When do bass spawn? What is the reason for knowing when they do? Well, the bass spawn times are a highly significant knowledge base that you need to understand if you plan to fish for them. The reason for that is because after the bass emerges from their winter retreats, they are more likely to be hiding somewhere away from the cold weather that is still barraging them.
That hiding place is often between their winter retreats and their spawning areas. Waiting for the warmer climates that they require for spawning, they tend to huddle in large numbers in pre-spawn areas. Therefore, if you find one of those, it is like hitting the jackpot.
Before we go into the specifics of when bass spawn and where we will take a look at the life cycle of them, and what their feeding habits are.
- 1 Bass Life Cycle
- 2 What Season Do Bass Spawn In?
Bass Life Cycle
Understanding the life cycle of the bass will increase your chances of landing the biggest there is. They are one of the most sought-after freshwater fish in the world. Everyone wants to be able to say that they have caught the biggest bass that anyone has ever seen.
Here is the yearly cycle of bass:
In this article, we will take a basic look at each of those stages and try to get a better understanding of when bass spawn and where.
As the spring begins, bass will start their rituals for the spawning season.
Pre-spawn is the best time to catch bass, as they are at their most active with feeding. When the water starts to warm above 50F, they know that there is warmer, spawning weather coming. Therefore, they will begin to feed frantically, trying to get enough nutrients to last them the 10-14 days that they will not eat.
The food that they eat during this phase will also change to a high protein diet to allow the eggs to develop. Therefore, crawfish-like lures work very well for this time of the year. However, check out our article about what bass eat here.
Bass is usually a school fish. However, things change when they get to the spawning phase. They become aggressive and defensive with protecting their nest. Although crawfish become the prey of the bass during this time, they still try to attack the nests. Among the attackers are salamanders and small turtles.
I’d recommend using using the texas rig with a punching bait. Learn how to do this here.
However, the bass will attack the species if they become a problem after being chased off once. That is why you should always use lures that imitate those species.
Check out the different rubber worms you fish for bass with. These bait are absolutely fantastic.
The last part of the cycle is the post-spawn stage. This stage is the time that the females will leave the young with the fry for protection. The females will retreat to deeper waters to rest, while the fry and males stay nearer to the surface.
During mid-summer, the forage for the bass will expand into an open feeding frenzy. They will eat almost anything that they can get to gain their energy back and start to feed up for the winter months.
However, as the weather warms up, the bass goes down into deeper, cooler waters.
With the rainfall of the fall season, nutrients wash into the lakes that the rivers lead. With that increase in nutrients comes an increase in plankton; thus, come Shad, and the bass are never far behind them.
The winter is the slowest time of the year for the bass. Their chances to feed decrease, so the feeding requirements become less, too. As all fish are cold-blooded, their metabolism will slow down at an equal rate to the temperature of the water. Therefore, you will see a lot less feeding activity from them, even if there is a lot of food available.
What Is Bass Spawn?
While many people consider the bass spawn only to be the offspring of the fish, the process of it is a little more involved. Bass, like many other animals, will go through a process of steps that we can call the spawning stage. Those stages, in order, are:
- Building a nest. – The nest-building commences when the waters reach 60F. That is the stage that the hiding huddles of fish are waiting for.
- Finding a mate. – Yes, finding a mate is after the fish have built their nests. They need to be confident they have somewhere to lay their eggs.
- Hatching the fertilized eggs.
- Guarding the young until they are ready to be alone.
So, the bass spawn is often interchanged between the fertilized eggs and young, and the whole process.
What Age Do They Spawn?
Bass tend to go into their first spawn cycle when they reach one year old. Depending on where you are in the country will determine the size and weight of the first time spawners. However, those “first-timers” will usually be around six to seven inches long at their first spawn.
There are places in the country that the fish take two years to reach that size, in which case, their second spawn season will be their first time raising their young.
What Season Do Bass Spawn In?
As you have seen earlier in the article, bass spawn in the spring. However, there is a little more science behind it than that alone. Of course, fish do not know days and months as humans. Therefore, they rely on the temperature changes, and they are much more proficient at that than the average person.
What Temperature Does Bass Spawn?
A report conducted by Donald Mraz of Wisconsin Conservation Department states:
“It is well known that the male largemouth bass begins his nest building
when water temperatures reach 60° F, and egg-laying takes place at 62-65°F.
The arrival of these temperatures should be anticipated and the program of
observations initiated at once.”
Therefore, when the water temperatures begin to rise from the winter, you can expect to see the spawning process begin.
What Month Do Bass Spawn In?
This question is a little more challenging to answer. However, Here is a short guide for you:
February – March. – Southernmost states:
- Southern Mississipi
- South Alabama
- South Georgia
March – April:
- Across the country from southern California to North Carolina, including northern parts of the above states.
April – May:
- Across the country from northern California to Maryland.
May – June:
Across the country from Oregon to Rhode Island.
- Northernmost states.
As you can see, there are many different times that bass will spawn. However, they do not spawn anywhere across the U.S from July through January.
The whole cycle of bass spawning only takes three weeks at a maximum. Therefore, you need to take some time to work out exactly when they do so in your part of the country. There may be local fishing groups that are in your state that may be able to give you a little more specific advice, but what we have said above is a great starting point.
Where Do Bass Spawn?
As you have seen earlier in the article, bass make nests. The dept of those nests or beds can range between three to five feet deep. However, those numbers are only average. The extremes of the scale range between only a few inches, to ten or even twelve feet deep.
The bass is a fish with a vast range of populations across the United States. You are likely to find them in almost any river or lake that you come across. There are very few requirements for bass to survive. All they need is suitable water quality and enough forage to eat.
Some fish need other things, such as flowing water, to keep sediment off their eggs. However, the bass does not require that as they protect their eggs and young themselves. Although you could raise bass fish in any body of water that you like, if the water is right, there are still some go to areas that they prefer to spawn. It doesn’t matter if they are in ponds, lakes or rivers; there are certain places that you should look for them before trying anywhere else:
- Changes in depth of water from the shore to the basin.
- Weed bed edges.
- Submerged items: Trees, rocks, etc.
- Clay or gravel areas that are between one and ten feet deep.
- Coves of water.
- Under bridges, docks, etc.
What Do Bass Spawning Beds Look Like?
Now that you have seen when and where bass will spawn, you might want to know what the beds or nests look like.
Above is an image of a bass nest with the males over them guarding and protecting them. The scale of the picture may not show the exact size of the nest. However, they are often circular, between twelve and twenty-five inches in diameter, and about six inches deep.
It is pretty rare to find the nests in such an open space like this, as they are often covered in the vegetation of some sort to protect them.
The differences in times that bass will spawn only comes with the prevailing temperature rises that depend on where you are in the world. However, everything else remains the same. Therefore, you need to get out on the water a few days to a week before the spawning season to allow for a slight change.
Alternatively, if you pass the water regularly, you could always take a thermometer and check it when you pass. That will give you a better view without having to take all of your fishing tackle out.