This year is proving to be our second “colder than usual” winter in a row. This makes for another late spring. Water temperatures will be slow to warm, and cold fronts will continue to push the bass back from their staging areas outside of spawning flats. This whole movement toward shallow water is the pre-spawn.

Although water temperature is a major factor for the migration to the shallows, it is not the sole contributor. The length of the days also determines when breeding will take place. The bait that bass feed on ease from their deep water haunts toward creek channels as the days get longer, and bass follow. It’s the time of year to catch the biggest bass in the lake!


Pre-spawn fishing calls for an understanding of the lake to determine staging areas in deeper water outside of the actual spawning area. Today’s anglers study maps and use aerial photos from the internet to help find these “magic spots.” Once on the water, fish finders are used to pinpoint the exact locations of the fish and bait.

Look for points inside major creeks where the main channel swings in close. The bass are on these key points ready to move up and begin nesting. Many baits are made to reach these fish; but one worked on or just off the bottom and slower, can really pay off. Carolina Rigs with plastic offerings are a good bet, as they can cover a lot of water and can be worked slowly. Jigs with trailers are always a good option, but take more patience. Plastic lizards, crankbaits, and slow-rolled spinnerbaits are great and sure to produce, and umbrella rigs can be deadly, as well. As long as you are fishing in the right spots and depths, your favorite way to fish can definitely pay off. Once you catch a fish, SLOW DOWN and fish that area.

Sure, bass will move to specific shallow cover to feed at times, but the mother-load is behind you, in deeper water during the pre-spawn. Bass use ‘structural highways’ to move in and out. Start with the channel swings close to secondary points and find a ditch, tree line, old road bed, or the point itself that leads the fish to the shallow water.

Generally, the biggest bass will spawn first. They are heaviest during pre-spawn, will certainly eat. It is no wonder this time of year a good bass guide’s calendar is full.


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