Follow That Bass

Use meandering creek channels to chase migrating largemouths.

Field & Stream Online Editors

It's one of the toughest acts in bass fishing-catching quality fish during the postspawn. But these fish can be boated by anglers who know how to coordinate topographic lake maps and depthfinder readings to figure out where they're holding. Here's how to find and catch bass at this tricky time of year.

After dropping their eggs, most female largemouths head for deep sanctuary areas. In doing so, they migrate along submerged ditches and creeks toward main river channels, like following twisting underwater highways. But the fish don't make this journey nonstop. Instead, they cover some distance, then linger for a day or two to rest and feed. Depending on how far they must travel, this postspawn movement will last from a week to a month.

Their stopover places are typically channel junctions, underwater points, and sharp bends in the creek, especially those with stumps, rocks, weeds, or other cover. So, the key to catching bass now is zeroing in on these holdover spots and working them with appropriate lures.

First, study a topographic map to locate creek junctions, hairpin channel curves, and other likely holding spots. Then, on the lake, use a depthfinder to actually pinpoint these places and check them for cover objects.

To do this, start near the back of the embayment (close to spawning flats), and use your depthfinder to locate the creek channel. Begin idling in S-turns to trace the course of the dropoff. Compare shoreline references with topo map readings to home in on target structure. When you find a promising spot, take your time and fish it thoroughly with diving crankbaits, jigs, Carolina rigs, and other bottom-hugging lures.

Work continually deeper. If a spot proves unproductive, move down the creek channel to find deeper water. By working with such methodical patience, sooner or later you will discover the stretch where migrating bass are concentrated. When you do, bites will come quickly, and you may well discover that while postspawn fishing can be tough, it can also be very good.