Smallmouth Bass Fishing At Leslie E. Tassell Park

Fishing For Smallmouth Bass At Leslie E Tassell Park

Fishing for smallmouth bass in the Thornapple River at Leslie E. Tassell Park can bring a mixed bag of successes and failures. Normally, there are a few Bass and Pike that make for a fun afternoon or evening of fishing. However, on this day (April 26, 2024), the fishing was slow and difficult. Admittedly, it’s a bit early in the season, however, water levels appear to be keeping fish in deeper holes than normal for this time of year.

The Weather

It was around 60 degrees with overcast skies, and storms in the surrounding areas. The water was quite shallow and stained. Even the pond above the dam was significantly lower than it has been at this time for several years. Without decent rainfall, come summer, these rivers may be mostly unfishable due to low water levels and elevated water temperatures. It’ll be an interesting summer. Hopefully we pick up some decent rainfall in the coming months and avoid fish die-offs.


While locating holes where fish were holding was difficult, we did manage to catch a couple of small Smallmouth Bass utilizing Mepps spinners. If the bite is difficult, Mepps spinners can be among the only things that will trigger a bite. I like to drift them downstream while reeling slowly, allowing them to swing through holes behind structure where I think that there may be fish.

This little Smallmouth Bass wouldn’t hold still for a picture.

About The Park

Leslie E. Tassell Park is a small park along the Thornapple River in Cascade Township (just outside of Grand Rapids). It’s a nice park that features two small parking areas. Picnic tables and a picnic shelter make this a nice stopping point for a canoe or kayak trip down (or up!) the Thornapple River. The park can be found at: 2900 Thornapple River Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Many of Michigan’s rivers and lakes offer awesome smallmouth Bass fishing opportunities(including our Great Lakes). While it’s not a species we target heavily, it can make for a nice change of pace from chasing stream trout. Bivvy Creek (our fly fishing brand) is releasing some bass poppers! Be sure to check them out here.

Reading More

While we’re in the midst of fishing season here in Michigan, that’s not all we’re up to! Be sure to check out our essential backpacking gear list. Also, for survival and disaster preparedness tips, check out our sister website,

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