A late winter fishing trip can be a challenge. The weather is getting warmer and summer insects like caddis flies and midges are just beginning to hatch. But, if you're prepared, these first days of spring can also produce some great fishing.
Here are 20 early spring fishing tips
Fish the early morning hours
If you're fishing in the spring, the first hour of daylight is going to be your best bet for success. All fish feed heavily before sunrise and after sunset. When temperatures get above 70 degrees, this shift changes during midday to early afternoon. I've found that on days when there's an overcast or cloudy sky in the morning, fishing is usually pretty good. As soon as the sun comes out and a big blue sky appears, so do hungry bass.
Fish slowly on cloudy days
Fish are much more active with cooler temperatures and you can expect them to bite a slower moving lure or bait than they will in bright sunshine. Keep your lure or bait moving very slowly and dangle it right in their face. A slow twitch or crawl will usually trigger a strike on cloudy days.
Fish faster on sunny days
On warmer, bright days fish are more lethargic. They'll still bite but they're not as aggressive as they will be during cooler weather. To get a strike on sunny days, you'll have to speed up your retrieve.
Fish the top of the water column
In late winter and early spring bass will be roaming in shallower water looking for minnows to eat. The best places to drop your lure or bait are areas where there's a large piece of structure or weeds growing from the shoreline. A solid piece of wood, a fallen tree, rocks or a submerged weed bed will all be home to some bass during the spring months.
Fish deep ledges in flooded timber
Many times in late winter and early spring fishermen don't give enough thought to fishing these more isolated areas. But this is a great place to get your lure or bait down deep and draw the attention of cruising bass. Deep flooded timber is also one of the best places to catch big fish during these months because they will be actively looking for food to stock up before spring spawning.
Fish deep water points on windy days
Bass tend to feed aggressively on windy days. The reason for this is that the waves and chop churn up any bait or small fish that are suspended in the water column. But it's the deep water points, not necessarily shallow flats where bass like to feed when they're looking to satisfy their hunger. This is a perfect example of how structure can be important during the early spring months.
Fish deep grass mats in flooded timber
Grass mats are usually submerged under several feet of water during the winter months and they are one of my favorite places to look for bass. A solid piece of wood or rock will often be located close by which makes this a great place to fish when you're searching for bass.
Fish log jams in a river or lake
The best times to fish these types of locations is when there's a strong current running through the area. Log jams with faster moving water will produce more bass than those that are protected by slack water areas. A good place to locate these fishing spots is on upriver bends, especially where there's an eddy or backwater.
Fish the top of tailwaters
In a tailwater reservoir, the water level is kept below normal pool levels. These types of bodies of water are perfect for early spring fishing because you'll often find bass holding in the deeper holes and pockets. A good place to start your search is at the top of spawning ledges or other solid structure where fish can feed on suspended baitfish.
Fish ledges in clear water rivers or reservoirs
Bass often sit on the tops of large structure, like a ledge, rock or deep portion of a flooded timber point during warm days. To catch one of these fish you'll have to present your lure in front of them so they can grab it before it drops over the side. Look for shad or other baitfish swimming in a school near the surface and cast your lure right to them.
Fish an outside wall on a river
This is another popular place to catch bass during late winter and early spring. They'll suspend just off of the bank looking for food as it drifts by. Presenting a lure or bait right below the surface will usually trigger a strike.
Fish shallow pockets off of channel edges
Channel edges in deep river arms, bayous and lakes are another great place to catch bass during early spring. Look for areas where there's a lot of current accompanied by a quick drop-off to deeper water. If you can drop your lure of bait into the pocket, it will attract the attention of bass that are holding there. Chances are they'll find it hard to resist grabbing a free meal
Fish weed beds in lakes
Many types of vegetation grow during the early spring months and you'll find bass using this type of cover to protect themselves from predators. But they also use vegetation as shelter when they're looking for shad or other baitfish swimming near the surface. Cast your lure or bait right into these weeds and wait for a strike.
Fish a deep flat
Flat areas are key for early spring bass. They'll usually be located in the deepest part of a lake or reservoir and they provide shelter from the wind as well as much needed shade during warm days. If you can find one that has tall reeds along its edges, so much the better because it will provide warm water bass with much needed cover. Place your bait near the edge in shallow water and let it drift into the deeper part until it reaches a feeding lane
Fish cypress trees during warm days
Bass will often suspend underneath the branches of a cypress tree when they're trying to stay hidden from predators or feed on baitfish that are just underneath the surface. This is a great place to catch early spring bass because you don't have to fish deep water and most anglers avoid this type of structure during the winter months
There are many early spring fishing tips that you can use to catch bass and other species of fish. If you follow the suggestions contained in this article, your chances for success will increase tremendously.