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Four Seasons of Largemouth Bass
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Enjoy a week of fishing!
Four Seasons of Largemouth Bass
From Extreme Bass Lures
GENERAL FACTS ABOUT BASS LOCATION: Bass are cold blooded
creatures, meaning that their body temperature is directly
related to the temperature of the water in which they swim.
Thus the temperature of the water can have a great deal of
impact on where bass will be and how active they are on any
given day. In general, bass in most lakes and reservoirs are
most active when the water ranges from approximately 60 to
Bass will be less active in colder or warmer water. In cold
weather, bass will usually seek out the warmest water they
can find, provided they don't have to move too far to find
it. The amount of cover ( weeds, rocks, submerged wood, etc.)
that exists in the water varies dramatically from one lake
to the next. Some lakes are full of weeds, others have acres
of standing timber, still others appear barren, with little
visible cover at all. The amount, location and type of cover
available to the bass will also help determine its location
at any given time during the year.
Cover is not as important to smallmouth bass as it is to
largemouths, and is important to spotted bass only at
certain times of the year. Perhaps most important, the bass
is driven to new locations throughout the four seasons by
its need for food and procreation. Bass will move to certain
areas for spawning. Other areas may better serve their
forage needs. Bass do not migrate in the same sense that
An individual bass may not move a great distance during the
course of the year; rather, bass try to locate in areas
where all their seasonal needs can be met without traveling
long distances. Some species of bass inhabit different depth
zones than others. Largemouth bass, in most bodies of water,
are shallow water creatures much of the year. Smallmouth
bass spend most of their time deeper than largemouths. Spot-
ted bass have been tracked at depths of 100 feet, but will
also inhabit shallow water during the course of the year.
SEASONAL LARGEMOUTH BASS LOCATION:
Winter. In most bodies of water, the largemouth bass will
locate near the deepest parts of the lake, but usually not
in extremely deep water. Many bass will navigate to the
main lake and hold around bluffs, channel ledges and channel
banks, and the ends and sides of deeper points. Food is not
a tremendous factor driving largemouth bass location during
the winter months; bass consume far less forage in cold water
than in warm water, and digestion takes much longer as well.
Finding the warmest possible water can be a major key to
largemouth location now.
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Early Spring. The slowly rising temperature of the water and
the lengthening daylight period are cues to largemouth bass
that they should begin moving shallower. Look for ditches,
channel banks, stump or fencerows and other structures lead-
ing from deep to shallow water in the prespawn period; these
serve as pathways along which bass make a move to their
spring locations. Largemouths seldom stay in shallow water
for extended lengths of time in early spring; rather they
hold where deep and shallow water meet and make short feed-
ing forays into shallower areas.
Breaklines are critical structures during the prespawn
period; here largemouths have access to both deep and shallow
water only a few feet apart. By locating over a breakline, a
dropoff at the end of a big flat from 25 to 8 feet in depth,
the bass can hold in deep water when less active and travel
up into the shallows to feed. Determining the timing of
these short, infrequent feeding movements is critical to
fishing success; check them several times throughout the
course of the day.
Spring Spawn. Largemouth bass prefer to spawn in shallow
water. They often bed in coves and tributaries protected
from the chilling effects of a harsh north wind. The nest
will usually be no deeper than the depth at which sunlight
can penetrate to incubate the eggs; this is seldom deeper
than 4 feet. Bass like a hard bottom condition for spawning,
as opposed to mud or silt. But these fish are highly adapt-
able, they have been known to spawn in the tops of submerged
stumps and on old tires. Post Spawn. After spawning, many
largemouth bass reverse their movements along ditches, channel
banks and other migration routes and move back out to deeper
channel structures. However, if there is sufficient cover in
shallow water, they may not move far and may stay quite close
to their spawning grounds for extended periods.
Summer. Convex structure: humps, rockpiles, saddles and the
like is a major key to largemouth location in summer. Bass
will locate on these structures and tend to move shallow or
deeper on them as their mood dictates. Many largemouths will
move into shallower water at night to feed. In reservoirs
without much current movement, stratification occurs in hot
weather. Lower layers of the lake may be poor in dissolved
oxygen. any flow, however insignificant, can increase
dissolved oxygen levels and stack up largemouth bass; check
for schools to be holding around channel drop offs and
Fall. Largemouths tend to follow their forage more in the
fall than in other months, which can make them hard to
locate. Rather than relating to structural breaklines or
objects, they may be out in open water, chasing big schools
of shad. Largemouth bass binge feed in the fall. Food is
plentiful and they take advantage of the best feeding
opportunities. Often small, scattered groups of bass suspend
offshore or hold at the ends of long mainlake points waiting
for the right opportunity to bust a big school of baitfish.
These feeding binges often occur 2 or 3 times a day at scatt-
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Question of the Week
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Two Kerrymen go fishing. They catch a lot of fish and
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