When is Prespawn for Bass? What You Need to Know About Pre Spawn Bass Fishing

The prespawn period is one of my favorite times of year to target bass. As water temperatures start rising in late winter and early spring, bass become more active and begin moving from their deep wintering holes toward their shallow spawning grounds. 

During this transition period, bass go heavy on feeding to pack on weight lost over winter and to prepare for their spawning season where they’ll stay close to the nest. 

Their aggressiveness and shallow water positioning make prespawn bass vulnerable to anglers. However, to capitalize on this window of opportunity, you need to understand prespawn patterns and dial in effective techniques. 

This article breaks down when prespawn occurs, where to find staging fish, and tips to make the most of pre spawn bass fishing this season.

When is Prespawn for Bass?

Prespawn is dictated primarily by water temperature, not the calendar date. In the North, prespawn normally begins when water temperatures climb from the 30s and low 40s into the upper 40s and 50s. 

In Southern states, the magic number is typically low 50s to near 60 degrees. However, it’s not an exact science and what you experience could be totally different from what you encounter. Don’t come at me in the comments too hard! 

Other factors like water clarity, weather patterns, and fishery location impact movement schedules. Stable weather with a gradual warming trend signals prespawn more reliably than a few days of unseasonable warmth. 

The key is watching for that first major push of fish abandoning their winter sanctuaries. Once multiple bass start showing up shallow, prespawn is on.larry smith outdoors cta

Locating the Ideal Pre Spawn Bass Areas

During prespawn, bass position on transitional routes between their wintering and spawning grounds. Prime staging areas include channel swings, points, bluff ends, laydowns, docks, riprap, and submerged vegetation on shelves, flats, and pockets near spawning territory. 

Focus on cover near deep water for accessibility during severe weather changes. Also, target wind-blown shorelines on sunny days to intercept active feeders. 

In lakes and reservoirs, fish creek channels, ditches, and secondary points opening into spawning pockets. In rivers, target eddies, slack water, and wood cover along main channel borders and tributary mouths flowing into backwaters.

5 Tips for Catching Pre Spawn Bass

  1. Downsize baits. Early prespawn fish often prefer compact profile baits in natural colors that match forage like craws and shad. I think crawfish baits are actually some of the best options during this time. Finesse jigs, shaky heads, ned rigs, underspins, jerkbaits, and small swimbaits are excellent choices.
  2. Slow down presentations. Cold water bass have a narrow strike window and difficulty chasing fast moving lures. As the nest is being prepared, female bass stay especially close to the nest so they won’t chase your bait halfway across the lake. Slow, subtle presentations often work best, especially on high pressure days. Dragging and shaking rigs keep action while allowing inspection.
  3. Pay attention to weather. Warm, stable weather keeps prespawn bass shallow and aggressive while drastic cold or high winds push them deeper until conditions improve. Time trips around favorable forecasts where the weather is seasonably warm. 
  4. Fish multiple depths. Early prespawn fish stage deeper before sliding shallow to spawn. Target 15-25 feet early before focusing on 5-15 feet zones. Be prepared to adjust.
  5. Exploit transition windows. Low light periods, warming trends after cold snaps, hurricane-strength winds before cold fronts often trigger epic flurries of feeding activity. Barometric pressure has a huge impact on bass behavior. High pressure equals slow bass and low pressure equals quick bass. Capitalize during peak transition windows.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Pre Spawn Bass Fishing

Is prespawn good for bass fishing?

Prespawn is considered one of the best times for trophy bass fishing. Fish are aggressive, pack on weight, and are concentrated by bait and cover making them more catchable.

What is the water temperature for pre spawn bass fishing?

Ideal pre spawn water temperatures range from the mid 40s to near 60 degrees depending on fishery location. However, stable weather warming trends signal prespawn more than specific temperatures.

What is the best color for pre spawn bass?

Matching hatch with natural baitfish patterns like shad and crawfish works best. Good starter colors include green pumpkin, watermelon, green gizzard shad, albino white, and variations of those themes.

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Final Thoughts

Understanding water temperatures, transitional structure, and prespawn bass behavior can put you on trophy fish during this special time of year. 

Locating staging areas and capitalizing on feeding windows are also critical. While prespawn won’t last forever, dedicating some spring trips to cracking this productive pattern will definitely pay dividends. Good luck this season! 

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