The bass population spawns around the same time of the year, making the spawning season quite predictable.
Spawn Bass appears in either late winter, early spring, or early summer depending on where you are fishing.
Spawning also happens in three stages.
The spawning season begins as soon as the water temperatures start to warm up. It works as a signal for the male bass to start searching for spawning grounds.
This is called the pre-spawn stage, where the bass comes out of their deep water winter homes and toward the shallow areas.
The second stage is called spawn. This is the stage when the eggs are laid and hatched.
The third and final stage is post-spawn when the male bass and the young bass are ready to leave their nest and explore the deep blue.
The duration of each of these stages and their transition period depends largely on the water conditions and the weather.
Bass Spawning Conditions
What are the ideal spawning conditions for bass? It all relies on the temperature, location, and moon phase.
The optimal water temperature for bass spawning is 55-65 degrees.
Water bodies in the southern parts of the United States will reach this temperature around early February. The exact time of the year is different for different locations.
The moon and its link with the spawning season is a controversial topic in the fishing community.
There is no scientific evidence that supports the effect of the lunar cycle on bass spawning. However, most anglers firmly believe in it, and their successful fishing trips only solidify that notion.
It is believed, that bass start spawning right after the first full moon if the water temperature rises above 60 degrees.
If you are a newbie angler, look out for all of these factors, after a season or two, you’ll be able to unlock the bass spawning pattern.
Stage 1: Pre-Spawn
As soon as the water warms up, the Pre-spawn stage begins. The bass population swims up from the deeper water to find a nesting area or spawning area.
This process is called staging.
In this stage, the bass notices that the cold water has turned warm. They begin to travel in a way that keeps them close to structural landmarks.
This way, they can find a suitable cove or an inlet for nesting.
The spawning behavior of largemouth bass during the pre-spawn stage is outside the norm.
They move fast and are feeding heavily, not only to maintain energy levels but also so they can go without food during the spawn stage.
Fishing for Bass During the Pre-Spawn Stage
If you target bass during this time, the key is to set up a position near the predictable staging areas as soon as the water temperatures rise to the 60-degree mark.
The mouths of inlets, saddles, pockets in shallower water, fallen trees, and flats of a creek are prime spawning areas.
Once you have found a structure, work your way towards creek channels, ditches, downed trees, brush piles, points, or docks, to find schools of spawning bass.
To catch some of the largest bass stay close to the shallow bays as they are no longer in deep water.
If you are on a clear water lake, the spawning area could be as deep as 20ft to 30ft. In less clear water, the pre-spawn bass could be found as deep as 5ft to 15ft.
The ideal lure during the pre-spawn stage would be a rattling lipless crankbait that resembles a crawdad.
Big fish can be caught during this period, as the male largemouth bass is super active. They feed heavily and bulk up at this time of the spawning process.
Stage 2: Spawn
The pre-spawn phase comes to an end when the male bass has found a suitable nest and has cleared it and prepared it for the fertilized eggs.
When Do Bass Spawn?
Spawning begins as the male bass starts circling the nest, looking for a female to mate with.
Once a suitable mate is found, they swim close together, releasing eggs and sperm in the nest.
As soon as the female bass lays the egg, she departs from the nest, leaving the male bass to raise the young ones.
The male bass stays near the nest, protecting it and watching over it until the eggs are hatched only a few days later.
With a school of offspring to look after, the male bass takes up the responsibility of keeping them safe and teaching them to feed and hunt.
After two weeks, when the school of young bass is ready to be on their own, the male bass departs, the young bass disperses in the water, and the spawning season comes to an end.
Bass Fishing During the Spawn
This stage is the best time to target bass because both, male and female bass are in the shallow water.
The shallow spawning areas can easily be spotted in clear water and you can see the bass spawn.
Largemouth bass spawn in 1 to 15ft of water.
You can lure it with a drop shot rig in the spawning bed.
Your chances of catching bass are higher if the water is clear and you can see the spawning beds and the bass circling it.
A drop shot in the bed bothers the male and female bass as they see it as a threat to their nest. They will come closer to remove the threat and take the bait.
If you are working in murky waters with little clarity, cast topwater lures. Slowly dragging a jig in the bed will also entice the bass to come closer to inspect.
Many anglers struggle fishing during the bass spawn because despite being able to see the bass, they are dealing with fish that isn’t feeding at all, but fasting to take care of their young.
Bait doesn’t work quite effectively in this situation.
Other anglers find it easy, but only because they learned the patterns, the tricks, and the best methods to apply in different conditions.
They know that the only way to get the bass to take the bait is to present it as a threat rather than food.
At this time of fishing, you need patience.
If one bait doesn’t work, use another, brighter one. And always place it on the spawning bed to get some attention.
Stage 2: Post-Spawn
The last stage begins when the spawning has finished and all the bass leaves the bed.
The young ones also disperse from the nesting site.
While the bed is now abandoned, the male and female bass along with the young ones called fry, remain in the shallow water.
The male bass stays around to keep an eye on the offspring and the female bass sticks to the shallow areas to gain strength after spawning.
In the post-spawn period, even if the bass swims around, they won’t stray too far from the shallow water and will stay in schools in weed lines or bush piles.
Fishing For Bass in Post-Spawn Stage
It is the easiest to target bass during post-spawn.
They can easily be lured out using a worm or a Texas rigged finesse worm cast around and near the spawning beds.
Top Tips for Bass Fishing
Now that you know how bass spawn, here are some tips to help you in your bass fishing journey.
The best time of the day to fish for bass is during the lowest light hours when the fish takes the most bites. Early morning just after sunset sees lots of bass activity.
Invest in top bass fishing rods so it is easy for you to use different techniques under different conditions.
In the summer months, later afternoon is prime time for bass fishing.
Understanding how the bass spawn is key to getting good at catching it. It is an exciting time to fish for bass because of the challenges and the amazing rewards you get for it. Some of the largest basses are caught during the spawning season.
The three stages of bass spawning require differing casting methods so you can pull the bass from the bed. Learn and understand and put it to practice to bring some big bass home.