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Spring fishing can be feast or famine. So keep in mind the bite can turn hot in a hurry if you’re on your game. Right now is also the best time of the year to land a trophy bass. Understanding how water temperatures affect bass movement and behavior as water temperatures warm up is key to dialing in the bite. Here’s how to attack a lake as winter turns to spring and water temps rise.

Water Temp: 45 to 50 Degrees

 In most Southern states, this water temp range is typical of winter fishing. Fish tend to suspend a lot during this phase because the bait is balled up and roaming the lake. Winter fishing is known to be difficult because staying on nomadic fish is tough, making bites hard to come by. Anglers can still have success on the water using jerk baits (long pauses, little action), A rigs, underspins, and jigs. 

Water Temp: 50 to 55 Degrees

Fish are starting to transition out of their winter pattern and focus on spawning. They begin to move slowly toward their traditional spawning areas, often congregating on points, secondary points, and around channel swings. Some fish will remain in their winter patterns so the wintering baits are still in play, but the fish that begin to migrate toward these areas will help you locate fish as opposed to having to search the lake for bait.

Water Temp: 55 to 60 Degrees

Fish will start staging and becoming more active. You will see fish moving up to the shallows. Also, 55°F is when crawfish start becoming active, so your crawfish patterns like Rayburn red, Toledo Gold, Red Craw, and so on will become big players. Power fishing also kicks off and anglers can catch bass on jerk baits, lipless crank baits, squarebills, bladed jigs, and spinner baits.

Water Temp 60 to 65 Degrees

In this stage, the majority of the fish will be in pre-spawn mode, with plenty of big females cruising the shallows searching for their spawning areas. Around the full moon during these temps, some fish will begin to spawn. A lot of your shallow water techniques come into play, and anglers can typically catch bass on a variety of shallow-water baits. 

Water Temp: 65 to 70 Degrees

This is the peak spawning period, especially around a full moon. For the most part, the fish will be in all phases here: pre-spawn, spawn, and even some post-spawn. Sometimes there can be a bit of a lull as fish are preoccupied with the spawn. Anglers should look for fish in pre-spawn or post-spawn areas. 

Weather, and other factors (like pressure), play a role in finding a hot spring bite. And where you locate bass will vary from lake to lake, but these basic strategies will increase your chances of catching more fish this spring.