This recent full moon has peaked the chatter about the spawn, the bass’s annual visit to areas of a pond, lake or river where they will lay their eggs. Sometimes the event is simple to see and pattern other times it’s as challenging as knowing what your spouse wants for dinner. Some times this challenging scenario plays out more than one episode in a single year. It seem recently in Texas the latter has been more true than the former.
I liken the bass spawn to the rut in deer, it seems every year we wait expectantly for it to start only to have a lot of questions marks on when it actually starts. That uncertainty stems for the fact we are dealing with natural effects and no two season seems to play out the same. Sure, we can read the signs and estimate but still it’s not an exact science.
A lot of the mystique of bass spawn is understanding what actually triggers it. My personal belief is each fish is a little different and there are factors that trigger them differently. For some I think the moon is the trigger and others I believe it’s more water temperature. I’ll explain in greater detail.
Every year in the south during the January and especially February full moons there are a lot of fish that into set up spots and backs of pockets. By set up spot I mean cover or hard spots on corners, points, bends etc that are between where they live most of the year and where they will look to spawn. I think there is a mix of shallow resident fish and fish that live offshore that come in. They come up to check the conditions and if they are ideal or trending ideal they will stay. By ideal I mean the water is nearing 60 and rising with a steady barometer. If not, I think they go somewhere close and hang out until it gets right. So even though I believe the moon gets them moving I don’t think the spawn happens until conditions are stable or trending up with the right water temp of 58-62.
Now, once water temps throughout the water body get around 60 and level out and start climbing steady then I think it’s a matter of preference really. If a fish spawns the 3rd week of April I believe it will generally always spawn around that time for whatever that reason is. I do still think moons trigger waves but it’s more of a steady trickle of fish to those spawning locations than big groups that come in.
In the south where our springs start in March, we have spawns for 3 or 4 months with the later waves relating to the main lake and less to creeks and pockets. On lakes with heavy timber we have a lot of fish that will spawn in trees. Same goes for dock lakes, a lot of bass spawn right on the bottoms of dock posts and cross members on main lake. It’s not uncommon to see this all taking place up through June.
So my advise for those that are patterning spawning fish, first take a look at your calendar then look at the past trending weather. Especially look at the night time temps as that is when water looses it’s heat. That will be your first two clues before you ever hit the water. The next logical step is to start in spawning areas and work backwards until you connect with a fish. They that in several areas and you will start putting the puzzle pieces together.