Lake St. Clair Bass, Timing the Spawn

| May 26, 2016
On a recent trip Bob Mann got this nice shot of some beds

On a recent trip Bob Mann got this nice shot of some beds

Every year the question about the timing of the spawn comes up for Lake St. Clair and this year is no exception. We are going through that time right now and by the time you read this, we may be coming out of the “main body” spawn period. That is the period that most people relate to when they think of the spawn. It is the stretch of time when the majority of bass crash the shallows, set up nests then finish what they came to do.

Most anglers have a perception of the spawn as being a function of water temperature, and for the most part, that’s right. Let’s say that temperature is around 63 degrees. You can have that same water temperature in the fall or even in the summer, and there won’t be a spawn, so there must be something more to it.

The time of year, meaning the spring, is the most likely period to be looking for spawning bass. The spawn is part of a natural progression from the wintering period toward the summer period.

So we can say reliably that the bass will spawn in the spring when the water temperatures reach the low to mid 60’s. But there is more…

A single day where the water temperatures reach the mid 60;s won’t be enough to bring up the “main body” spawn. It is going to take a period where we experience an upward trend in air and water temperatures that holds for several days or a week, to bring most of the bass close to shore. From year-to-year, it is anybody’s guess when exactly that happens.

There are also shallow bays in the Lake that are protected and warm up faster than the rest of the system. They warm up sooner, so the spawn happens first in these backwater areas.

There are also bass that spawn early and bass that spawn late. To them, they are right on schedule, but you will find them on their beds before or after the “main body” spawn. One likely place to find late spawners is along the edges of the cooler St. Clair River channel.

One other scenario to consider is that the water temperatures stay cold through the spring and the “main body” spawn never materializes. We have seen this happen in years’ past where it is “spring, all summer long.” We are told by marine biologists that the females that don’t spawn eventually reabsorb their eggs.

If you are interested in looking into seasonal cycles on Lake St. Clair get the latest book, No Secrets on Lake St. Clair Vol. 3.

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Category: Bass Fishing Articles, Feature, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Wayne Carpenter is the owner of Xtreme Bass Tackle and Combat Fishing, and author of No Secrets on Lake St. Clair.

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