Saturday, February 17, 2018

What Triggers the Spawn Season for Bass

With the memory of deer season fading, my attention begins to shift towards my first love in the outdoors - bass fishing.  It is time to get new line on the reels and organizing my tacklebox so I can grab the exact bait at the right moment.  The thought of large fish just a few feet from the shoreline is enough to make any angler drool.  But, what exactly triggers the bass into their spring ritual of courtship?

A bass will begin to be romantically inclined as the water warms to the magical 60-degrees Fahrenheit.  As the water warms, they go through several phases where they move up from deeper water to a more nearshore location typically off of points or creek channels.  Big cold fronts can cause them to push back towards deeper water.  But, at some point, the 60 degrees is held and continues to warm.

So, the real question is how does water warm up with an ever-changing atmosphere?  Air temperature is in reality only one variable in the warming of a lake.  But, when the warmer spring air begins to rain, the real change begins to take place.

As the season's transition from winter to spring, the cold fronts still produce the rain, but they lack the arctic-style temperature changes of just a month ago.  Wild vacillations in temperature on any given early spring weeks are quite common where the high temperature may range from 50-75 degrees.  Mix in a rain on a 70-degree day and you can change the temperature of a lake quite dramatically.

When this change begins to take place, bass begin to get aggressive.  They must pack on some weight to carry them through the trauma of the spawn.  Females will be at their heaviest weight of the entire year and are far easier to catch.  From fast moving baits to slow crawling, they will inhale them.  Bigger is indeed better at this time of the year.

Start planning your off days now so you can have the time you need to target some of the biggest fish of your life.