Pre-spawn Bass Fishing

During the pre-spawn period, bass will move from deeper water towards shallower areas with hard bottoms and nearby vegetation. They are actively feeding to build up reserves for the upcoming spawn. Pre-spawn bass fishing is all about identifying these areas where bass are likely to be feeding and using the right lures and techniques to entice them to bite.

Pre-spawn bass fishing can be an exciting and rewarding experience for anglers, but it’s important to remember to practice catch-and-release to help protect the fishery and ensure that future generations can enjoy the sport as well.

Bass angler driving boat on lake

When is Pre-spawn Bass

Pre-spawn bass fishing refers to the period of time when bass are preparing to spawn and are actively feeding in order to build up energy for the rigors of the spawning process. This period typically occurs in the spring when water temperatures are between 45 and 60 degrees, although the exact timing can vary depending on geographic location and weather conditions.

Bass angler fishing on a lake in the spring

Where to Find Pre-spawn Bass

Bass tend to move towards shallow waters with hard bottoms and nearby vegetation during the pre-spawn period. Some common locations to find bass during this time include:

  • Points and drop-offs: Look for areas where the shoreline drops off quickly, creating deep water adjacent to shallow water. These areas often have a mix of rocks, gravel, and vegetation that bass like to use for cover.
  • Back bays and coves: These areas often warm up more quickly than the main lake, making them a popular spot for bass during the pre-spawn. Look for areas with shallow cover like weeds, brush, or fallen trees.
  • Creek channels: Bass will often move up into creeks and tributaries during the pre-spawn to find warmer water and suitable spawning habitat. Look for areas with deep channels and nearby cover.
  • Docks and boat houses: These structures provide excellent cover for bass and often have a hard bottom nearby. Look for areas with a mix of shade, vegetation, and structure.

The exact location of pre-spawn bass can vary based on a variety of factors. Be willing to explore different areas and adjust your tactics as needed.

Angler releasing a largemouth bass

Pre-spawn Bass Fishing Tips

Here are some pre-spawn bass fishing tips to help increase your chances of success:

  • Monitor water temperature: Pre-spawn bass fishing is all about timing, and water temperature is a critical factor. Use a thermometer to monitor the water temperature and look for areas where it’s between 45 and 60 degrees.
  • Focus on cover: During the pre-spawn period, bass are attracted to areas with cover like weeds, rocks, and fallen trees. Look for areas with a mix of cover types and experiment with different lures and techniques to find what works best.
  • Try different depths: bass can be found at a variety of depths, so it’s important to try different techniques and depths until you find where the fish are biting. Start shallow and work your way deeper until you find the sweet spot.
  • Be patient: Keep trying different lures and techniques until you find what works.
  • Match the hatch: During the pre-spawn period, bass are feeding on a variety of prey, so it’s important to match the hatch by using lures that mimic the natural movements of the baitfish in the area.
  • Pay attention to weather conditions: Weather can have a big impact on pre-spawn bass behavior, so it’s important to pay attention to conditions like wind, rain, and cloud cover. As the water warms, for example, bass may be more likely to move into shallower areas.
Douglas rods on a boat deck

Best Pre-spawn Bass Lures

When fishing for pre-spawn bass, it’s important to use techniques that mimic the natural behavior of the bait during this time. Here are some effective lures to try:

  • Jigging: Jigs are a versatile bait that can be fished in a variety of ways, making them an excellent choice for pre-spawn bass. Try bouncing a jig along the bottom near areas of cover or dragging it slowly along a drop-off. Be sure to use the appropriate weight jig for the technique you’re using.
  • Crankbaits: Are another effective choice for pre-spawn bass, particularly when fished along drop-offs or near shallow cover. Choose a lure that mimics the baitfish in the area and experiment with the retrieve speed, depth, and type of crankbait.
  • Spinnerbaits: These are a great option for covering a lot of water quickly and can be effective in shallow areas with vegetation or around docks and other structure.
  • Soft plastics: Soft plastic lures like senkos, creature baits, and worms can be fished slowly along the bottom or around cover, mimicking the natural movements of prey that pre-spawn bass are targeting.
  • Jerkbaits: One of the best all-around choices for pre-spawn bass. They can be fished in a variety of depths and are effective for triggering strikes. Experiment with different retrieval speeds and pauses to find what works best.


Best Rods for Pre-spawn Bass Fishing

Being effective fishing for pre-spawn bass often requires a lot of rods and setups ready to go as the conditions, depth, and temperature changes. Douglas offers a wide variety of technique specific rods that are perfect for pre-spawn bass. All backed by our lifetime warranty!

Check out the rods we offer or visit your local Douglas dealer for more information. Want a rod shipped to your door? Visit an online dealer to purchase a rod today.


Angler releasing a smallmouth bass