How Bass React to Changes in the Temperature

As the cold winter days make way for warmer spring temperatures, sluggish and inactive bass begin to stir. Bodily functions, including the urge to hunt for prey, that had considerably slowed during the cold weather will gradually return. The warming of the waters created during the transition between winter and spring is known as prespawn and creates a perfect “storm” for anglers eager to take advantage of this “coming alive” period in bass fishing.

Largemouth Bass Vs Smallmouth Bass

We know that there are significant differences between the largemouth and the smallmouth bass. The smallmouth prefers cool, clear lakes and rivers while the largemouth prefers calm, shallow, bush tangled waters. During the prespawn period, however, both species are involved in nesting activities. The largemouth bass clears out an area at the bottom of shallow water for nesting while the smallmouth bass likes to make a shallow depression in gravel or small rock.  These are important habits to keep in mind when angling for bass during this transitional period.

Summer Bass Fishing

As the water gradually warms, bass begin to rise from their slumber as their metabolic rate increase gradually. As their activity levels increase, they move out of the deeper oxygen rich water to find food. There is no one defined period when bass enters the prespawn phase since it depends a lot on temperature, water levels and water conditions. Since smallmouth bass typically like the cooler lake and rivers, their underwater largemouth bass fish prespawn period could take place when temperatures are between 50 and 59 degrees. Largemouth bass on the other hand, will wait for temperatures that range between 55 and 64 degrees. So as you can see there will be a significant period over which both smallmouth and largemouth bass will be in prespawn stage at the same time.

Tips for making the most of prespawn bass fishing

1)    Get a map. Before heading out for a day of prespawn fishing, it is important to do your homework. A accurate topographical map of the water you plan to fish in will provide important information about migratory routes, shoreline, structures and possible spawning areas.

2)    Know the weather. As mentioned before, the weather does have an impact on prespawn activities and it is wise to keep abreast with the changing weather patterns. Whether it is an earlier than normal spring or a warmer than usual winter, windy, cloudy, or sunny days, all have an effect on your prespawn fishing and you will need to adjust accordingly. For example, the bass may be more active when it is cloudy but hide out when it is sunny.

3)    Identify structures. Look for areas with rock piles, trees, or stumps.  Inlets or coves with shelves close to the river banks often attract migrating males and females looking for food and the ideal spot to nest and spawn.

4)    The best bait. What is the best bait to use during the prespawn period? While experienced bass anglers may have their own tried and true methods there is some common bait that work best during the prespawn when bass are hungry and aggressive. Bottom crawling Jigs and worms seem to appeal to the feeding frenzy of the prespawn bass. If you keep an ample supply of soft plastics, jigs and crankbaits in your tackle box, you will be able to adequately cover the strike zone in prespawn fishing. Also, increase your chances by adding a scent to the bait. It not only gives it a fish scent but also, more importantly masks human odors

5)    Use a fish finder. If you have a fish finder make use of it at this time as it will provide you with valuable information in locating those deep water structures, staging areas and nearby spawning areas.

Final Thought​ 

The important thing to keep in mind is that bass are transitioning back and forth from deep to shallower water to satisfy their need for food and in preparation for spawning. They are after nutritious fare like the crawfish. At anytime during a day of fishing they can be found just below the surface or 40 to 50 feet below. The movement, aggression, habits and ferocious feeding patterns of the prespawn bass can provide anglers with lucrative opportunities and exciting times



Photo credit: grubsroom via / CC BY-NC-SA

13 thoughts on “Fishing Advice

  1. Hello

    Impressing article on bass fishing, I always just went fishing whenever I was in the mood and had the time. I never knew the weather could predict your bass fishing success, I enjoyed reading your tips it has given me a lot to consider with bass fishing only a few months away

    Do you think live bait or lures is the best tactic for bass fishing?

    1. Hi Jeffrey

      Thanks for the comments.

      I fish for sport and for me the challenge is in using lures. Believe me, I don’t always catch fish, but it’s not called catching. LOL Different lures work better at different times of the day, at different temperatures, at how sunny it is that day…’s exciting to me to try to figure out what’s going to work for me.

      Again, Thanks for the comment.


  2. Thanks for the great article. As an avid camper myself, I do a lot of fishing while I am out in the wilderness, and Bass Fishing is definitely one of my favorites. However, I had no idea that they rise from their slumber during the warmer months. I just thought they were always there.

    So they are likely to be in their slumber in the winter months then? That is really good to know. Great job on the article.

  3. I don’t like fishing myself, but our kids are wanting their dad to take them soon. This was a great read and informative for newbies like us lol.


  4. Hello and thanks for sharing, fishing is one of my favorite sport, in fact I still can remember the times when my father would take me with him fishing, now that I have a family of my own we go fishing also. Your post os so awesome and well detailed with a lot of great information, I am sure that your readers will love what you are sharing and would want to follow as directed. Thanks again for sharing.

  5. Great post! I’m not a big fisherman but I found this super informative and was very interesting! If I ever go bass fishing, now I know what to do 🙂

  6. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for these tips about bass fishing, it seems like a really good start. I was just wondering, is the prespawn a great time to catch bass because they are more active and spend time closer to the surface?



  7. I was a very keen beach fisherman in my youth and I loved reading this well researched article on bass fishing. Unfortunately where I live in Western Australia there are no bass to be found as they are only located in coastal rivers and streams along the east coast of Australia. Great tips though for fishermen over there!

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