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Hook, Line & Sinker
Magical time of year

The magical time for fishing is just around the corner for us bass fisherman. Like us, largemouth bass are starting to take notice of the slightest changes in the weather, and have most likely started to become more active. Over the years, I’ve learned to pay close attention to two environmental changes towards helping me determine whether or not the fish are in the early stages of the spawn. Those two major changes are water temperature and the moons phase. 

I know there are a lot more factors that come in play when predicting changes in fish behavior, but keeping an eye on those two has definitely helped. Water temperature is important because in order the eggs of the fish to hatch, the water must be warm enough for the eggs to survive. For largemouth bass, 55 degrees is the magic number. 

Every species on the planet is affected by the moon. Growing up, I never quite believed that the moon had such an effect on fish until I started fishing tidal waters. The sun and the moon are like magnets constantly pulling on the earth. One of the only things that can be pulled from the earth is its water. Large bodies of water are pulled on by the sun and the moon causing high and low tides daily. When there’s a full moon, the sun and the moon are aligned, making for higher high tides and higher low tides. Basically, the water levels are staying abnormally high for longer periods of time. Areas that were once out of water are now underwater for extended times making for great spawning or feeding areas. Some of you may be thinking that the full moon doesn’t increase water levels in the lakes you fish. It most likely doesn’t, but the gravitation pull is still in effect and the fish being suspended in water are definitely aware of it. ■

The Lakes:

Early springtime fishing in our local lakes can be incredible for numbers of fish and an occasional trophy catch. For bass, they’re usually making their way shallow towards the spawning areas and just waiting for the conditions to become just right for them to start spawning. Small artificial baits can usually load the boat with keeper sized fish. It’s really hard to beat a 5-inch Senko or Shaky Head Worm fished from the surface down to 20 feet deep. For trout, they’re usually caught by those fishing with traditional trout baits from the bank or by anglers trolling for them. The bite is often very good as most of our local lakes continue to be planted weekly and those trout that have gone deep begin to make their way shallow for the spring. It’s an important time to keep an eye on your fish finder as the trout can be found at a variety of different depths.

The Delta:

Fishing the delta during the months of February and March can be brutal one day and absolutely amazing on the next. Seldom are two days alike. One thing is for sure, if you wait for the fishing reports to tell you when it’s time to get out fishing, there’s a good chance you missed out. Especially for the schools of striped bass that migrate through the delta in the spring. I used to only fish for stripers in the fall until I targeted stripers in the spring while trolling around Rio Vista. I’ve since looked more forward to catching them in the spring than any other time of the year. As far as baits, I prefer to troll with broken backed Yozuri deep divers with a white worm nose hooked on the back hook. If you’re looking to catch a trophy largemouth this is the time to be out there. The first spawn of the year is usually by the biggest fish. As much as I like to throw all the latest and greatest baits on the market, it’s tough beating a three-quarter ounce black and blue jig or a red spinner bait with gold blades fished around sparse tulles. Of course, there’s always the Senko, a 6-inch wacky rigged Senko in green pumpkin has probably caught more trophy bass on the delta than anything else. 

A lot of anglers sit at home waiting for the weather to be perfect before they decide to go fishing. As much as I enjoy fishing in nice weather, I’ve learned that the best fishing this time of year can be when you least expect it.