The spawning period of the largemouth bass can be an exciting and enjoyable time for anglers. First, it can be the perfect period to capitalize on snagging bass as their movements become more predictable. More importantly, it also ensures that the bass supply continues in your favorite waters.
However, your getting the most out of the bass spawning season mainly depends on your understanding of when it happens.
As a rule of thumb, springtime means spawn-time for the largemouth bass.
That said, here’s a fun fact for you.
Largemouth bass’ spawning behavior primarily depends on warmer temperatures and water depth!
In other words, when the water temperature increases to 55 and 60-degree regions, male bass will begin to find shallow waters. This is so they can prepare the nesting grounds in anticipation of the females arriving later.
While the males prepare the beds, the females will focus on their egg production and preparation for release.
But, once the water temperature goes above 60 degrees (ideally between 62 and 78 degrees), the females will find the males and begin the spawn.
What Season Does Largemouth Bass Spawn?
Largemouth bass generally spawns during the early spring and summer, depending on their range. While the Southern bass populations will usually mate in the early spring, their Northern counterparts prefer the early summer.
Nonetheless, the most largemouth bass spawn usually occurs between April and June.
However, the peak spawning times vary yearly due to ot changes in temperature, weather conditions, and the changing winter lengths. But, as a rule of thumb, colder winters typically mean that largemouth bass spawning will happen later than usual. On the other hand, shorter winters lead to early spawning.
Where do Largemouth Bass Spawn?
Since the males of the largemouth bass specie are responsible for picking out the nesting grounds, they determine where the spawning will take place.
That said, male largemouth bass will almost always prepare their spawning spots in shallow waters (no more than 12 feet deep). They’ll also try to stay as close to the shore as they safely can, depending on the contour of the lake.
More often than not, most largemouth bass will create their mating beds in about five feet deep waters.
Therefore, if you’re trying to locate potential spawning beds of the largemouth bass, a good topographical map can point you in the right direction.
You should also look for shallow waters with gravel, muddy, rocky, or sandy bottoms, as these are prime spots for bass. Also, check to see if such an area provides quick access to deeper waters as the male largemouth bass would also want this for itself and its newborns.
Finally, male largemouth bass prefers solitude during spawning season and try not to nest in the view of rivals. So, look out for structures or murkier waters that will typically block outlines of sighting when fishing bass during their spawning period.
What Are the Bass Habitat and Behavior Changes During the Spawn?
You probably already know that mating occurs during the largemouth bass spawn season.
But how exactly does it work?
During their spawning season, largemouth bass will enter a state of anorexia — where their hunger is almost non-existent. This is because they are now focusing on reproduction instead of predation. So, they won’t actively hunt or feed until they complete the spawn and help the next generation of largemouth bass into the world.
Remember, the male largemouth bass first arrives at the spawning nest. Once they do, they’ll hollow out a depression in the bottom of the river or lake and then wait for a mate.
As soon as the female bass arrives, the male and female will encircle the nest. Then, they’ll turn their bellies towards each other and release sperm and eggs into the water. In several cases, thousands (and even tens of thousands) of fertilized eggs will land in the spawning nest after this.
Fun fact? Largemouth bass may perform this mating activity up to four times in the same season!
After spawning the fertilized eggs, it is up to the water temperature to help with the hatching process. If the water is warm enough, the bass fry can hatch in as few as two days.
Once they fry hatch, the male largemouth bass will wait to guard the fry against predators (such as the panfish) until they are ready to leave the nest. This may sometimes cause the male to remain for as long as two weeks, depending on various conditions.
However, once the fry leave the nest, the spawn is over, and largemouth bass can now resume feeding.
Amount of Eggs Largemouth Bass Lay
Depending on their weight, an adult female largemouth bass lays an average of 3000 to 4000 eggs during every spawn. However, the bigger the female, the fewer the number of eggs they are likely to spread. This is because larger female bass tends to produce bigger eggs, reducing the number they can lay.
Therefore, while a female largemouth bass of about four pounds can lay between 15,000 and 20,000 eggs, a large female of approximately 14 pounds may only lay between 3,000 and 4,000.
Do Largemouth Bass Spawn Twice a Year?
While largemouth bass has only one spawning period every year, they can spawn up to three times within that time.
Females typically release only half of the eggs they produce in their first nest. After this, they move to another nest to spawn with another male.
In some cases, female largemouth bass may spawn for a third time, approximately a month after the regular spawning.
How to Catch Largemouth Bass During Spawn Season
The largemouth bass spawning period can be an excellent time to snag some good catches if you know how to leverage it.
Here are some tips on using the bass spawn to its maximum potential:
- Use a good map to help you track down potential spawning nests.
- Look out for shallow waters in direct sunlight and away from the path of prevailing winds. Covers like downed trees, rocks, and hollow logs that provide some protection and camouflage are also prime spots.
- Use bright-colored baits to irritate and trigger a reaction strike from the largemouth bass. You can also use baits that resemble and imitate predators such as the panfish. Remember, bass are not in the feed mode during this time so work your lures slowly.
- As a rule of thumb, larger largemouth bass starts spawning earlier, as long as the water temperature is right.
- Ease up on spawning beds if you can see them in clear waters. Then, start luring the bass with slow, intentional retrieves. In most cases, the males (who are already on guard) will think your lure is a predator coming for its eggs or fry. So, they may strike to protect them.
Is It Good to Fish for Spawning Largemouth Bass?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding this question. Unsurprisingly, there is no right or wrong answer.
Fishing for largemouth bass during their spawning season in waters with large and healthy populations generally has no negative impact.
However, in waters with decreasing or critical largemouth bass populations, it is best to allow them to spawn in peace so they can recover.
That said, handling these fish properly and carefully is crucial, even if they’re spawning in healthily-populated waters.
If you snag your fish safely, handle it quickly and correctly. Then, release it near its nest. It will most likely go back there!
Fishing for largemouth bass during the spawning season is quite challenging for beginners. Indeed, many experts advise anglers that struggle during the spawn to skip the circuit altogether.
Hopefully, this article has given you valuable insight into the behavior of the largemouth bass during their spawning period. Of course, we also hope that the tips in this blog also help you achieve better angling results.
Remember, the spawn is only a great time to target big bass in more accessible areas if you have the proper knowledge.