Pre-Spawn in the North: Largemouth

Many anglers believe that there has to be some kind of intricate algorithm to catching pre-spawn bass, but that just isn’t the case. To see what the case really is though, let’s take a second and break it down.


The colder the water is the lower the fish’s metabolism will be, this means that during the first part of pre-spawn the fish will be very chilled and have a low metabolism. The first part of the season usually has temperatures of around 47-53 degree water. As the season progresses though the temperatures will heat up to about 54-57 degrees, this is the time when the thermocline will be more defined, this causes the warm water to sit on top of the cold water. The bass will react to the warmer temperatures by feeding more aggressively to being production of breeding materials, they will begin to stay above the thermocline to live and feed, making them an easy target for anglers with computers.

Now for the super-hyper time! The late pre-spawn; during this time the bass will super active in terms of feeding. When the water temperature hits 58-60 degrees the bass know the spawn is coming up quick so they will feed heavily to finish the maturing process of the breeding materials. This is the time when you will have some of the best days out on the water.


During pre-spawn the bass may remain in the deeper water dues to the thermocline not being fully determined but as the season continues and the water warms it will cause the bass to move into the shallower, warmer water. The place that will warm up first will be northern shores with darker bay and clear water, this is because the northern shores get the most exposure from the sun and the sun’s heat will easily penetrate the clear water to heat the dark bottom. This is where you want to begin looking for your pre-spawn bass.

When trying to pattern pre-spawn bass there is a few tendencies they usually can be followed by. The main one to look at is during the earlier part of the season when the bass are leaving their wintering holes to relocate to their beds they can usually be found in the warmer shallow bays with limited cover, this because the baitfish tend to school in these waters. During the early season though there tends to be cold snaps, this will cause the bass to retreat back to the first drop off that offers any substantial cover, bass are also known to stay in coves with thick cover during adverse conditions.

Once the season progresses to the later part of the season and the water warms up to about 56-58 degrees the bass will begin to heavily roam the flats looking for food to finish the maturation of the ever-so vital eggs and sperm. As stated in the biology section the bass become very aggressive, this makes it easy to power fish the flats in those northern coves. The best time to get out there during this season is usually later in the evening on sunny days, this is because the sun has been on the bays all day to warm up the waters.

Bait Selection

During the pre-spawn we like to fish a firetiger, red, or brown rattle bait, this will provide a quick flash of color in a bite-size meal. We also like to throw crankbaits, usually a larger bodied crank with a short square bill. Spinnerbaits and swim jigs can also produce heavily during this time do to the shad like appearance of the blades.

Putting it all together

Early Pre-Spawn

  • Low Metabolism
  • 47-53 degree water
  • Deeper waters
  • Northern bays w/ clearer waters

    Mid Pre-Spawn

  • Lower Metabolism
  • 54-57 degree water
  • Beginning to move into shallows
  • Northern bay w/ clearer waters
  • First drop-off from flats, usually about 8-10ft
  • Can be found on flats but better to fish ledges
  • Thermocline more defined

    Late Pre-Spawn

  • High Metabolism
  • 58-60 degree water
  • Bass will be roaming flats to feed heavily
  • May retreat back to first drop-off during cold snaps
  • Thermocline defined
  • Northern bays w/ clearer waters
  • Late evenings on Sunny days will produce heavily

We hope this helps Tyler! If you want to know more or have anything clarified don’t hesitated to shoot us a message on Facebook!

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