During the winter Bass are found in the deeper regions of the body of water in which they are located. During this period both the level of activity and the rate of metabolism are greatly reduced. While the fish will still feed during this period it will take several days to digest any meal.
As the water temperature increases in spring, the activity of the bass will also begin to increase. The activity level of bass will remain slow until the water temperature rises above sixty degrees. Once the water temperature rises above sixty degrees bass become a great deal more active and begin preparation for spawning. The greatest activity occurs when the water temperature reaches sixty five degrees During this time the bass begin to move out of the deeper waters toward the shallow regions where spawning will occur. All of these actions are a result of the biologic programming of the bass. Having an understanding of this activity will permit the angular to use it to his advantage when trying to locate fish.
Spawning usually occurs where the water is three to five feet deep and where the bottom is composed of clay, gravel or hard-packed sand and covered with a thin layer of soft mud. The male will create a circular nest from twelve to twenty four inches across where eggs can be placed on the roots of submerged grasses.
Early in the spawning season only small bass will be caught in the spawning areas. Fishing at this time should be shifted to areas near deep water where larger fish will be gathering prior moving into the spawning areas. After spawning the male will remain to protect the nest until approximately a week after spawning. During this time he can be provoked into attacking perceived threats as he “guards” the nest.
After the spawning cycle is complete the adult bass will once again return to the deeper waters to be found in their typical haunts.
By understanding the spawning cycle, both the water temperature that triggers it as well as the actions of the bass themselves during spawning, the angler can better predict where and how to find fish and to be a better bass fisherman.