Fishing for Smallmouth Bass The Johnstons’ favorite smallmouth lures Posted on September 18, 2021 Photo: Shane Durrance - Catching northern smallmouth on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River takes a versatile lineup of baits capable of working the entire water column, from top to bottom. Who better to share the secrets of catching big smallies than Canadians Chris and Cory Johnston? Weâll start with Chris. Photo: Shane Durrance - âThese baits cover the strike zone regardless of where the fish are,â Chris Johnston said. âYou have reaction and finesse baits, whatever the mood of the fish, they will put them in the boat.â Photo: Shane Durrance - For Chris, the lineup begins with a Ned rig. A Spy Bait, with its front and rear propellers, is ideal for inciting reaction bites from lethargic fish. And an old school tube jig is a proven producer. Photo: Shane Durrance - Now weâll move over to Cory Johnston. âAfter postspawn, and when the fish gather out deep, you need a deep-diving crankbait to reach them,â he said. Photo: Shane Durrance - The deep diver, Spy Bait and drop shot rig can do the trick. Photo: Shane Durrance - âYeah, I agree with Chris,â added Cory. âUp here in the north, the spawn is later than down south. So, you need baits that can work the mid-range and deeper depths.â Photo: Shane Durrance - As a bonus we also got the bait choices of the third Canadian Elite, Jeff Gustafson. He drills down and chooses the finesse approach. Smallmouth can be finicky and this lineup of drop-shot and Ned rigs does the trick. Photo: Shane Durrance - âI like these because they are proven fish catchers and match the size of the baitfish,â Gustafson added.