When you mention “Spring” to a bass fisherman, this usually means “BIG BASS”. It also means spawning time. Time for the bass to return to the warm, shallow waters. This much is certain, the urge to spawn is the bass’ primary concern, and it is one time when the water temperature matters most. Most fishermen will tell you that the ideal water temp is between 65-72 degrees.
While this may be the optimum temp, early spawners can be found in water temps of 60 degrees or less. Lake depths and water clarity are key factors in how fast the water warms, and how quickly the bass move into the spawning stages. A good example of this would be large impoundments such as Lanier or Allatoona, where on the upper end where the river enters, is the shallowest, and less clear. As compared to the lower end which is deeper and clearer.
Be aware of this as you start to work your spring patterns, you probably don’t want to fish the same on each end. You can be fishing pre-spawn fish on one end, bedding bass in the middle, and post spawn on the other end. Don’t let yourself get caught trying to fish the whole lake the same way. Once the surface temps start to rise, bass will begin to move from their winter hangouts to places where river channels or deep creeks bend against shorelines or points. From there, lowland reservoir bass head for smaller creek channels, drains or ditches that provide a route to shallow spawning flats.
Most of the time you will likely find fish staging in these ditches or points just outside the spawning area. Pay close attention to these areas, as the bass will use these same routes when they leave their beds after the spawn. Hard bottoms that flatten out on the upper end of a ditch, creek, or a cove are ideal spawning area, and you will most likely find fish there. First, start with a suspended jerkbait while the water is coolest. As the temps rise, switch to a rattling bait, such as a lipless crank bait, or spinner bait. Carolina rigged lizards, or soft jerk baits work well also.
These same places are effective during post-spawn, but use a top water lure, a Texas rigged worm, or a soft plastic lure. Top water lures are my favorites to catch post-spawn fish. I prefer a buzz bait, either black or white, or a mid-sized pop-r. Don’t think you can only be successful with the lures early in or late in the day, or only in calm conditions. I have found that they can be effective throughout the day. Sometimes you just have to change things up a little.
See special creel limits on Public Fishing Areas.
Here’s a little nugget I’ll throw in for free; because of the earth’s tilt and sun angle during early spring, the northern shorelines receive warmth for longer periods of the day, therefore, adjacent waters warm first. It’s the best place to start when searching for the pre-spawn bass. Cold fronts will push both bedding and prespawn bass out to deeper water instantly, as they will retreat to the nearest deep water that offers some form of cover. Try making long casts at dark objects on the bottom, such as moss beds, rocks, or logs. Bass like to move from one object to another, and will most likely be ready to ambush.
And finally, the moon phase is your best calendar for finding bedding bass. Fish tend to lock onto the nests during full moon periods. Remember, not all bass will bed at thee same time, but most will during the full moon periods. During post spawn, bass will back away from the shallows, but usually not too far. So, just back off a bit, and take aim again for some exciting, though sometimes frustrating fishing. Always remember, the most important thing—even a bad day fishing, is better than a good day at work!!! Happy fishing!