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How long is the Spawn Cycle?


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I understand that water temp has alot to do with triggering the spawning activities and that bass will spawn at different times in different areas of the lake.  But how long do the different phases of the spawn last.  Weeks, days?  THanks

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I may be wrong, and correct me if i am, but I thought that the daylight time was what triggered spawning and , the first to move in to the spawning beds are perch, lasting about 2 weeks, then the pike, and finally the bass. (I'm speaking from a Vermont fisherman's experience) But i believe the bass spawning period can last about a week and a half, from when they get settled on a spawning bed, then lay their eggs and protect them. Anyone have any ideas on what's best to trigger the bite from a spawning bed? Live minnows, worms, jigs, spinnerbaits? Thanks

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They guard the eggs/fry for up to (and possibly over) 3 weeks time.

Rick3499 there are plenty of ways to get a bass to hit on a bed. They will defend against anything that looks like a predator.. this could be plastic worms, crayfish, jigs.. even spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Just put it on their nest and make them think it's gonna eat their eggs. Bright colors are even more offensive to them and seem to work better.

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  • Super User

Spider Jig(hula grub) or plastic craw are two baits that I have alot of luck with.....use something that you can see really well...if it disappears,set the hook hard!! :o

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  • Super User

Just something interesting I saw on TV the other day.  After the male has protected the fry for so many days, before he leaves he will eat a few of them.  Just thought that was kind of interesting.

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This is my take on it:  

The males come in when water temps reach about 55- 60 degrees and begin to feed up and find nesting areas.  As they begin to sweep away sediment and prepare nests, the females are farther out tanking up on food as they wait for their signal (either warmer water -around 65 degrees, some say full moon, longer daylight is a possibility, etc.)  Soon after the males go out and "court" females to come to their nests.  It is my understanding that the females will come in and lay eggs and only stay for a few hours to one day.  During that time the male will fertilize the eggs and both stay on the nest for that time.  Then the females will leave and go to deeper water and not feed for up to two-three weeks later.  The males are left to protect the eggs for the next 5-7 days until they hatch.  A consideration during this time is to be sure and release even the males, for they play a major role in defending the nest.  As soon as the fry hatch, the males will soon fade away out to deeper waters and leave them to fend for themselves.  KU, it is probably then that they start to feel hungry and may feed on the fry.  By this time, the females have started to return to the shallows to feed and will feed on fry (Hence the "Baby Bass" pattern baits).  This process may last up to a month for one male and one female, but  the actual time that the female is on the nest is happening at different times and different areas due to water temp differences in the lake.  Of course, this may lack details or the time periods may vary due to weather conditions, water temp, quality, etc., but it's just my take on the spawn.

A very good reference that I would really recommend is the video, "Bigmouth".  I have a copy that I've shown to my Science class for years.  I've seen it at least 25 times and still enjoy watching it.  Although first made in the early 70's, it has some of the best underwater footage of bass that I've ever seen.  BPS carries this video for around $20.

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  • Super User

Yeah, I ahve seen that video.  It really opened up my eyes.  I didn't realize intil I saw that video just how sneaky bass can be.  Like picking up your plastic and you don't even know it.  I ttook that into account the fishing season after I watched that video and started setting the hook on any little tick.  I would say I caught at least 25% more fish.  I really like that part in the video when I pretty large turtle crawls up on a bed and the bass picks it up with its mouth and carries it away.  It's a great video for those of you who haven't seen it and you should check it out.

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Day light and water temprature trigger the spawn. They will move in and out in waves. The spawn can last from several months in south Florida to just weeks in the northern states. Alot of Bass will actually spawn more than once. Of course they do not lay as many eggs or have a very good survival rate the second and third time around. Water level changes also play a role in the spawn. I know this from years of working for one of the largest sportfish hatchery's in the country and 25 years of bass fishing.

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