What is the Best Time of Day to Fish for Bass

Bass fishing in the United States is more than a favored hobby of outdoor enthusiasts. In fact, the bass fishing industry is so popular that it directly or indirectly supports more than 800,000 jobs.

If you are looking to get your feet wet in the hobby, it is important to know the best time of day to fish for bass, so your trip is a success.

Best Time of Day to Fish for Bass in the Spring

Bass fishing enthusiasts can make the best out of any season. But most anglers agree that the spring pre-spawn is the best time of year to fish for bass. Depending on your regional location and the seasonal temperatures, the time of day may vary, but early morning and dusk are typically safe bets.

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The spring season is broken down into three parts. The pre-spawn is to recover from the winter and prepare for spawning, followed by active spawn and then the post-spawn period at the end of the spring.

Driven by their mating habits, bass fish activity can vary greatly during each of these times, so it is necessary to pay close attention during the spring.

Spring Pre-Spawn

During pre-spawn water, temperatures are rising, and bass fish move from their deep water winter habitats to more shallow areas for breeding. Bass fish seem to prefer water that is 50 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Depending on the temperatures in your region, you may need to look around for these guys.

In early spring, bass fish are feeding most actively during mid-afternoon, between 12 pm and 4 pm.

Depending on your water temperatures, start fishing the deep areas first. If you are not having any luck, make your way to more shallow areas as the fish may have already made their move.

One thing is always constant with pre-spawn bass, they are always hungry, so if they aren’t biting, you are not in the right spot.

Spring During Spawn

There are some divided opinions when it comes to fishing for bass during spawning. Some fishermen insist that you should leave them alone, while others insist that it’s the best fishing you will see all year.

If you decide it’s a go – the good news is that bass fish are incredibly active.

Bass fish move to the warmest, most shallow areas in the body of water to lay, fertilize and hatch eggs. They like to do this when the water reaches 60 degrees, which will be at different times in different regions. In the southernmost states, this could mean as early as late February.

You will find spawning bass in depths of one to fifteen feet of water.

You can fish pretty much any time of day during spawn and have success. Bass are aggressively protecting their spawn. This really drives up their activity and if you can find where they are spawning, they will go after any lure you put in front of them.

Spring Post Spawn

As the spring comes to a close, and bass fish have finished hatching their eggs, they move to deeper waters once again. To the dismay of most fishermen, you cannot control the weather. But if you happen upon a fishing hole just before a rainstorm or cold front, you will have the best luck.

As the weather begins to change, bass fish will feed aggressively. But once it begins to rain or the cold front comes through, the fish will become scarce. Inclement weather tends to move fish around a lot.

Even if you want to brave the elements, the fish do not, so you may have a hard time keeping up with them during rainstorms, no matter what time of day it is.

Your best bet is fishing deep water in early afternoon.

Best Time of Day to Fish for Bass in Summer

The summer months are when bass fish are most active during low light level times. This means that you can find them actively feeding around dawn and dusk.

Bass Fishing Early Morning and Midday in Summer

Early morning fishers hit the lakes at first light and fish until about two hours after sunrise. Evening fishers go out about 2.5 hours before dusk and fish until the sunsets.

Between the two, there is a pretty serious debate on which is better. It is likely a matter of personal preference if you choose to fish early or late.

Fishing at first light gives you the advantage of hungry fish who have not eaten all night. But for many, fishing in the evening fits in better with most personal schedules.

If you cannot make it to the lake at dawn or dusk, worry not because it is still possible to catch bass at other times of the day.

Bass Fishing Midday in Summer

Mid-afternoon may not be the best time to catch bass fish in the summertime, but it is still possible. During the brightest and busiest times of the day when recreational boaters are stirring up the water, bass fish will retreat to brushy areas.

If you can learn to fish in the thick, you can take advantage of the less convenient times to fish for bass. These fish are also the laziest. They won’t be motivated to feed, so it will take a lot more work on your part to drop a hook in their mouth that they cannot refuse.

For most anglers, it is just too much of a headache to fish mid-day in the summer months.

Best Time of Day to Fish for Bass in Fall

Fall is another transitional season. In the early fall months, fish will keep to their warm-weather routines of feeding in the early morning or just before sunset. As the weather turns colder in the fall, bass fish will seek refuge in deeper hallows and only come out to feed during the warmest part of the day.

As much as timing varies during transitional seasons, it is also greatly impacted by region.

Southern states may not notice much of a change in bass fishing habits through most fall seasons as the temperatures remain warm. However, northern states may see a rapid shift in feeding habits as temps begin dropping in late September or early October.

One hidden gem that many anglers don’t know about is bass fishing an empty lake during an early-season cold snap. Finding an empty lake can be a challenge, especially a well-stocked empty lake.

Fishing mid-week if you are fortunate enough to have a flexible schedule is the best time to find an empty lake. Recreational boats will be docked, and even other fishermen will be tied up with work and not at the lake.

While colder temperatures in the later season can drive bass fish to deeper depths and limit their activity in general, the early season cold snaps seem to cause some excitement.

Bass fish are likely to feed more during an unexpected cold snap in preparation for stowing away for the winter, making it an excellent time to catch bass fish.

Best Time of Day to Fish for Bass in Winter

Winter months are easily the most challenging time to fish for bass. In the southern United States, where temperatures are milder, and lakes do not freeze, bass fish remain active in the warmest part of the day.

Unlike the rest of the year, when low light levels at dawn and dusk elicit the most bass activity, the winter months revolve around temperature.

Whether you are fishing frozen lakes in the north or warmer waters in the south, bass fishing in the winter is the most successful between noon and three or four pm. Bass fish keep to deep waters in the winter months and only feed during the warmest part of the day.

Even in the late afternoon, bass are slow movers in the winter months. Like everything else in winter, they just slow down and feed less.

But slower moving fish are only a new challenge to dedicated bass fishermen. Live bait and warm pockets in the lake can help you get a few more bites during the winter months.

Points to Remember on the Best Time to Fish for Bass

Bass, both largemouth and smallmouth bass, come in many varieties. They are easily the most popular game fish in the United States and are heavily fished in all areas.

For seasonal fishermen who only head out to the lake during the warm and sunny summer months, bass fishing is best in the early morning, from first dawn until about two hours after sunrise, bass fish are hungry and eager to feed.

For those fishermen who hit the lake year-round, there is a little more science to finding the best time to drop a line. Luckily bass fish tend to be predictable and exhibit the same behaviors based on weather, temperatures, and seasons.

Once you learn where to find them and what drives their behavior, it will be easy to pick the best time of day to fish for bass. Just keep in mind that bass fish of all sizes like moderate temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the colder months, they will retreat to deeper waters and remain less active. As things thaw out, they will slowly move to shallow waters for breeding, and then make their water back to deeper waters.

The key to the easiest fishing is setting out when these fish are the most active and the most hungry.