Spring is a time of transition in the world of fishing. For those northern anglers with a little ice left on the lake, there’s not much that’s more thrilling than the sight of melting ice.
As great as early spring fishing trips can be — especially after suffering from cabin fever all winter — fishing in the spring can actually be quite challenging, simply because the water is still very cold and the bass still tend to be lethargic and difficult to locate.
Not to worry, though, we’ve done the hard work for you and outlined three ideal spots to begin your search for bass as the ice thaws.
To find bass during the transition from winter to spring, it makes sense to start your search in areas where they spend the winter, as they probably haven’t moved very far. Marinas are perfect places to start since they see a large congregation of bass during the winter months.
Deeper water, protection from current and gathering bait fish are all traits that marinas offer wintering bass. When fishing a marina, try slowly crawling a jig or soft plastic bait along rocky banks, docks and any other structure you can find. Look specifically for wood and dock pilings, since these structures retain heat, which attracts bass looking to warm up.
Shallow, Muddy Bottoms
In shallow, weedy northern lakes, bass will move to the backs of bays and coves as the ice melts, usually preferring shallow spots. Areas with dark, muddy bottoms will warm up the fastest and will see the highest concentration of active bass.
The water is usually clear here, too, so you can often quickly cover water and simply look for fish as you move around. In these situations, I like to slowly wind a spinnerbait or lipless crankbait through these shallow coves and bays, as these lures tend to efficiently locate bass on the hunt.
South Facing Banks
Sometimes you’ll have water without a lot of shallow cover, such as reservoirs. In places like these, bass will migrate to the warmest areas available to them when the ice melts. Southern facing slopes get the most spring sunshine and will usually be a few degrees warmer than the main lake, which means you’ll want to spend a lot of time there.
Try fishing a jig or jerkbait around steeper south facing slopes and pay attention to the presence of baitfish, as they’ll be a good indicator of bass presence and what they’re feeding on.
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