Tips To Find And Catch Bass On A New Body Of Water

Bass fishing in a new body of water

Today we are discussing how to find bass in a new lake? New lakes that you have never been to before for bass fishing can be quite intimidating. The key is to quickly identify structure and prey species, which should hold fish. Of course, you also need to balance time of year, water temp, clarity, depth, weather, vessel pressure, fishing pressure, etc.. No big deal, right?

With the right preparation, it’s not a big deal. From first impressions, to finally finding and sticking a bunch of bass, you’ll notice the steps and the mindset behind emerging patterns and catching fish on a new body of water.

Most lakes and ponds can be fished with some level of success by the persistent angler with a minimum quantity of scouting or research before the excursion.  However, when you want that lake everybody talks about, it pays to do a bit of research.

All you need is a thermometer, a compass, a lake map, and a good pair of sunglasses.  Lake maps come in all varieties. If you are fortunate, you can find a great navigational map from your local marina or NOAA.

Navigational maps are very detailed and explain to you many underwater structures that tend to pull fish. They’ll also show you the more detailed depth changes of the lake, which can be an immense benefit if you don’t have sonar.

If there is a map not available, you can find a lake depth map from your state agency on the internet or the bait store. You may go online and locate fishing maps of the waterways using services such as Fishidy.

In these maps, we’re searching for contour lines that tell lake depth. The closer the contour lines, the steeper the underwater drop-off. The considerably apart they are, the flatter that area underwater is.

Here, we would like to search for places where bass may congregate. Coves That take off from the main body of water provide protection from currents and winds. Islands offer fantastic shoreline habitat.

The majority of these maps will also indicate which sort of boat access is available for you, whether there is a ramp for placing in boats with trailers or just access for small craft, such as canoes, that are hand-launched. This gives you a useful starting reference.

Now that you know about some places to boat, time and water temperature are critical. Bass spawn in the springtime. During the wintertime, they usually hang out in deep water (up to 60 feet isn’t uncommon) and do not feed or move a lot, since their metabolism was slowed by the cold.

Bring A Thermometer For Water Temperature

Largemouth Bass

47 degrees and over, picks up the feed

60-65 degrees, largemouth swim into shallow bays to spawn

70-90 degrees, optimum temperature

Smallmouth Bass

45 degrees and above, pick up feed

At 55 degrees, smallmouth go onto the flats to spawn

65-75 degrees best temperature


Pre-Spawn: (Water Temperature 50-55° F) Water Depth 10-15 ft

When the surface water temperature begins to reach 50-55°F, the bass will start migrating from these deep places and staging in the mid-depth regions of 10-15 feet for the pre-spawn phase.

Feeding will start to pick up, though it’s ideal for fishing slow lures on the bottom in starting since the bass may still be a bit lethargic. As the water temperature rises, so will their push to faster baits higher in the water column.

Spawn: (Water Temperature 55-70F, 66°F is best ) Water Depth 0-10 feet

Once the spawn starts, it moves on in phases. Not all bass will spawn at precisely the same time.

Any bass that is still in the pre-spawn regions will be a great deal more aggressive and track your lure. You will most likely also begin watching bass sitting on their spawning beds in shallower water.

Post Spawn: (Water Temperature 70-75°F) Water Depth 0-15 feet

Some bass will continue to be spawning, while others have moved off to other areas of the lake, which offer them great opportunities to ambush baitfish.

The bass which has spawned is usually much tough to catch, but it will often strike something that offends them, such as a topwater bait. You will likely have better success chasing bass down, which has proceeded to summer areas.

Fall & Summer Bass: (Water Temperature 75°F and up)

Now’s the time to start looking for places where the bass likes to hide to surround their prey. Search for spots on the map that provide steep underwater steps — these make the bass move to colder water immediately if they want it.

Start looking for docks, weed beds, and bridges. Bass will maneuver just outside the ways to shallow coves if there is a fast drop-off. Also, search for any underwater rocks, trees, logs, etc..

When the water starts to cool in the autumn, bass will aggressively chase schools of baitfish down. If you suddenly hear or see a whole lot of little fish break the surface (it’ll sound like soda fizzing up quickly), then odds are there are a few bass chasing them down. This is an excellent time to throw patterns that seem like wounded minnows.

How Does The Water Look

This should be the first thing you consider if you are fishing new water since it plays such an essential part in how you are going to proceed. When it’s crystal clear, the fish will probably be more in-depth and respond better to natural colors and finesse presentations, such as flashy spinnerbaits or crankbaits.

When it’s murky, you will be better off focusing on shallow water and moving with dark, noisy demonstrations so the fish can monitor them simpler, like a chatter bait or dark spinnerbait with big Colorado blades.

Where There Is Baitfish

When you hit on a new lake, spend some time looking for any signs of baitfish. Look around docks for along shallow banks for schools of shad or classes of bluegill. You can find it by searching for bait.

To follow bluegill, consider floating a green pumpkin jig. If you notice shad shining in the sunlight, try a white or silver spinnerbait or also a little topwater popper, such as Rebel’s Pop-R.

The Grass Is Greener

It’s wise to look for any plant –emergent or just below the surface—when exploring a new lake. All fish love vegetation since it provides cover oxygenates the water and is home to all sorts of pests.

When you find vegetation, begin your search by working your lures near the edges and on the top, and if that doesn’t work, try slow down and fishing the holes and corners a bit more slowly. Near lily pads, try reaching a topwater frog, such as SPRO’s Bronzeye Frog.

Points Are Points

Points are created whenever the bank juts out into the river or lake. These formations usually are fish magnets since they function as a “rest stop” for any fish going from one part of the lake to another.

They offer a great transition between shallow and deep water, providing bass a perfect place to ambush baitfish. Crankbaits work along the edge of points, while a Carolina-rigged soft plastic, a crawfish, will do miracles around the point’s corners.

Don’t Knock Docks

This last one is sort of a “gimme,” but you would be astonished at how many fishermen over-complicate a new lake by overlooking possibly the most visible spot. Docks aren’t only places to tie up your boat; they are sometimes the place for big bass, and they are also fish habitats.

Fish like docks because they supply shade and cover, and in some circumstances, shoreline homeowners place the brush under their docks to lure fish, which can make them even sweeter. For leaping under docks, there is no better than a soft plastic jerk bait or a wacky-rigged Senko worm worked along the length of the dock.

Fishing is just as much a science as it is an art. These above tips are the same used by most touring experts but do not assume that your first day on the water with this knowledge will guarantee you success.

These methods can refine your strategy for that day, but much more and lure choice is your decision. To quote the smart angler: “If fishing was easy, it would be called ’catching’!”

Bass Boats

Bass fishing as a professional angler begins with mastering the fundamentals, finding the perfect bass boat (or some other pleasant freshwater fishing vessel), and integrating the ideas and tricks the experts use to catch more fish.

On the lookout for a boat?

Bass boats are the perfect craft for tracking largemouth bass. Many of us need one boat to serve multiple uses—maybe a Fish-and-Ski would be better for your family, and the kids enjoy water skiing. Sometimes, you like fishing for species other than bass, and a multi-purpose fishing boat might prove an excellent choice.

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