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Image by Keith Misner

the hunter's lane:
bass fishing
[spring season
bass fishing tips


In many areas, largemouth bass are just starting to come out of their winter doldrums. Generally, their metabolism starts to increase and their diet changes from deep-water bait-fish balls to things like crawdads in shallower water. Get in on the fun of spring bass fishing with the right lures to drive them wild.


The Hunter's Lane is here to support your success with this brief guide

Bass Fishing [Spring Season Bass Fishing Tips]


Understanding How Weather Patterns Affect Bass Movement: 

Depending on weather patterns and water temps, expect fish to move up and down in the water column, but also to start moving greater distances for baits. In short, they become aggressive. Now's the time to take advantage by creeping football head jigs, creature baits and worms across the bottom. Cast shallow to the bank and begin dragging the bait out to the boat. Keep your rod tip down. Sweep it sideways, ever so slowly, staying in contact with rocks and other habitat. Assume the offering is being studied. Give them a chance to eat it. Don't pull it away too fast. Stop at about 15 feet and re-cast. 


Pay Attention To Moon Phases: 

During the spring, the bass become very active from about 5 days prior to the full moon to 2 days after it. This period offers some of the best fishing of the year. Later in the spring, the bass spawn big time around the full moon, weather permitting.

Take Notice To Water Temperatures: While bass will bite readily in water temperatures between 61-84° F, the ideal water temperature range to catch bass consistently in is between 74-79° F when bass are most aggressively feeding and daytime highs do not force bass into shaded or deep structure. Bass will be in deep main-lake holes. When it comes to the best season to fish for bass, spring and summer are good times. Ideally, it's when the water temperatures range from 60 to 80 degrees. However, many anglers will also tell you that it's in spring whenever bass begin to spawn.

Find The Sweet Spot: Once you get a bite, target that depth zone. I prefer custom jigs in March, with the heads painted brown and orange. I use Reaction Innovations Smallie Beavers in natural colors for a trailer, and always split the tail at the seam. If I'm having trouble getting bit due to weather or targeting smaller fish, I'll fish just the Beaver on a brown football head jig, and fish it on a spinning rod with 8-pound fluorocarbon. 



It's All About The Drag: 

Whether I'm bait-casting or spin-fishing, I'm tip-dragging a few inches at a time and sweeping the rod the same direction on hook-sets. Submerged creek bottoms or drains in 10 or 15 feet are great areas to target, especially if the banks are flat directly above and the channel is only a few feet deep. When the crayfish imitator falls off the submerged bank and into the channel, the strike will typically occur. Expect it. Be ready. You might only get one chance at an early-spring bass, depending on water temperature and how things are trending in your area. 



One of the most famous, and most fun, parts of summer fly fishing is terrestrials. Although Tom Rosenbauer argues that terrestrials are actually on the menu during other months as well, there's no denying that the summer is when they're at their peak. Beetles, ants, and grasshoppers are some of the most popular, and they come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. In addition to being deadly during the hottest times, like August, terrestrials are a blast to fish. Something about a hopper makes even the smallest fish bold, and getting to see the aggressive strikes on the surface is well worth forgoing the traditional delicate dry flies that crush it early in the summer. If you consider a mouse a terrestrial (it is from land, after all), you can try throwing that as well during the summer. In meadow streams at night, big browns are lurking for a meaty meal.

Practice Concientious Fish Handling: 

If you're fishing to take a limit home, handling fish with care in the net isn't of super high importance.

On the other hand, if you're practicing catch-and-release (or catch a non-legal fish), you'll want to make sure the fish has the best chance at survival upon being released. This means handling fish with care.

Treating fish well should be a staple of any fishing trip, regardless of the season. In the summer, though, the stakes are much higher. As air and water temperatures increase, fish have a harder time recovering. This was also an argument for avoiding the heat of midday. Apart from fishing during the morning and evening, proper handling is vital to the survival of released fish. This includes getting the fish in as quickly as possible, keeping it in the water or at least dripping wet, removing the hook quickly, and allowing it to recover in calm but moving water until it's strong enough to swim off on its own.

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