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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 Northeast:

April 22-28
Our Pick: Presque Isle Bay, Lake Erie, PA
Hot Pattern: Cast a green pumpkin or watermelon weightless stickworm into the thickest grass you can find. Expect 100-plus fish days.

April 29-May 5
Our Pick: Oneida Lake, NY
Hot Pattern: Concentrate on the west end, in the vicinity of Muskrat Bay. Start offshore in depths of 12 to 14 feet looking for small humps of submerged weeds.

May 6-12
Our Pick: Lower Connecticut River, CT
Hot Pattern: Pre-spawn largemouths can be caught in the larger backwaters, coves, and marinas. Spinnerbaits and small crankbaits usually get the job done.

May 13-19
Our Pick: Candlewood Lake, CT
Hot Pattern: Comb gravel and rock banks for both spawning and pre-spawning smallmouth and largemouth bass. Cast spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jerkbaits for pre-spawners.

May 20-26
Our Pick: New York City Reservoir System, Westchester and Putnam Counties, NY
Hot Pattern: Bass start spawning first in the smaller, shallower reservoirs with local watersheds.

May 27-June 2
Our Pick: Oneida Lake, NY
Hot Pattern: Fish weedy points with lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and jerkbaits for pre-spawn bass. Cast jigs and Texas-rigged soft-plastics in hard-bottom bays for spawners.

June 3-9
Our Pick: Lake Champlain, NY/VT (pictured above)
Hot Pattern: The largemouth spawn starts on the south end of this massive lake. The bays with creeks flowing in tend to draw the most spawners.

June 10-17
Our Pick: Lake Bonaparte, NY
Hot Pattern: Cast red or chartreuse lipless crankbaits for pre-­spawners roaming the flats. Spawners can be caught on green pumpkin or watermelon stickworms, tubes, lizards,
and Beavers.

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