Tips for Fishing Rivers for Bass

For most anglers, there’s nothing better than to head to the river to fish for bass after a long week. Here are a couple of tips to make your river fishing experience more successful.

Look out for the best times to fish for bass in the rivers

To save yourself from poaching by the river all day, it’s good to know what the best times for bass to bite are. Here’s an easy break down of the times and seasons you can find bass in the rivers:

  • Morning or evenings: Bass bite best when the sun isn’t too bright, so you’ll have better luck catching them either at dusk or dawn.
  • Midday: While bass usually hide away from the sun, you may still be able to catch them in the river if it’s a cloudy day out. If you’re out of luck, try heading toward the muddier areas of the river.
  • Spring: When fishing for rivers for bass, it’s best to head out in spring when water temperatures hover between 55 to 65 degrees. This is during spawn time and bass will hit almost anything.

Learn where you can fish rivers for bass

Before heading out to the river to fish for bass, you may want to consider the type of bass you’re looking to catch. This should help you narrow down the options for you to catch your preferred bass species. Let’s look at where you can find bass in the river:

Largemouth bass

The largemouth bass is a species of bass living in the river that doesn’t quite enjoy quick currents. Instead, here are 2 spots where you’ll have better luck catching them:

  • Backwaters of the river: Backwater spots in the river have calmer water currents, making it the ideal spot for you to catch largemouth bass. If possible, do head to the entrance point of the river where you’ll find schools of largemouth bass waiting on food that is carried into the creek by the current.
  • Weeded areas: While heavily weeded areas in the river are uncommon, it’s one of the prime spots for you to catch the largemouth bass. This is as the weeds help calm the water currents by the creek, making it the very location you’ll want to watch out for where fishing for largemouth bass in the river.

Smallmouth bass

The smallmouth bass is very much unlike its cousin, preferring to swim by the areas in the river with fast water currents instead. In fact, these are the places you’re bound to find schools of smallmouth bass:

  • Around rocky areas of the river: Thanks to their habit of feeding off crustaceans by the rocks, the rocky areas of the river are where you’ll best find the smallmouth bass.
  • The middle of the river: The smallmouth bass seldom stops by the shorelines of the river. Hence, you’ll have better luck finding them in the middle areas of the river.
  • Backwaters or weeded spots of the river: Occasionally, you may find some smallmouth bass hiding by the areas with the largemouth bass. This is as the smallmouth bass is a far more versatile fish, although you won’t find any largemouth bass around the areas where its cousin swims.

How to pick out lures when fishing rivers for bass

Now that you know when and where to go fishing in rivers for bass, it’s time to look at your equipment before dropping the line. To help you on your fishing trip, these are the best lures to have when you want to catch bass:


Most experienced anglers enjoy using crankbaits to catch bass. Here are some quick tips on why crankbaits make great lures when it comes to fishing rivers for bass:

  • Crankbaits come in a variety of colors and sizes. These include shapes such as a shad, crawfish, and bluegill to help attract bass through muddy waters.
  • Crankbaits are also great as they help create ripples in water. This will attract the bass to assume that the lure is an injured fish, causing them to bite easier.


Spinnerbaits are one of the top pick for anglers looking to fish in rivers for the bass. Do note that the spinnerbaits should be swapped out according to seasons below to better help you catch bass in the rivers:

  • In spring, you’ll want to use a ¼-ounce spinnerbait with thumb-sized blades to help you catch bass. It’s also recommended to use a spinnerbait in orange or red as you’ll be fishing mainly in muddy waters.
  • In mid-summer, you’ll want to swap the spinnerbait for a 3/8-ounce lure with a number 5 blade in a blend of yellow and green. This spinnerbait can also be used to lure bass in fall, although you may want to pick out a spinnerbait in white instead.

Soft, Plastic Crawfish

Alternatively, you can also consider using a soft, plastic crawfish when you want to fish for bass in the river. To better utilize this, you can hook them to either of these setups:

  • Attach the plastic crawfish to a worm hook using the Texas-rigged method. This deters the bait to sink to the bottom.
  • Attach the plastic crawfish to a lightweight jig so your lure stays bobbed on the surface of the water.

It’s good to avoid using any heavyweight jigs when you’re fishing the rivers for bass as these lures tend to sink to the bottom. Instead, you’ll want to consider lightweight lures so they can be kept by the nose of the bass to increase your chances of the bass biting.

Tips for choosing your fishing rod when fishing rivers for bass

The next tip to fishing rivers for bass is to choose the right fishing rod. Having the right rod to fit your fishing style and type of bait will help you fish more efficiently and avoid losing a bite. Thus, we’ve picked out some qualities of the top fishing rods catered to separate needs below.

The best fishing rods for different types of lures

  • Fishing with spinnerbaits: If you’ll be using spinnerbaits, a 7-foot baitcaster rod will be what you’ll need. This is as the rod will be able to deliver longer line distances when the bait is cast while retaining comfort for the angler.
  • Fishing with crankbaits: For anglers looking to use crankbaits as a lure, you’ll want to pick out a composite rod varying from medium to medium-heavy power. This should provide you with better hooksets while fishing in the river for bass.
  • Fishing with topwater baits: While using topwater baits, we’d recommend using a 6½ rod to help you cast your bait more efficiently. This is also especially good if your fishing style is by spinning or casting.

The best fishing rods for different styles of fishing

  • Using the flipping and pitching method: If your style of fishing is by flipping and pitching, you’ll want to pick out a casting rod with an added flipping stick. This allows you to better control the accuracy of your line casting and to reel in your catch easier.
  • Using the drop shot method: While drop shot methods are usually used for vertical fishing, it’s also a great way to reel in bass in the river. To do this, you’ll want to use a spinning rod as it’s lighter and fits better with this light-lined fishing technique.
  • Using the skipping dock method: This fishing style is relatively new to bass anglers, although more fishermen agree that it gives them better accuracy. Thus, a lightweight spinning rod is best recommended to anglers who wish to try this method.

Try these bass fishing techniques when you’re out in the rivers

And now, you are finally ready to conquer the rivers and go head on to fish for bass. To help make your trip even more successful, you may consider these fishing techniques in getting a bass to bite:

  • Don’t fight against the current: We recommend bobbing your lure into the waters according to the flow of the current. This increases your chance of getting a bite as bass usually avoid going against the water current to reach for the lure.
  • Gently shake your rod: To imitate an injured baitfish, gently shake your rod while waiting for a bite. This causes the bass’ prey instincts to kick in so they will strike for your lure, thinking that it’s an easy feed.
  • Don’t run your lures too deep: As a rule of thumb, it’s best to keep your lures less than 5 feet deep in the river.

In conclusion, fishing rivers for bass can be a highly rewarding experience for both long-time anglers and beginner fishermen. When coupled with great techniques and insider tips, you’ll be able to see yourself heading out to the rivers more often to reel bass in time.