Most bass anglers will concur…
If you want the best largemouth fishing action of the year, you’d better know when your local fish are going to spawn.
While chasing bass all year long is a rewarding pursuit, understanding the spawn will increase productivity and give you some of your most rewarding days on the water.
In this article, we’ll discuss all the relevant information about the largemouth (a.k.a. bucketmouth) spawn, from temperature and location to a detailed US state-by-state spawning calendar!
Table of Contents
- When do Largemouth Bass Spawn?
- When do Largemouth Bass Spawn in the U.S.?
- Succeed with the Right Gear and Techniques
- What is the best time to catch largemouth bass?
- Should you fish for spawning largemouth bass?
- How many times a year do largemouth bass spawn?
- How do you know when largemouth bass are spawning?
- How long does spawning last for largemouth bass?
- What depth do largemouth bass spawn at?
- How many eggs do largemouth bass lay?
- In Summary
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When do Largemouth Bass Spawn?
Water temperature is the most important factor in largemouth spawning.
Largemouth bass prefer spawning when the water temperature reaches between 55º F to 70º. This usually happens sometime between April and June.
Also, they prefer to spawn in shallow waters near vegetation or some kind of structure/cover. This makes them easier to target vs other times when they’re spread out and holding in the depths.
When do Largemouth Bass Spawn?
Contrary to other fish species, largemouth bass do not necessarily spawn at a particular time of year. Their mating behavior depends solely on the temperature of water.
The ideal temperature is between 55º F to 70º F. Some sources, ie The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources claim that temperatures from 62º to 78º F are preferred by the local populations.
Geographic location has an effect on the spawn…
This means that the largemouth bass spawning season varies between states. April might still be too cold for Canada or the Northern U.S but Texas waters could be plenty warm! It also means that every quick change in the temperature of the water can upset the spawning this cycle. Spring weather in the US can be very fickle!
But that’s not all…
While water temperature is what I focus on the most, one must also take into account the moon phases. Moon cycles increase the activity of largemouth prey. Baitfish, crawdads, and frogs all have their own reaction to temps and moon phases and therefore affect largemouth feeding habits too.
How can you actually use this?
If you can find a time where both temps and moon cycles come together, your chances of a good fishing outing increase dramatically! Full moons + warm temperatures = fidgety worms/prey which increase chances to catch more bass in spawning season!
Where in The Lake do They Spawn?
When the temperature is right, largemouth will go to shallow/low-oxygen water. The female largemouth bass will leave the redd (spawning bed) as soon as she lays her eggs. The male largemouth stays to protect them.
So when the water is warm enough for spawning I make sure to target shallow water. The male largemouth “guardians” will be hungry and looking for anything that looks like a tasty, easy meal.
A Quick Rundown
This is what you need to know:
Water temperature, shallow water areas and moon phases are the factors I tend to put all of my attention on. While warm water is the most important, the other two increase chances of going home with a trophy fish…or at least a nice story.
When do Largemouth Bass Spawn in the U.S.?
Here are the largemouth bass spawning seasons per state:
|Alabama||April to May in water temperatures between 63º to 68º F.|
|Alaska||Alaska is very strict with the bass species because they are considered invasive. The largemouth bass population in this state is too small to be assigned a specific spawning season.|
|Arizona||February to June in water temperatures between 60º to 62º F.|
|Arkansas||Late February to early March in water temperatures starting 50º F.|
|California||March to May in water temperatures around 60º F.|
|Colorado||Mid-May to mid-June in water temperatures around 60º F.|
|Delaware||Late March to June.|
|Florida||December to May in water temperatures between 58 to 65º F.|
|Georgia||Early February, it is delayed in the northern part of the State to April or May. Water temperatures between 60º to 72º.|
|Hawaii||From March to September. The weirdest spawning season.|
|Idaho||Mid-March to Mid-June in water temperature between 60º to 70º F. Can be intermittent.|
|Illinois||Mid-March to Mid-June in water temperatures around 60º F.|
|Indiana||Spring in water temperatures around 65º F.|
|Iowa||Early May to June in water temperatures between 63º to 68º F.|
|Kansas||Mid-March to June.|
|Kentucky||Late April in water temperatures around 60º F.|
|Louisiana||February and April, depending on the location. Water temperatures around 65º F.|
|Maine||Late spring and early summer in water temperatures above 60º F.|
|Maryland||Early March to late June|
|Massachusetts||Mid-May to Early June when water temperatures are above 62º F.|
|Michigan||Late spring and early summer.|
|Minnesota||From May to June in water temperatures around 60º F.|
|Mississippi||Mid-April to mid-May.|
|Missouri||Mid-April to late June in water temperatures around 62º F.|
|Montana||May to mid July in water temperatures between 62º to 65º F.|
|Nebraska||Depending on location, as early as late April.|
|Nevada||Late spring to mid summer.|
|New Hampshire||Late April to mid-May. It also varies with location within the state.|
|New Jersey||Mid-April to early June in water temperatures between 62 to 65º F.|
|New Mexico||Mid-April to mid-May in water temperature between 54º to 73º F.|
|New York||Late May to mid-June.|
|North Carolina||From March to May in water temperatures around 63º F.|
|North Dakota||Late spring to mid-summer.|
|Ohio||Mid-April to mid-June.|
|Oklahoma||April to May in water temperature between 63º to 65º F.|
|Oregon||April or May.|
|Pennsylvania||Spring and early Summer in water temperature around 60º F.|
|Rhode Island||Mid-May to early June.|
|South Carolina||From April to June in water temperatures around 65º to 75º F.|
|South Dakota||May and June.|
|Tennessee||Late April to early June in water temperatures around 68º to 72º F.|
|Texas||All of spring in water temperatures around 60º F.|
|Utah||Late Spring to mid-summer.|
|Vermont||Late May to mid-June.|
|Virginia||Late April to early June in water temperatures between 62º to 78º F.|
|Washington||Late May and June in water temperatures around 60º F.|
|West Virginia||Late April to early June.|
|Wisconsin||Late April to Early July in water temperatures around 62º to 65º F.|
|Wyoming||Late spring and early summer.|
Succeed with the Right Gear and Techniques
Because largemouth bass spawn in shallow water I try to cast near the shore and around vegetation. Care must be taken because lures can easily get stuck in roots and plants. When I’m not feeling particularly confident I’ll stay clear of snags and focus on shelves… where the shallows meet deeper areas.
I also do my best to stay quiet! In my experience, largemouth bass are very sensitive…even more so in the spawning season.
Sounds like boat propellers, banging/stomping in the boat, or loud talking can spoil a fishy spot. I also try to feather my cast so that the splash of my bait/lures won’t scare the fish.
There are multiple ways to fish for largemouth bass during the spawn including live bait or artificial lures.
For live bait, as mentioned before, worms are a great go-to. Shad spawn slightly before largemouth bass, making them an excellent bait choice too.
When choosing artificial lures I tend to go with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, dark-colored soft plastics and shad lures. Each kind of lure has its advantages and disadvantages depending on where you’re fishing and what you want to achieve.
Make sure to visit this article to learn more about largemouth bass lures.
What about fly fishing gear?
My personal favorite way of fishing largemouth bass is fly fishing. Although harder to cast, it’s more enjoyable to hook a good one on a fly rod.
Here is some good advice to get you started with fly fishing largemouth bass. I’ve also written about the best bass fly fishing flies and fly lines to catch largemouth bass.
If you want to learn more about bass fishing outside the spawning season/spring make sure to visit this link.
What is the best time to catch largemouth bass?
It really depends on the water temperature, but it’s safe to say that the best time is between mid-spring to mid-summer. Not only will the weather be beautiful, but the water will be warm for consecutive days so that largemouth bass can spawn in shallow water.
If you don’t mind staying up late, night time can be a great time to fish largemouth bass. New and full moons make worms and other prey become more active. Largemouth bass will pick up on this activity and feed aggressively. This is a great time to target them!
Should you fish for spawning largemouth bass?
Fishing in the spawning season will be easier. Largemouth bass will lack oxygen in the shallow waters and they will be hungry. It really depends on how much you believe in a fair fight.
If you just want to have fun, it’s okay to fish in spawning season. If you are looking for a challenge, then you could try to avoid tired and hungry fish and aim for the female largemouth bass in deeper waters.
How many times a year do largemouth bass spawn?
Largemouth bass spawn once every year. So I try to make the best of it and fish often during spawning season.
How do you know when largemouth bass are spawning?
You could always try to measure the temperature of the lake you are fishing but, frankly, it’s not the most practical option. Wait for mid-spring to mid-summer and pay attention to the shallow areas of your favorite lake or pond.
You should be able to see and hear their activity. This means largemouth bass are feeding and ready to spawn.
Also, watch the shads. Shads spawn a month earlier than largemouth bass. If you see more shads than usual, then largemouth bass spawning is near.
How long does spawning last for largemouth bass?
It’s safe to assume that it usually lasts from one to three months depending on your state.
What depth do largemouth bass spawn at?
Largemouth bass seek shallow waters when they are spawning. They also look for shrubs and vegetation to protect themselves from predators outside the water.
How many eggs do largemouth bass lay?
According to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, female largemouth bass between 2,000 and 7,000 eggs per pound of body weight. An average 2 lb female largemouth bass will lay around 8,000 eggs but actual numbers can vary drastically.
Largemouth bass spawning season can be a very exciting and productive fishing time. I’ve shared with you what I know, maybe you could teach me a few things as well.
What are your tips for being successful in the largemouth bass spawning season?