John Rankin

Watch Water Temperature When Locating Early Spring Smallmouth Bass

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1008332_674040125945910_828177498_oWith the rapid approach of spring, many smallmouth fishing fanatics are anticipating wetting their lines for the first time this year. You might be considering where to go on the first outing so we have a few tips for locating early spring smallmouth bass to help you find the best spots.

Watch Water Temperatures

As with most fish water temperature is the key that unlocks the locations they will inhabit. This is true year round but is especially true as fish transition from the icy cold water of winter to warmer water temps of spring.

55 degrees has always been the benchmark temperature concerning smallmouths kicking their feeding and aggressiveness up. They are in the pre-spawn stage and will feed vigorously in preparation for the spawn.

Find The Holes

One of the best aids for locating early spring smallmouth bass is a map of the lake and a quality fish finder. Begin by searching for areas that are deep, in the 40 to 60 foot range, and work outward from these holes until you locate where the underwater terrain works up towards a flat. The smallies are going to begin coming out of these wintering holes to the warmer connected flats as the temperature moves into the mid-fifties.

The fish will still be somewhat lethargic from the winter due to a slow metabolism so fish your lures in a drop down and slow retrieve at first.  If you fail to get any strikes move on to another deep hole and repeat this process. The fish are going to be there but it is a matter of finding which hole they have been wintering  in and once you locate this then you are going to find smallies rising up to the flats where water temps are warmer.

These are the locations to work in a good pattern. The fish will “stage” on these flats soaking in the warm water temperatures which begins to raise their metabolism and thus their need to feed. They will often be at these locations before moving on towards their spawning areas. Locating these midway staging spots will take time but when you do find them the action is going to be fast and exciting.

Several baits work well when the water temperatures reach this level so keep switching baits as you work a promising spot. Jigs in the 1/8 to 1/4 ounce range, jerkbaits retrieved with a long pause and swimbaits bounced along the bottom will work, as well as small tubes and artificial crawfish baits.

Are you ready for spring smallmouth fishing? Let us know your tips and tricks so our readers will have success this spring as well.

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