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Fishing for Spawning Bass | Approaches That Work in Lakes

Strategies for Fishing for Spawning Bass in Lakes

Bass are beginning their most dynamic time of the year. Water temperatures are reaching that magic range between 55- and 65-degrees, which triggers the largemouth bass spawn. In lakes throughout the country, fishing for spawning bass is some of the best bass fishing of the year. This is especially true at the Briarwood Ohio fishing club, where you can catch the spawning action and catch world class bass.

Focus First and Foremost on Shallow Water

There is no secret that the best place to fish for spawning bass in lakes is in the shallows. Bass will be positioned in areas such as the backs of creeks, coves, gravel flats and sandy openings around shoreline vegetation. In these shallow areas of lakes, you can sight fish for spawning bass either from a boat or the bank. Approach carefully and maneuver cautiously in these shallow areas as you can and will spook bass right off the beds if you are careless.  

Another consideration when fishing for spawning bass are the regulations on your lake and the impact catching spawning bass may have. Definitely reeling in a large female from her bed will disrupt her spawning cycle. However, as long as that fish is returned after caught, she will return to her pre-catch spawning activities. Additionally, some lakes and even entire states have restrictions on specifically targeting spawning bass on beds. Not to worry, there are alternative places during the largemouth bass spawn to catch fish.

Alternative Spots to Fish for Spawning Largemouth Bass in Lakes

Most anglers believe that there is only one place to find bass during the spawning season, as described above. However, one of the greatest misunderstood largemouth bass spawning facts is that they can only be found in shallow flats during the spawn. Of course, the largemouth bass spawn will drive fish shallow but not all bass in an entire lake will be in that single spot. In fact, there are two other spots to target when fishing for spawning bass on lakes. 

The first place you can find fish during the spawn in transitional areas. Transitional areas are distinct and well-defined places on the lake where deeper water meets shallower water. Look for depth changes well over 10-feet in a short distance. Although most anglers will focus on shallow water during the bass spawning season, these transitional zones hold bass that are either not spawning yet or are using the area to feed. Fish these spots throughout the day as bass will often move to and from these transitional areas over the course of the day.  

The second place that holds fish during the largemouth bass spawning season are places with dense cover adjacent to open shallow water. Bass use these areas to feed aggressively just prior to spawning. Large sunken brush piles, large underwater boulder outcrops and dense submerged shorelines are all ideal places for fishing for spawning bass on lakes. It is also worth noting that these same areas are also productive spots for post-spawn bass fishing to catch bass moving out of spawning grounds and kicking it back into feeding mode.

How to Catch Largemouth Bass When Spawning

Catching spawning bass comes down to two basic strategies. Which one you use depends on which spots you are fishing for spawning bass. 

If you are targeting spawning bass on beds, these are the best bed fishing baits to throw. 

  • Flipping jig with a craw trailer 
  • Bladed jig with swimbait trailer 
  • Swimbait in bluegill color 
  • Green pumpkin tubes in 4- and 5-inch 
  • Carolina rigged craw in natural or dark colors 

Sometimes the bed fishing activity is tough or perhaps you are fishing one of those alternative spots during the bass spawning season. In that case, the best spring bass lures would include these baits.

  • Shad style crankbaits 
  • Spinnerbaits 
  • Finesse worms 
  • Squarebill crankbaits 
  • Suspending jerkbaits 

 

Fishing for Spawning Bass When They Disappear 

Like most anglers, you are going to be sight fishing bass on beds, where legal, when fishing for spawning bass. There are many days in the spring where the weather and water will not cooperate with this bass fishing strategy.  

Cloudy, windy and rainy days can all impact how well you are able to sight fish for spawning largemouth bass. In addition, dirty and high water levels can make it difficult to target shallow bass effectively. For days like these during the largemouth bass spawn, you have to change your fishing strategies in order to be successful.

Fish Spawning Grounds Anyways

Even in dirty water or on cloudy days, bass are going to be on those shallow flats spawning so long as the bass are spawning. Rely on fishing reports, water temperatures, moon phase and time of year to be confident that bass are spawning in a particular area. If you are sure the bass spawning season is in full swing, then fish those spawning grounds regardless of conditions. Bass will be there and even though you can’t sight fish you can still blind cast flipping baits and craws through those areas. 

Start and Stop Lures for Bass on Beds

A good strategy for fishing spawning areas blindly is to stop and start your presentations. On the initial cast, let that lure drop to the bottom and sit there. An aggressive male may pick it up at that point or more likely the fish you spooked off the beds takes a few moments to come back and then bites it. Start jigging and dragging whichever particular lure you are fishing with and stop it again. Do this start and stop for as long as your lure is in the spawning area.

Fish Slow and Move Slow

The type of lures for bass on beds mostly require a slow presentation. This is true but you also want to move slowly. Fishing shallow water and not being able to see the fish you are casting at puts you at a huge disadvantage. Frantic trolling motor action, fast movements, shadows and loud casts all alert bass, which make them harder to catch. Keep movement to a minimum, proceed slowly into spawning grounds and be stealthy on the bank.

Fishing opportunities for catching largemouth bass are prolific in the spring. The opportunities may be plentiful but without sound strategies for fishing for spawning bass, the days can be tough. Concentrate your strategies on knowing where bass will be (and where they won’t), having the best lures for spawning largemouth bass, and options for when spawning bass disappear. Doing so puts you in the best possible position to fish the bass spawning season.

Intrested in fishing for spawning bass at Ohio’s best fishing club, check out the fishing membership options at Briarwood Sporting Club.