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Spawning season beginning for bass

May 21, 2006|by Bill Anderson

This has been an unusual spring. We had some early warm temperatures and lately some cooler than normal nights. But in most of our rivers and lakes, the spawning season for bass is beginning. The actual peak of the spawn in any river or lake is determined by several factors such as local water temperature and water clarity.

Spring rains often make for waters that are both high and muddy and the river bass have the ability to delay spawning and wait for conditions to improve. On larger lakes, cooler than normal water temperatures will cause the fish to stage near favorite spawning areas and wait for better temperatures.

Fishing for bass during the spawn has always been a controversial subject. In this region, the regulations vary by state, but most states now allow catch-and-return fishing for bass during the spawning periods. This allows anglers to enjoy some high-quality fishing and you can then return the fish to the water to continue the spawning process. There are opponents to any fishing pressure during the spawn, but the catch-and-return approach seems to be accepted in most circles.

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The primary reason that spawning bass need protection is that the fish are in predictable locations and they are aggressive in protecting their spawning areas. This can make them fairly easy to catch with a variety of lures.

In most smallmouth waters, a good starting lure is a tube bait in a natural color. Many bass anglers like to start out with spinnerbaits, which will take the more aggressive fish.

For many years now, my favorite lure for fishing over spawning smallmouths is a small topwater lure or a floater/diver. Twitching a Rapala-type lure near a spawning area will usually draw plenty of interest, particularly from the male bass guarding the nest after the eggs have been deposited. This presentation has worked for river smallmouths throughout the country.

The choice of fishing for bass during the spawning period will always be up to the individual. When fishing for bass during this period, we need to keep in mind that it is important to play them quickly and release them to get back to the business of spawning.




Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail.

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