Spawn delayed by cold weather

Published 11:53 pm Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cold weather continues to delay the bass and white perch spawn.

I can’t recall a year when that first wave of spawning fish has not moved to shallow waters by late February. Surface water temperatures continue to tease use. Early morning water temps range from 48 to 50 degrees with mid day highs of 52 to 54.

The magic temperature, the degree we and the fish are obviously waiting for, is 57 to 60. We could see that happen late this coming week. Today the water temperatures continue to top out at about 55 degrees. We need sunshine to warm the wind protected flats, coves and small pockets of the area lakes.

All fish don’t move shallow to spawn at once. They come in waves from now until late April. I predict this year we will see that first wave stacked on top of the second which will create a mass migration of fish in shallow water as soon as the water temperature allows such.

What a month February has been. Very few people have found the key that unlocked the right pattern.

In the local bass tournaments the largest five bass tournament limit to date was caught by William Hatton and Charles Rinehart during the 24th Annual J.R. Roberts Memorial on Lake Bruin.

Hatton and Rinehart took home the big bucks ($4000) with 22.42 pounds. From there the heaviest limits, as of late, came from Lake St. John just last week during the Miss-Lou bass club’s February event.

Stephen Mitchell won that tournament with five nice bass weighing 18.31 pounds. I had a bad day the day before on Lake Concordia and was out for revenge on the St. John bass.

I came in 2nd after catching 13 weigh fish with five weighing 16.13 pounds. Ronnie Gillespie placed 3rd with 13.58. Lake St. John’s water was cold and muddy that day but some nice fish were caught on jigs, spinnerbaits and soft plastics.

With February behind us it can only get better from here on out. As the water temperatures slowly increase a host of lures and patterns will come into play.

From 57 to 62 degrees the bottom bites along with lipless crankbaits like the Rat-L-Trap and Red Eye Shad will continue to rule with a mix of spinnerbait fish. Once surface temps climb above 62 it’s on and a variety of lures and patterns will produce some big bass as well as numbers of fish.

Long story short, we’re still beating our brains out to catch a five bass tournament limit but it is only a matter of a few degrees in water temperature and everything will change. That change can happen overnight.