Photo: Eric Engbretson

To find the hottest bass bite this month, launch the boat and motor north. “Cold northerly winds blow right across the north shore and hit with greatest severity on the lake’s opposite side,” says Tennessee bass pro David Walker. “As a result, the north side’s water temperature can be from 5 to 10 degrees warmer than elsewhere in the lake. This is a huge drawing card for bass, because in early spring, they’ll always gravitate to the warmest water they can find.”

Walker targets shallow mudflats with scattered wood or rock cover and coves with dead lily pads. “Bass love to hold around the stems and roots of dead pads,” he says. “I’ve caught 12-pounders off this gnarly cover.”

Post-Front Frenzy
Spots on the north side are especially good after a cold front, when that frigid north wind has blown hard for a couple of days and a period of calm, sunny weather follows. “Those big females will cruise into the shallows on the lake’s north side to gorge on minnows and crayfish, and you can catch some monsters now.”
Good Vibrations**
Walker combs the water with hard-shaking lures. His favorites are Live Target’s 1⁄2-ounce, silver-and-black Golden Shiner and 7⁄16-ounce yellow matte Crappie (both lipless rattle baits); and 3⁄8- and 1⁄2-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait bladed jigs in white or blue-black fished with matching Z-Man Turbo Crawz trailers. “I’ll make a long cast and begin a medium retrieve, speeding up if I feel the lure touch bottom,” he says. “If the bait hangs up on a stump or pad stem, I’ll jerk the rod back to rip it free. This is usually when a big fish nails it.”