Smallmouths spawn when the water temperature reaches the low 60s; largemouths, a bit later, when the water temperature climbs into the mid 60s. Largemouths select spawning coves with sand, gravel, or mud bottoms, depths of 2 to 4 feet, and borders of bulrushes or weeds. Smallmouths, for their part, choose gravel flats in 5 to 10 feet of water, though in clear water, depths can reach 20 feet or more. In both cases, the males, having formed the nests, nip, bump, and push the females to them and, once there, do the same to stimulate the females to release eggs, which the males fertilize by releasing milt. The females then drift off, leaving the males to guard the nest.