How do you catch smallmouth during the spawn?

During spawning – what are the habits of the Smallmouth Bass and what techniques work best for catching them?

The Smallmouth Bass will begin to move to the spawning areas when the water temperatures begin to hit 40 degrees.  They are more active in colder water than the Largemouth Bass and will begin spawning early.  When the temperature hit’s the mid 50’s, the females will begin laying their eggs.  Since lakes don’t always warm to the same temperature at the exact same time, spawning of the Smallmouth Bass will not happen everywhere at the same time.  If you’re fishing in a large lake, the water will warm up more slowly than in the river or a smaller body of water.  In most cases, the Northwest side of the lake will hit the highest temperature first.  When choosing a spawning area, the Smallmouth Bass must have direct sunlight.  Shallow flats that are shielded from strong currents or rough water are going to be the most popular.  Water depth preference is between 3 and 15 foot depth and they will spawn in gravel bottom areas that may offer tree stumps, woodpiles, rocks or weeds for cover.  Once the spawning is over, some of the Bass will remain in the shallows while others head for deeper water.  When fishing for spawning Bass, spinner baits are an excellent way to catch the big females.  If the water is murky, try a ½ oz spinner bait.  Minnow lures work well in clear water.  Just before and after the spawn, you may see Bluegills spawning in the area as well.  Using a 5 inch reaper will help you catch the Bass that are waiting to prey on them.  Other baits that work well include spider grubs and jerkbaits.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow bass fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on bass fishing since 2004.

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