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Spring Bass Fishing

Spring Bass Fishing on Rivers

On rivers, bass behavior is very predictable during the spring. Their first priority is to fatten up before they spawn. During this time bass are looking to get out of the current. They will be moving to backwaters. The backwaters could be natural creek channels or manmade canals. Spring is known for having a lot of rain and as the rain comes in it will wash out a bunch of mud into those creek channels. As that is happening bass will sit on those channels and feed. During drier years the bass won’t move to the backwaters as fast.

If you struggle fishing murkier water then you can focus on the manmade canals. Manmade canals won’t bring in as much mud as creek channels and they will be much clearer, it will typically be warmer during storms as well.

Once bass are finished bulking up they will stay in the same places to spawn. To catch them look for pinch points. In small creeks, it could be the mouth of the creek. In larger creeks, it could be each finger that runs off of the creek. These pinch points are where the creek or canal is the narrowest. Bass focus on these points because that is where most of their food has to travel through a single location.

Spring Bass Fishing on Reservoirs

The overall goal of bass during the spring is the same on both types of reservoirs, they want to bulk up and move to spawning grounds. The pattern however can look very different between highland and lowland reservoirs.

Highland Reservoirs

During the spring bass on highland reservoirs are headed up the arms of the lake. The backs of these coves are the only place they can find consistent shallow water for spawning flat. In the back of these coves, there are typically creeks that will dump mud and silt which will create a flat area. This is where bass will spawn. It is very consistent and predictable. As the bass migrate to the backs they will stop along secondary points within the arms.

Secondary points are points within a cove that stick out. Bass will work their way to the backs stopping at secondary points along the way. The amount of water flow will determine how fast bass move through these points. During drier years they will move much slower and sit at each point longer. They move slower because of their food, the baitfish are moving back slower.

Target the secondary points will the best structure. This could a point that comes out the furthest or has a downed tree. These points are where the biggest bass will be. Typically bass will not backtrack once they start their migration. If the temperature drops or there is erratic weather bass will typically just wait it out where they are. This is why the biggest bass will be at the best structure.

During a year where you are getting a lot of rain and the lake level is rising faster than normal then the bass will move to the backs much faster. This is because the baitfish will be moving back quickly too. Baitfish like the murkier water because it’s typically warmer and the rain will be washing in a lot of food and the rising water level is providing new feeding ground. With the rising water quickly don’t be afraid to fish super shallow. Bass will go ultra-shallow during this time searching that newly flooded area for food. Once the water level stabilizes they will move back and settle in 5-10ft.

Lowland Reservoirs

Lowland reservoirs can be a little more tricky to find during the spring. Overall the behavior is the same, bass will be moving along secondary points making their way to the back of coves to spawn. What makes it a little more tricky is there are a lot more likely secondary points in lowland reservoirs and bass have a ton of flat areas to choose from.

So where do you start searching? For wet years with a lot of water running in then, it is very similar to highland reservoirs. Head to the back where the source of the running water is coming in. Once the water level settles they will spread out along the flats.

During a drier year, they will again take longer to make their way to the backs of the coves. They will still move along secondary points but might be more offshore.

Because there are so many places for bass to go to spawn your focus should be on finding potential pinch points. These pinch points will be your best chance at finding bass.

Spring Bass Fishing on Natural Lakes

On natural lakes, bass will come up from deeper water until they find a comfortable depth. Once they find their comfortable depth they will then follow the contour lines along primary points until they find suitable spawning bays. In natural lakes, ledges near primary points are prime areas to target.

During storms or after heavy rain the water will get murkier from the runoff. During this time bass will move up shallower to feed. Once the water starts clearing back up though they will retreat back to their ledges.

Once temperatures start getting more stable and its getting closer to spawn, bass will move up and find manmade structure. Places like canals or marinas are prime targets during this time.

The good thing about natural lakes is there is so little change in the lake. So once you find a prime spot and because there is nothing else around there won’t just be one bass, there are likely tons of bass. This can make for a great day on the water where you can catch bass just about every catch.

On the other hand, because all the bass are schooling up together in a few spots that means if you are fishing anywhere else, you are casting to empty water. So if you arent getting bites keep moving. Once you get a bite it won’t be a fluke and there will be more bass nearby. Keep fishing the area until you get another bite.

Spring Pond Bass Fishing

Pond anglers, you are looking for the same things mentioned above but on a smaller scale. For shallow bowl ponds, the bass will behave just like they would on a natural lake. Bass will likely school in one, two, or three spots depending on the size of the pond. If there is a pinch point or creek inlet, they will be there.

If your pond has a dam and has steep edges then you would fish it like a highland lake. For slow tapering ponds with a dam, bass will behave just like a lowland lake. All the information still applies, just on a smaller scale. Ponds can be easier to fish because there are fewer pieces of structure. They can also be frustrating when the bass aren’t biting because you know they aren’t anywhere else.

Developing a Pattern During the Spring

Throughout the spring, as you are checking these prime locations move fast and try to find a pattern quickly. Once you get a bite or two, don’t forget the location. Try to determine why they were there and try to repeat it. If you are getting bites on the 3rd secondary point in one arm then you can likely repeat that pattern in the next arm and the next one, and so on. The best way to develop a pattern quickly is with reaction baits. They are great for covering a lot of water quickly and are excellent during the spring. For specific lure recommendations read our spring bass lure buyers guide.

Spring Bass Fishing Tips

  1. The first place bass will start making the move will be on the north side of the lake. The north side tends to warm up quickly.
  2. The first spawning area near the dam often has some giant bass.