How long do bass spawn?

Spawning season is a very popular time for all fishermen because no matter the species, this is the time of year when the fish are feeding almost constantly. They need as much food as possible to make it through the spawn.
The bass are a bit different from other species because they prefer not to eat when they are in the middle of spawning. Instead, they attack any fish that are in their area to keep them away from their eggs. This does not mean that they cannot be caught; it simply means that they use different tactics than other times of the year.
This also means that you, as the fisherman, need to use different tactics. So how long do the bass spawn and how should you fish them? There are no cut and dried answered to the length of spawning. The following are some indications and techniques that can help you fish for bass during the spawn and can allow to know when spawning is happening:

* Start of Spawn – The bass typically start spawning when the water temperatures reach sixty degrees Fahrenheit. The males begin to build their nests for the females to lay their eggs in and the males protect the nests. They prefer shallow clear water with gravel or sandy bottoms that they can create a depression in for the eggs to be somewhat protected in. They do not like to be too close to other nests so they are not clumped up in one general location unless there is no other option left for them.

* What Can Affect Spawn – If the weather conditions are not right, or the water levels are too low or too high, this can halt the spawning season even if the water is the right temperature. If there is a spring storm or unseasonable cold spring, this can also delay spawning. You really have to pay attention to all the signs to know when the bass are spawning. Unlike the crappie males that change color during spawn, the bass do not have any physical signs of that happening other than the roe that the females carry.

* Fishing During Spawn – When the bass do go into spawn, you need to change your fishing tactics. Keep in mind that spawn can happen at different times of the season particularly on larger lakes because the water conditions may be different in a variety of different areas. You should only catch and release during spawn because the propagation of the species requires that as many bass spawn as possible. There are already dangers from other predators so man should not be a part of the cycle or the species can eventually die out.
You may find that the bass are not actually striking your bait but attempting to move it away. They do not want any threats to their eggs in their area. Patience is important during this time but can be well worth when the bass become angry enough to bite at your bait because it does not leave the area when threatened.

* How Long Does Spawn Last – Spawning can take from between two and four weeks and again, depending on the lake size can last even longer. You can fish spawning bass for a week or two on one end of the lake and find fishing spawning three weeks later on the opposite side. Again, it is vital to pay attention to the habits of the bass in order to know when spawn is in full swing and when the spawning season is at its end.

* How to Know When Spawn is Over – When the water temperatures reach about sixty five degrees over the entire lake, this is a pretty good sign that spawning season is over and you can begin your regular bass fishing. You also need to watch for the bass to move from the inlets and shallow rocky areas with your fish finder. As soon as you see them schooling in the weeds and covered areas again, this is a sign that they have left their nests and are making their way back to their regular feeding areas. After spawn is over, you can keep the bass you catch if you are fishing for food rather than for sport.

As has been illustrated, the bass do not have any set time in stone to go into spawn. It is also not possible to say definitively how long bass spawn because of the outside influences such as water temperature and lake conditions. Spawning season is not an exact science but the savvy fisherman who pays attention to the signs can know for certain when the bass in their area are in full spawn and when it is over. Just remember that it is important to release any fish that are caught during this season so that they can protect their nests and keep the species from dying out.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow bass fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on bass fishing since 2004.

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