In the video above, James and Al Lindner are setup in a transition area that spring smallmouth bass like to use as they move from deeper water up into the shallow areas. When you find key transition areas like this, you will be absolutely dumbfounded by the amount of fish you’ll catch if you happen to show up on the right day.
Spring Smallmouth Bass Location and Lure Preference
When you’re targeting spring smallmouth bass, you need to realize they are making seasonal movements. It’s a constant, evolving process throughout the year as fish adjust to their changing conditions.
As the weather conditions change and the water warms in spring, there will be a mass migration of spring smallmouth bass up onto the shallow water feeding flats that are usually connected to the shoreline of the lake. They will spend a period of time chasing baitfish in these areas before they begin their spawning process. If you find the “highways” between these shallow food shelfs and the wintering areas, you’ll be setup to pound the smallmouth bass as they move up shallow during the early season.
Throughout the summer months, smallmouth can roam around quite a bit and versatility is key if you want to catch them consistently. You’ll want to have a number of different techniques in your arsenal, and should be willing to move to follow the fish.
Once water temperatures begin to fall into the high 40’s in fall, smallmouth bass start gathering in very distinct wintering locations. At that point in time, their strike zone really changes. The amount of distance they’re willing to cover to chase a bait will shrink dramatically.
That’s where hair jigging, roller jigging, and dropshotting really become the preferred presentation strategies. You need to put these offerings within a foot or two of the smallmouth you’re targeting to ultimately trigger a strike.
As things begin to warm up after a long winter, the fish become more active again and start putting on the feed bag in anticipation of the spawn. Their strike zones open up and you can use jerkbaits, swimbaits and other lures that will attract fish from a distance and ultimately help you cover water more quickly.
Look for shallow rock and sand flats that are holding baitfish. In some cases, you might be able to see bait on your electronics. The smallmouth are using these areas to feed and eventually spawn, but depending on the water temperatures, they will be in different depth ranges. Establish their preferred depth, along with the proper lure style and retrieve to maximize your chance at spring smallmouth bass success.