The ideal conditions for springtime fishing are several days of steady weather. In a low-pressure situation, anything that has previously been productive works even better because the fish are more active as a front moves in.
The problem with springtime fronts is the effects that linger after they have moved through. Fronts affect fish in the spring more than any other time of the year, as they tend to move the fish. The situation is just so fragile since the warming water temperature gets knocked down a couple of degrees by a cold front, which causes the fish to move to deeper water or hold tighter to cover in the shallows.
Depending on the time of spring and the water temperature, a variety of lures will work before a front, and since the fish are active you can use a faster retrieve. Rainy weather is usually an active period for bass. The cloudy conditions move fish up shallower or loosen them from cover. In either case, they become aggressive enough to hit crankbaits, spinnerbaits and even topwater lures such as Zara Spooks or buzz baits.
When the wind shifts and the skies clear up, the front has passed through. Now you have to slow the process down. Each lake is a little different, but in most cases you need to go tighter to the cover if it's available, because that is what the fish are doing. Since you need to slow down your presentation, the best techniques for this situation are pitching and flipping a jig. These post-front fish are no longer going to be chasing anything; they are going to be buried in that cover.
If the lake you're fishing doesn't have any shallow cover to hold the fish, then you have to pull back out and fish the drops, creek channels, breaks and points. While a couple of different lures will work in this situation, you still need to use a slow presentation in all cases.
A crankbait produces under these conditions, but you have to retrieve it slowly and possibly even use a stop-and-go retrieve. The jig is probably the primary lure for this situation because the lure's at its best in the springtime after the passage of a cold front. During this time of year, the lure works best when you bump it along the bottom or let it sit in cover.
In the early spring, the fish haven't migrated to the shallows yet, so when a cold front passes through, I concentrate on the steeper structure. The location of the fish is relevant to where they were before the front hit. On a reservoir such as Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, the typical areas to try are the steeper banks in the coves or the bluffs.
Later in the spring, the bass move to the chunk rock banks and then the pea gravel pockets to spawn. You just have to look at the different stages the fish are in according to the water temperature. So a lot of times if the fish are in the pea gravel pockets when the front moves in, they will move back to the chunk rock banks. If a major cold front moves in when they are on the chunk rocks it may even pull them back to the real steep bluffs and ledges.
You also need to pay attention to water clarity after a cold front passes through in the early spring. After a front cools down the water, you should concentrate on the clearest water available because cold muddy water is a tough situation to fish. During early spring in this part of the country the water temperature will vary anywhere from the upper 40s to low 60s. Later in the spring when the water temperatures climb into the 55- to 70-degree range, then you can seek out that muddy water to fish after a cold front.
Paying attention to the weather as well as the water temperature this spring will help you find bass as they move back and forth with the passage of fronts, just as long as you remember to adapt just like the bass has to do.
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