Warm Water Is Essential
Examples of areas to look for fish during the Spring.
It’s no secret that largemouth bass seek out warm water after a cold winter. However, it’s important to note that the warmest water can be found in different areas of the lake, depending on various factors. While the northwest corner of a lake is often a good starting point for those unfamiliar with the body of water, it’s not always where the warmest water will be. In fact, after years of experience, I’ve found that warm water can be located almost anywhere on the lake.
When searching for largemouth bass in the spring, it’s worth keeping an eye out for dark bottom bays. They tend to be particularly promising spots on sunny days as the dark bottom absorbs heat, which in turn attracts both bass and baitfish. Another tip is to seek out the smallest, shallowest, and most isolated bays on the lake. These areas will warm up more quickly due to the limited water volume, and as soon as the ice melts and the sun starts shining, largemouth bass will start congregating in these small bays.
Keep in mind that not all fish in the system move up at the same time. In fact, this process, at least in the north, can be drawn out over the course of weeks. Bass will begin their general migration towards the shallows. Some will move all the way up immediately while others will stop in staging areas before going the rest of the distance.
Look for big, female largemouth bass to use these deeper water staging areas before moving in shallow to feed and spawn. Typically, the best way to find these staging areas is to locate the spawning bays and backtrack to the nearest access to deep water. Oftentimes, these areas are the points and flats directly outside of spawning bays.
Lastly, bait selection is key this time of year. Because there are so many fish in so many different areas, you have to be ready for anything as an angler. However, when simplified, fishermen don’t need many baits to be successful in the early spring. For staging, deeper fish, an assortment of mid-depth crankbaits, rattlebaits, and heavier swim jigs are good options. This time of year, slow retrieves seem to work best. If the bass are around, they will munch whatever you throw. Throw your confidence and go-to baits.
The same goes for shallow water fish. Anglers will find great success with weightless soft plastics like Texas-rigged finesse worms and Senkos as well as wacky rigs. If you are fishing a large spawning bay and need to cover water, look to swimbaits or swim jigs. Bomb cast these baits as far as you can, slow roll them on the bottom, and hold on for dear life.