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Publication: Bass Matters
Four Seasons of Largemouth Bass

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><> ><>       BASS MATTERS - February 22, 2006       ><> ><> 

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Four Seasons of Largemouth Bass
From Extreme Bass Lures

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 
85 degrees. 

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 
waterfowl do. 

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.


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-
ered intervals.


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        GopherCentral's Question of the Week

Do you think coverage of Dick Cheney's hunting accident is news?

Question of the Week

                  FISHING JOKES CORNER

Two Kerrymen go fishing. They catch a lot of fish and 
return to the shore.

1st Kerryman: I hope you remember the spot where we caught 
all those fish.

2nd Kerryman: Yes, I made an 'X' on the side of the boat 
to mark the spot.

1st Kerryman: You idiot! How do you know we'll get the 
same boat?

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