Bass, white perch spawn kicks off

Published 1:19 am Sunday, March 7, 2010

The bass and white perch spawn is about to kick off. This is a record year as far as the time of the spawn. It’s very late.

Normally by the end of February the spawn is in full swing. As of today, the spawn has not even started. An abnormal cold February delayed the spawn by about three weeks.

Thursday, surface water temperatures on the area lakes topped out mid-day at 57 to 58 degrees. That’s the degree we’ve been waiting on.

We have not actually waited on the warmer water to go fishing but now we can move to the flats, coves and pockets and catch some big bass and slab white perch. In my 35 plus years of fishing the area waters, I cannot recall the spawn coming this late in the year.

Like I mentioned before, the fish come to the shallows at different times with the first wave moving up in mid February. Since that didn’t happen things could get really exciting not only on our area lakes, but all across the Mississippi and Louisiana.

My thoughts are the first wave of spawning fish will be stacked on the second wave and we will see a tremendous amount of fish in shallow water starting this weekend.

The smaller male bass move up first. Several people caught a few males in the north flats of Concordia last weekend. The male bass cruises the shallows until he finds a suitable spawning area and builds a nest. The larger female bass which are now loaded with eggs then cruises the shallows looking for the better nesting areas.

The larger, more aggressive female and male bass usually claim the best areas. The perfect nesting area needs sunlight simply because the eggs need the warmth of the sun to hatch.

The nest has to be in shallow water and preferably in the clearest water the lake has to offer. Thick cover is usually nearby. Over the years, I have seen bass spawning in weird places, such as on a jet ski dock that slants off into deeper water or on the angled pier ladders.

Fish eggs are sticky and they can lay the eggs in some strange places, so don’t rule out deep water with a suspended platform or some sort of structure that can accompany a nest.

On lakes like Turkey Creek and Lake St. John where the water clarity is not very good, the bass and white perch will lay eggs on the side of cypress tree even if the tree is sitting in 7 to 8 feet of water. Just watch for swirls and any movement near the base of the trees.

The female and male bass will guard the nest from bream, turtles and other egg eaters. When they make aggressive moves to run these predators off the wake they leave behind can lead you to a nesting fish.

White perch are better known for spawning up the water column over deep water on leaning trees and logs. Please practice catch and release this month.

Take a camera along and if you get lucky enough to catch a trophy bass, take a picture or two and release her. We need all the bass we can get in our area lakes.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at fishingwitheddie@bellsouth.net.