The Best Time To Fish For Bass (Broken Down By Season)

If you are into fishing, then you probably want to know that you are fishing for the right kinds of things, in the right locations, and at the correct times of the year to ensure that you are going to be successful at catching the right thing!

The Best Time To Fish For Bass (Broken Down By Season)

One of the most common questions that we hear from beginner fishermen is ‘How do I find out the best time to fish and actually catch bass?’.

If you have found yourself with a similar question, then you have come to just the right place.

We have compiled this helpful guide so that you can learn all about the best times and seasons to catch bass. Read on to learn more!!

The Best Time To Catch Bass

In terms of the best time of the day to catch yourself a bass, we reckon that dusk and dawn are your best bets (so early morning, or late evening), as bass are bottom dwellers, and are most likely to be feeding (and therefore bite your hook) in lower light conditions.

Evolutionarily, they have evolved to hunt in low light environments, so are most active in the dusk and dawn. 

From their activity in low lighting conditions, you can also draw that you may also have luck getting bass to bite on rainy, gray, overcast days. 

In terms of the best time of the year or season to successfully catch bass, they are most active in the spring and summer months, when water is warming up, and they are feeding ahead of and during the breeding season.

Typically, we have found that they are most active during 60 to 80 degree weather.

As with most kinds of fish, the best time to successfully catch them is during springtime, just as they begin to spawn (but there’s no exact date for this – as it is predominantly determined by the weather and the warmth). 

In addition to this early spring high activity, the bass will bite with more frequency in the midst of a warm summer, as this is the peak in their year-long feeding activity.

At this time, the bass will have scattered across the lake, and will be found in both shallow and deeper waters, meaning they are easy to catch wherever you are!

That being said – on very hot days, the fish will all then stay in deeper water, or in water that is covered by shade, so that they stay cool in the sun. 

The Best Times Of The Day To Catch Bass

Early In The Morning (Approx. 5:30 AM to 8:30 AM). 

If you are a fisher who likes to hit the lake or river early in the morning, then we think that you will have the most success fishing for bass in the early morning – whilst everyone else is just starting to wake up and get ready for the day.

So, set up sometime between 5:30 am and 8:30 am to get the most bites. Though there may be a bit of variation between the seasons, you should have success at  this time.

As a rule of thumb, you should fish for bass before the sun is up over the horizon, and everything still looks a little watery and gray, and the light is still really low. 

When they are feeding at this time, bass prefer to go for things such as minnows and shiners, so you can attach these to your line as bait, or you can  use other, artificial means to catch your fish, such as artificial shoreline lures, top water poppers/plugs.

They should respond well to any of these options.

Late Afternoon/Early Evening (5 PM to 7:30 PM)

As we have already established, low light creates an ideal time for fishing bass, as bass feed more actively during this time.

So, you can begin to fish for bass again later in the afternoon and the evening, as the fish are active and feeding once the low light has resumed.

We recommend that you try out a few different retrieval speeds when you are fishing at this time of day, as fish typically react in different ways to speed depending on your time of fishing, and the area that you are fishing in.

This is especially true in the summer, when the dusky hours last for longer. 

We have found that the best way to catch bass in the late afternoon and early evening is by using top water baits to catch them, and then retrieve your bait slowly to avoid spooking fish.

During The Night (Any Dark Hours)

Bass are an excellent choice for night fishing because they’re able to see in really low light, so will see and bite your lure.

That being said, they do still need a little light to be able to see their prey, so we recommend that you choose a night when there is a full moon in the sky, or with a lot of moonlight so that the fish are active, and so that you can enjoy the gorgeous tranquility of night fishing to the fullest. 

If you are fishing on a cool, dark night, then don’t go in with the expectation of catching many fish.

They are a visual hunter, so they tend to avoid hunting when it is pitch dark, and they find it harder to see their prey.

But, if you decide to go fishing on a dark night, try using a lure that creates noise and vibration to attract them.

Go for something that is large, noisy, and colorful, or that has poppers, spinners, or buzz bait. AS long as it can be felt sensorially in the dark night time waters. 

The Best Times To Fish For Bass In Every Season

In The Wintertime

Winter bass fishing is a pretty slow activity, because they save their energy, rather than hunting, which is rather energy intensive.

They stay in deep water, usually under some sort of cover, so are hard to get at to catch. 

You can catch fish when the water gets warmer – around 40 degrees as a minimum, but usually warmer.

Only fish if you have seen the temperature consistently staying around the 40 degrees mark, as water heating patterns are very important to bass.

Big females will be active when the water gets hotter. If you are fishing for bass during the winter, then try fishing at noon when the weather is warmest.

In the Springtime

Springtime is the time when most people start thinking about fishing for bass.

The climate is starting to warm up, and although it starts out slowly, spring showers will start to heat up the waters a little, bringing the bass out of their winter behavior.

In spring, the weather is unpredictable and a little fickle, but warm temperatures bring more fish into shallower water. 

Cold fronts can put a damper on fishing, however – so if a chilly snap does hit, the fish will have moved to deeper waters again, and you will have to wait for a few warm days in a row, so you know the fish will be a bit more active and likely to bite. 

Chatter baits, crank baits, spinners, swim baits and worm baits work well in these conditions. When the weather starts to heat up further, the fish will begin to prepare for spawning season.

This preparation usually starts when the temperature of the water reaches about 55 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

When you notice that bass are preparing to spawn, you can expect the fish to be aggressive, and usually begin to attack bigger lures.

At this point in the season, you can expect to catch the biggest bass, especially if you prioritize fishing at dusk or dawn. 

At this time, our top tip is to remember to use big lures which will attract the attention of the fish.

In The Summertime

The Best Time To Fish For Bass (Broken Down By Season)

During summer, bass fishing is usually done after sunset or before sunrise. Summertime means bass are hungry and active.

They’re usually near shallow water or in hiding places near to the shore, making them pretty easy pickings if you fish in low light hours.

Later in the day, during hotter hours, they will probably be hanging out in deeper waters, to avoid the sheer sunlight and heat.

Lures such as jigs, swim baits, plastic worms, crank baits and spinner baits work well.

Essentially, when fishing for bass in summer months you can expect most of the lures in your tackle box to work, so just have fun with it, and try something new!

In The Fall

Bass fishing in the fall is a great sport for people who enjoy catching fish in a slow and relaxing way.

In the fall there is less activity but more fish – as the year’s clutch of eggs has hatched, and few have died off because of colder weather.

Bass will be hunting actively, as fall is a major period of feeding before the bleakness of the wintertime. In particular, they will be going after smaller species of fish, such as shiners and shads.  

Baits like spinner baits and swim bait work well in the windy conditions of fall, and jerk bait/crank baits also attract the attention of the bass really well.

Moreover, Fall is a great period of the year to fish for striped bass.

If you want to go fishing for this species of bass, bear in mind that they are caught in the early morning and late night hours, during peak and slack tide.

Cold days mean lower water temperatures, and push the fish deeper into the water, rendering them difficult to catch. 

Catching Bass When They Are Spawning

Bass fishing is a sport that requires patience and skill – especially when they are in the spawning period.

Even if you have previously had success when catching bass, fishing for them during the spawning period is a totally different challenge, as their behaviors and energy level is totally different.

The fish will completely slow down, and will focus all of their efforts on the protection of their nest from predation.

One of the best ways we have discovered to catch fish during the spawn period is to put your bait in the middle of a bass nest.

This will cause a bit of a disruption and catch the attention of the female.

If you have difficulty telling when fish are spawning – we have a few tips for you. To get more information about bass fishing, you should watch local wildlife.

When the weather changes, you can tell if the fish are spawning because the bass will slow down and stay close to the bottom.

There are even fishermen who think that there are certain trees that bloom coinciding with the beginning of fish spawning.

For example, dogwoods are flowering trees, and some say that they bloom at the same time that bass start to reproduce. 

The Best Times To Fish For Different Species Of Bass 

Largemouth bass tend towards shallow waters, usually around three to five feet deep. Their favorite places to spawn are visible flat areas, such as those along the shoreline.

They prefer to hunt at dawn and dusk, and are easily provoked by bait that is noticed in the water. These species are fish that prefer to feed by eating plankton.

During spawning season, largemouth bass are very active and eat lots of food. This makes them easier to catch than other types of fish during late spring and early summer.

So, if you are looking to catch one of these fish, then hit the lake in mid to late spring, once the temperature is consistently above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

We recommend that you fish when it is low light. 

Striped bass are most easy to catch in spring, as their spring migration runs occur when temperatures are between 55 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fall migration runs occur when temperatures start to cool down again.

So, overall, during spring and fall migration runs, there is an abundance of fish, meaning it is a favorite time to catch them if you are in the right spot.

Anglers generally enjoy the challenge and rewards of catching them on poppers (which are the favorite bait of striped bass). 

The best time to catch a smallmouth bass is at dawn, and then three hours before sunset.

At these times, smallmouth bass reside in shallow water, and they’re often found near shorelines. They have large mouths, but they’re not as big as largemouth bass.

They’re aggressive, and they’ll attack anything that gets in their way. Furthermore, they’re also ferocious predators, and they prefer to hunt in the dark.

Smallmouth bass are most active in the summer months, when the water temperatures reach their hottest. They’re also very hungry during this period.

If the water’s the correct temperature and there’s some cloud cover, you might catch a ton. 

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, bass fishing is a great pastime. You should try to catch them during the low light parts of the day – so just before sunrise and just after sunset, if possible.

Just try to fish near shade if you’re going to be outdoors during more intense periods of light. Enjoy the hunt!

Tommy Bull

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