacasa
Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast
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