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Spawning Process info you can use on any body of water in VA

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  • Spawning Process info you can use on any body of water in VA

    Late winter and early spring clues to a fantastic spring fishing. My thoughts are not layed out well or in a logical manner but its good info and I hope it helps!

    Starting right now in February get it in your mind that the bass are feeding; They know spawning season is less than 6 to 8 weeks away. That's not a lot of time. Changes in Weather, passing fronts, cloudy days, sunny days, wind or no wind kind of days are only minor hiccups at this point. The bass are going to eat as much and as often as its metabolism will permit it to.

    Night time air temps are worth keeping an eye on this time of year when planning a fishing trip or for a tournament. Mild night-time temps allow the water to retain heat overnight and therefore will keep rising each day. Once the water temps reach the upper fifties and low to mid sixties then fronts will only slow things down slightly. However, a nasty cold front that drops water temps over a two or three day period this time of year will put the Ka-Boom on the bite.

    With each passing day as the water warms; more and more bass are going to move shallow to feed. They start roaming the banks as early as when water temps climb from 38 degrees and reach a steady 45 degrees. Feeding times will vary from day to day along with how shallow or how deep you find them. One day you will catch them glued to the bank and the next day they'll be off the bank and 10 foot down at the same spot as the day before. Rock, red clay banks and points are hotspots early in the season. As the water warms into the mid fifties add additional areas to your daily search routine that have shore line cover like grass, lay downs, docks etc.

    This time of year you can't rule out anything when it comes to presentations so keep an open mind. What is so cool about this time of year is bass can be caught using a multitude of different lures and retrieves. So pick a couple of your favorite ways to catch em and go have some fun.

    Once the water temps reach the mid to upper fifties and hold steady think "shallow" and start focusing on main lake cuts, coves and pockets that have spawning habitat. The same goes for inside the creeks as well.

    Find areas that are holding a lot of the smaller male bass. Where there are a lot of males there will be a lot of larger female bass that will be showing up soon. Male bass that have red lips and eyes are telling you the spawning hormones are raging and the time is getting near when the females will be going on bed. And it happens fast. Once water temps stabilize in the low to mid 60's the female bass stage and move on bed within just a few days and sometimes overnight. Just be aware of that.

    This process repeats itself over and over each month until the end of June. In a year when water temps don't reach the ideal perfect temps for mass spawning I've know bass to spawn through the month of July. So much depends on the spring warm up. Sometimes April and May are the primary spawning months and sometimes it's the months of May and June. It all depends. Sometimes when conditions are perfect you get a mass spawn when the majority of bass all move to spawn within a day or two of one another in a given month. Sometimes spawning occurs in small waves in small numbers of bass at a time over an entire 30 to 60 day period of time. A lot of bass do use the full moon as a trigger to go on bed but that's not a hard and fast rule. I've seen em go on bed a lot sooner and after the full moon.

    Did you know that in the animal kingdom it's the male species that's the most beautiful / colorful? That's one of the reasons why the male bass's lips and eyes turn red and gets darker red the closer they get to actually spawning. It makes them more attractive to a mate. When you see this know that the hormones are raging and the time is getting close. Look for the males to be very, very shallow. The females will most likely be cruising along the first break-line nearest the shoreline. Both will continue to feed until they go on the bed.

    The last few years the Mid lake area of lake Anna has been the ticket but this year is shaping up to be different. Like Brain 31, said; air temps and ice over is similar to 1994 years cold weather pattern. This may be the year for the down lake region to have an early spawn. Water temps aside; spawning habitat down lake differs slightly than mid lake and up. There isn’t a lot of shore line cover down lake other than docks. Bass down lake will stage under docks prior to going on bed and some will bed around docks. It speculation on my part but human activity on and around these docks may hinder that a little but won’t stop it altogether. The other major choice of spawning habitat is stumps and there are a lot of them there. The problem is visibility. Any wind at all and it will make it difficult to pick out spawning bass located on stumps in the 3 to 5 foot range. Finding spawning bass in zero feet out to the 2 foot range is very doable. Once the pollen starts it will compound the difficulty in visually picking out spawning fish. Will the bass spawn deeper in the clear water down lake? I am sure they will but once again visibility is difficult.

    Depth range for spawning is dependent on sunlight penetration. Bass eggs need sunlight and warm water temps for a successful spawn. So bass will spawn deeper down lake later in April and May time frames but I wouldn’t think so in March. It takes a while to warm the water up to the upper 60’s, 8 feet deep or more. But that’s speculation on my part in how fast the water warms up that deep. I’d have to test that to be positive. Clear water will cool down faster than stained water so Yes; I think cold fronts will affect the bass down lake faster than mid to up lake where the water has more stain to it. Dirty water retains heat longer. If you are looking for spawning bass in the mid lake and up lake area look shallow in the two foot range or less and search the shore line grass to find em. That’s where most of them will build their nests and spawn. Stumps, docks, sea walls and lay downs are other places too but most will be found in or around grass.

    Actual spawning begins when water temps get into the 60’s and become stable, and will continue through June. Bass that spawn when temps get in the 60’s are your early spawners. They are the well fed healthy bass that survived well through winter. The bass that are playing catch-up and need to feed more are the ones that spawn during April, May and into June. Sometimes it will be a mass migration to spawn and sometimes it will be in small waves. It all depends on how the weather sets up and how many bass that has fully developed egg sacks; and that all depends on how cold or mild the water temps were through winter. If the bass were able to eat and digest their food frequently because of mild winter water temps then I would expect a major spawn early. If the bass didn’t eat that frequently because of colder water temps then I would expect a major spawn later in April maybe. This year they should be feeding like crazy during the month of March. To put Bass Metabolism in perspective it takes 10 to 12+ days for a bass to digest an average size shad in 38 to 40 degree water temps. And it takes less time of course to digest a meal in 50 degree water temps, but it’s still measured in days; not hours. The bass is all about energy management. The energy it receives from a meal is applied to sexual growth / development, growth in general IE. size, and to fat reserves. The majority is given to what is needed the most. That’s why the spawning season is so dependent on winter water temps. So let there be no doubt; a bass will eat as often as it can when it gets hungry and it doesn’t matter what the water temps are.


    This information can be applied to any body of water in VA including tidal rivers. I hope this helps a few of you guys get on em this season. God Bless and good luck!
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper


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  • #2
    Thanks J1M, your post are always very informative and i can't wait to get out on the water and put it to use.

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    • #3
      Very informative. Thanks for sharing.

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