Usually when you get into the spring months of March and April, the spring bass spawn will begin. But don’t think it hinges on the month or day of the year, it hinges on the water temperature.
The ideal water temperature for bass spawning is 63 to 70 degrees.
But, the smart anglers will begin their spring fishing season when the water temperature is cooler than this, perhaps in the 58 to 60 degree range, as the bass will be in the pre-spawn, and will be preparing their nests for spawning activity.
Where to Find the Bass Spawn
While water temperature is warming, but cooler than ideal for the spawn, the male bass will be in search of proper nesting areas. They will look for shallow areas, maybe only 1-4 feet deep, with good cover surroundings like bulrush patches, weeds, or lilies. They are looking for consistent bottom structure, they won’t often build a nest close to a drop off or other structure change. They also want the bottom to be firm, they don’t like thick silt areas, they want to be able to lay their eggs and not have them be buried by runoff deposits, etc.
Also, during the bass spawn the fish are very territorial. If they can spot another nest close by, they will move on and look for another area. Thus in good spawning areas, you’ll probably find nests that are about 25 to 30 feet away from each other.
Once the male finds a good spot, he’ll fan the spot to try and remove as much debris as possible. This will leave a small saucer like depression in the bottom, one which is fairly easy to spot in the shallow water.
Pending the influence of harsh changes in weather (which will delay the bass spawn), the bass will typically spawn when water temperatures are in the 63-68 degree range. A nest that hatches may produce 2k-10k worth of new fry. Of these, maybe only 5 or so bass will reach the 10 inch mark, the others will be eaten by other fish or die of some other cause. Once they are about 1 inch long, the male bass will leave the fry, and may even begin to feed on them.
So just to reiterate, the bass spawn usually occurs when water temperatures are around 63 to 68 degrees. Just before the water reaches these temperatures, you’ll find bass in the shallows, and they will be feeding heavily, to make sure they have enough food to make it through the spawn, and to recuperate and hatch their fry. So when water temperatures are in the high 50s, make sure you are out there fishing for bass!