Bass Spawn is ON!
Largemouth Bass hovers over rock nest
at base of bush
Bass moved onto nests in shallow, clear
water over the weekend. Those lucky enough to be on the lake were treated to
an amazing visual display of largemouth bass in 2 feet of water in virtually
every canyon on the lake. Some may have missed the event because fish were
so shallow they may not have looked at the last few of water behind the row
of flooded brush that rings the lake. Largemouth bass consistently build
nests at the base of a bush making it even harder to see. But once the first
nest is detected they are much easier to find in similar locations
Spawning is triggered when water temperature stays warm overnight and then
peaks at 64 degrees after a prolonged calm weather period. Those conditions
happened last week with the pleasant weather that prevailed. As this report
is written bass have been on the nests 5 days which is the normal amount of
time required for eggs to hatch. The looming storm front now will cool the
water and move bass off nests. They will remain in close proximity but will
not actively guard the nest. When water warms again bass will reoccupy the
same nest, spawn a new batch of eggs, and begin the process again.
The second spawn will be more difficult to view as rising lake water level
makes the deeper nest less visible. Rising water causes bank sloughing and
dirties the water in the shallows further limiting visibility. During May
the original nest site may be occupied by the same fish on the third or
fourth spawn but water depth over the nest may be as deep as 15-20 feet
depending on runoff volume.
Warming sent crappie into the
trees to spawn right along with largemouth bass. It is common now to see
bass hovering over a nest with crappie hiding in the same brush thicket.
Smallmouth bass are building nests along open rock shore line without brush
protection. Spawning is in full production now and will continue through the
first week of May.
Catching spawning fish is tough if they see you coming. But a long cast with
a slow sinking bait like a weightless Senko is more than they stand. Any
subtle movement near the nest will be investigated with the offending morsel
picked up and moved off the nest site. Remember to
return the male nest guardian so the developing eggs and fry will
be protected from predation. Next years bass and crappie population depends
on survival from nests now in production.
Stripers have responded to warming by
moving shallower to look for food. Trolling is still a good way to locate
mobile fish but they may be in clear water along the edge of deep water just
as often as in the back. During cool weather or in the mornings, casting
jerk baits along rocky points or brush lines is very effective once fish are
located. Find a school one day and it is very likely that they will return
to the same spot at about the same time each day. Understanding their
schedule allows one to stay close to a school as they move vertically and
horizontally through the daily cycle.
Walleye catch is
increasing as bonus fish are caught while trolling or casting for bass and