Like deer hunters waiting for the best days of the rut, bass anglers around the country look forward to bass spawning season and a chance to catch the biggest largemouths of the year.
Here are our picks for the Midwest/North Central:
Our Pick: Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Hot Pattern: Fish jerkbaits around docks and a Storm Wiggle Wart on windblown banks with a mixture of chunk rock and gravel for pre-spawners.
Our Pick: Bull Shoals, MO (pictured above)
Hot Pattern: Fish jerkbaits on rocky main lake points.
Our Pick: Table Rock Lake, MO
Hot Pattern: Windy banks are always preferable. If there’s no wind, hold in deep water and cast a finesse worm on a split-shot rig or shaky head toward points and gravel banks.
April 29-May 5
Our Pick: Monroe Lake, IN
Hot Pattern: For pre-spawners, fish crankbaits and jigs with a Zoom Superchunk trailer in 3 to 8 feet of water in the upper end where the river comes in. Search for structure.
Our Pick: Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie, OH
Hot Pattern: Look to protected areas, like small marinas and mouths of streams, where the water warms quickly.
Our Pick: Crab Orchard Lake, IL
Hot Pattern: The spawning and pre-spawn bass will be in and at the edge of the water willow. Pitch a jig and slowly drag it back, always maintaining bottom contact.
Our Pick: El Dorado Lake, KS
Hot Pattern: Blind-cast a Texas-rigged green pumpkin Zoom Brush Hog on spawning flats about two-thirds of the way back into coves where water is clearest.
May 27-June 2
Our Pick: Mosquito Reservoir, OH
Hot Pattern: Search shallow bays (3 to 4 feet deep) with deeper-water creek channels nearby that are protected from northwest winds.
Our Pick: Lake Leelanau, MI
Hot Pattern: The largemouth spawn on areas of hard bottom in the back of small bays and around boat docks. Inflowing creeks should concentrate early spawners.
Our Pick: Clearwater Lake, MN
Hot Pattern: Easily spot beds, visible as dark spots on the bottom, around docks and in areas with scattered reeds.