In early spring water temp. is probably the most important factor for me. The second would be water clarity. By asking these two questions I can pick out what part of the lake or river I should concentrate on, in order to locate the most aggressive fish for this given time of year. Notice I said the most aggressive, because you can catch fish on other areas of the lake. I want to find the best area, and then fine tune that pattern to the next step.
Water temp is crucial because I have to keep in mind that the bass and its food source is cold blooded. So I want to find the warmest water that I can find. This is where water clarity will play into the picture. Water clarity will let me know how the bass will be able to hunt its prey.
Lets look further into water temp first. If the water temp is 55 degrees then the bass will be moving fairly slow, but not at a turtles pace. So the bass will need either cover or another camoflauge to aid him and off colored water will enable him to be successful. Off colored water will also be warmer this time of year and the reason is because the dirt particles in the water will also collect and hold heat. Lets say if the water temp. is 65 degrees then I may choose clearer water because then the bass would be able to use its speed as an aid in capturing its prey. But in a colder water situation he will use his surroundings in every way possible, a bass will and so will all predators use its surrounding to stay alive but we must learn how and when he will feed depending on the season/ current weather. This will enable us to be much more successful as well.
Depending on the geographic region of the lake, will tell you a lot about the lake itself. I classify lakes in six different categories highland (rocky), midland (hilly), lowland (semi hill with flatland), flatland (usually river type lake), river systems, and natural lakes. I will discuss further into this in an later article, but just be aware of this.
All lakes can be broken down into four sections. The first is the lower section and that is the dam area, the second is the mid section of the lake where the lake usually starts to narrow down and the lake will have more creeks in this area, the upper section is the third area and is where the lake begins to turn into more of a river, and the forth would be where the lakes river runs into the head water, you will have more current here and it is usually present year round.
For a quick run down on how I will begin fishing the lake in the early spring and on into late spring. I will focus on the second section in early spring on most lakes. The reason is this area will have some off colored water that I spoke of earlier and the water is a little shallower as well and this will help in warmer water. (the deeper the water the longer it takes for it to warm up.) I will look for the main river or creek channels that will swing in close to a bluff wall or channel bank and I will want it to have some type of cover on it rock, gravel, or stumps. Iíll fish a crank bait or a rattle trap in a crawfish pattern until I locate some fish. It would appear that I would be fishing fast, because I would keep my boat moving but at the same time I would be fishing my bait fairly slow. One of my favorite technuqes for this time of year is to fish a rattle trap and hop it or yo yo it off the bottom like a crawfish trying to escape.
I will fish these channel banks moving from one to the next until I locate a school of fish, and once I did that I should be able to go to the next creek and fish the same section/location of that creek and duplicate the pattern. (note that I will keep fishing several creeks until I have eliminated all of them in this section of the lake.
As the water keeps warming I will be able to go to the third section of the lake and repeat the same thing all over again, then Iíll move to the river section and finally to the dam area. This process will last for about three to four weeks depending on the size of the lake.
What I am doing here is keeping myself in the prespawn stage and this will be the easiest fish to catch in the spring.