Tis the Season: Catching Bass in the Spring-Winter Transition




There is a transition period on every body of water from season to season. Winter to spring, Spring to summer, summer to fall, and fall to winter. Each transitional period creates the need for the fishermen to alter their techniques and re-think what’s been working for them in the previous weeks season. What are causes and effects of the changes?

Winter to spring is hard on the fishermen because, well, we’re ready to get out of the house and catch some fish! The transition from winter to spring can be very frustrating as the weather often doesn’t co-operate and the fish can begin their move to spawning only to be rebuffed by sudden cold. This is the most exciting time of year because it’s truly a time when the bass of a lifetime can be caught. Keep track of the water temp and try to find the warmest water. When the average water temp is  - 60*-65* the bite should begin to pick up. Often the fish are in several different stages of pre-spawn, spawning, and post-spawn, each stage requires a unique approach by the fisherman.  A bonus is that all fish are becoming far more active and catchable.

A few tips that may help you:

  1. Know the stage the fish will be in by understanding the water temperature and their migrating habits. A water temp in to 50*-55* range will bring the females to Pre-Spawn when they suspend around standing timber or other features waiting on the males to form a nest and push her to it. The males are often the first fish we see as they cruise the shallow water.
  2. The fish will begin to tend their nests when the water is in the 65* range.  Look for nesting fish around brush, rocks, and other objects in the water. Bass tend to like something near their nest that can provide cover. If the lake is deep and no sufficient shallow water is available look in the tops of flooded trees and anywhere a nest could be built in 3’ or less of water.
  3. The post spawn is the most exciting time to fish for bass because the fish go on a feeding pattern to rebuild their energy from the spawn. This is prime top water time and a great opportunity to get a huge fish before they go deep for the summer. Use these methods to locate and understand the bass for a better chance of success.




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Lake Fork

Fishing Report from TPWD (Feb. 1)

FAIR. Water Stained; 56-59 degrees; 5.47 feet below pool. Fork had a warmer early week but dropped off in temperature and so the bite went with it for the most part. The shallow fish were on spinnerbaits and chatterbaits early in the week in 3-5 feet of water. Texas rigs and Viper XP jigs were doing good on docks with brush in 4-7 feet of water. Black and blue and green pumpkin were the best colors. Still had a few catches on squarebills in red and orange in 4-6 feet along creeks, but with the weather getting colder that should drop-off. Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Pro. Black bass are beginning the early stages of pre-spawn. Try slow moving suspending streamers and sculpin patterns in 5-7 feet of water. Crappie will be moving shallow in the next few weeks. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. Crappie are really good around deep main lake timber in 38-56 feet along creek channels. Fish have been a little more scattered the past week, so it is necessary to cover more water to catch limits. Seeing big white crappie mixed in with lots of smaller black crappie. Minnows will work very well and small soft plastics and hand ties are working well. Best colors for my boat have been purple and chartreuse. Getting good reports of brush pile fish biting as in 20-30 feet. Report by Jacky Wiggins, Jacky Wiggins’ Guide Service.

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