February a good month for bass
Published 12:55 am Sunday, February 7, 2010
February is the month the bass and white perch began to spawn.
To have a successful spawn we need the lake levels to be as high as possible. With all the rain this week we have the water in our lakes, but the weirs on Lakes Bruin, Concordia and St. John are open and the water is flowing out.
Hopefully the flood gates will be closed before we lose too much water. Currently water temperatures are a bit too cool for the fish to spawn.
Right now water temps average about 50 degrees. The bass and white perch will move to thin water to spawn when water temps rise to and exceed 57 degrees. The only factor that overrides water temp is the fish eggs are developing fast.
If the water is still too cool my mid-month the fish will move shallow on some lakes regardless of the temperature. You can pretty much count on Lake Concordia’s bass to start spawning around or just after the 15th of this month.
Lake St. John’s bass and white perch tend to start spawning a bit later than the fish on Concordia. Water clarity is not good on any of the lakes. All the runoff from the heavy rain has stained the water.
What this does to the bass is move the fish from the deep water cover to shallow water cover. Last weekend on Lake Bruin, many bass were caught from 2 to 5 feet of water even through the water temp was about 47 degrees.
The fish were holding real tight to cypress trees with thick root systems and we caught some fish off the seawalls and brush along the banks.
This shallow water pattern will continue to produce as long as the water remains stained to muddy. The best lures for bass during these conditions are dark colored jigs with contrasting colored trailers, big bulky soft plastic creature style lures like Zoom’s Brush Hawg and spinner baits fished with an extremely slow presentation.
A surface water temperature gauge will lead you to the warmest areas of the lake. This time of the year it is very important to fish the warmest areas simply because that is where the most active fish will be.
Try the wind protective coves, backwater pockets and the northwest shore. These areas are protected from the wind and that’s where you will find the most active bite.
The female bass are loaded with eggs so please take along a camera and release those big females. Our lakes receive a tremendous amount of fishing pressure during the spawning months and you can do your part to insure we have a good spawn by releasing the big fish.
Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.