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Senko86

Prespawn/spawn Phase.

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I have some questions about smallmouth spawning progression. I have a lake that is divided where one side has steep rock the other shallow grass flats.The water temps are in the low 50's but I cannot seem to find these fish anywhere its a fairly small lake but has some 60' spots in it. How would you guys go about targeting these fish? I always here about smallies spawing in 55 degree water and last year I found old beds in the spring with a few little males but these fish seem to be MIA shouldn't these fish be up and active? Also From my understanding smallies tend to like gravel bottoms for spawning but will they spawn in the grass like largemouth will? Thanks for any advice!

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They won't spawn in the grass. There should be an area where the rock switches over the the type of bottom where the grass grows.  Also, I'd check the deep edge where the grass ends. How clear is the water? They could be spawning in water as much as 10 feet deep or deeper.

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ok so that transition is where I found beds before and I would think they would use the steeper banks that transition to the flatter area as a migration route to the flat however I cannot find any active fish in the transition. how deep will they be sitting during this transition phase 5'-10' or 10'-20' or deeper? The clarity varies from 3'-10' depending on where you are and if the water is rising or falling. I guess another importan bit of info is this is an irrigation lake goes in two week cycles of filling up then two weeks of draining. This fluctuation is about 5-7' in total. This has been a challenging lake to pattern in general just trying to unlock this place I have caught some nice fish in there just trying to figure out how they work with all the variables.

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Where I fish for pre-spawn smallies, they spawn in water 2 to 4 feet deep. In the days before they start making nests, I find them suspended over deeper water just outside where the first drop off near the nesting area is. Your fish may be in the transition area but just not biting what you are throwing. I found them to be particular about what they'll hit. It may not be the case in your lake, but the pre-spawners in my lake do not want large baits. Small jerkbaits fished with long pauses absolutely kills them. The same jerkbait in a larger size was just ignored. It took us a while to zero in on the pattern, finding the right bait, but it has been very consistent over the last several years. There is probably a pattern that is right for your conditions, but if you haven't been using them, try some X-Raps or LC Pointers in different sizes and colors. If the water consistently rises and falls 5 to 7 feet in your lake, I'd probably not look for them in water any shallower. If they built a nest in 4 feet of water and the level dropped 5 feet, the spawn would be wiped out. If the fish are there, keep at it, you'll figure them out.

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If the water is super clear, they will spawn deeper than you can see them. When they move up and are on beds in 2'-5' FOW here, I catch 2-3 lbers shallow, but 4-5 lbers in 10-12' FOW in the same general area.....just deeper. And they WILL  spawn in grass, I have seen it many many times.................as long as it's a hard bottom. You pretty much described conditions like my home lake has. One side is steeper and has a lot more rock/gravel, the other side is flatter, with a softer bottom. I see and catch more SM on the steeper/harder bottom side, but I don't rule out the other side. They will use it.....unless it's just totally un-suitable.

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If the water is super clear, they will spawn deeper than you can see them. When they move up and are on beds in 2'-5' FOW here, I catch 2-3 lbers shallow, but 4-5 lbers in 10-12' FOW in the same general area.....just deeper. And they WILL  spawn in grass, I have seen it many many times.................as long as it's a hard bottom. You pretty much described conditions like my home lake has. One side is steeper and has a lot more rock/gravel, the other side is flatter, with a softer bottom. I see and catch more SM on the steeper/harder bottom side, but I don't rule out the other side. They will use it.....unless it's just totally un-suitable.

X2

I have seen it a whole bunch myself.  Last year the bassmaster elites where targeting spawning bass in the grass with push poles.

 

Jay

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X2

I have seen it a whole bunch myself.  Last year the bassmaster elites where targeting spawning bass in the grass with push poles.

 

Jay

 

Those were largemouth?  For smallmouth to spawn on grass flats, the grass would have to have decent space between the plants and have a gravelly/sandy bottom. The grass flats I was picturing in my head were densely packed on a soft bottom. I can't see smallies spawning on that type of area.

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Those were largemouth?  For smallmouth to spawn on grass flats, the grass would have to have decent space between the plants and have a gravelly/sandy bottom. The grass flats I was picturing in my head were densely packed on a soft bottom. I can't see smallies spawning on that type of area.

I AM talking about smallmouth. I have seen it every year for as long as I have had access to bedding smallmouth, on at least four different lakes in this area. They WILL spawn in grass, providing there is a hard bottom. It's not un-common for me to be in thick milfoil, come across a hole, look down, and low and behold there is a smallmouth in that hole, on a bed.

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It is funny to see how many different types of fish will use the same cleaned out circle in a weed bed. Muskey, pike, perch, smallies, large mouth, crappie, sunfish, then the catfish.

They each clean out the sediment. & then go crazy chasing the baby eaters.

 

I think the bigger fish prefer the higher Oxygen for themselves & the young. The grass does allow the newborn to hide more easily. Osprey find the beds.

 

Scott is right about deep water spawning. Very deep with predators. Flying or Mink.

 

I have seen MInk do REAL wipeouts of nesting fish.

 

Not sure which is worse Mink or the Gobies. Mink eat the adults. Gobies eat all the eggs & any young.

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