Every bass fisherman enjoys escaping the hustle and bustle of crowded summer lakes. I know I do when time permits. And I believe one of the finest ways to recapture the purity of bass fishing is to trek out to your nearest mountain lake with nothing but the bare bass fishing essentials, like a few rods and a small tackle box of confidence lures. I use the word “mountain” loosely, because I realize that many of you may not live in the mountains, so what I’m really referring to are your nearest small natural lakes with limited acreage, abundant fish, and little fishing pressure. The best part about such lakes is their simplicity, but just because they’re small doesn’t mean you should show up without a plan. What that plan should not include is gluing yourself to one end of the lake or the other. Here’s why.


To stay on bass in a small system, you need to find the main transition zone or “middle zone,” as I call it. The bulk of these small mountain lakes across the country have a deep rocky end and a shallow end that often has plenty of sediment on the bottom and some aquatic vegetation. While this layout can certainly vary from lake to lake, this is a general rule of thumb. Most bass anglers target the shallow end when the water’s warm, and then fish the deeper section when the weather cools. That plan works, but the heart of the year-round action lies in main transition from shallow to deep. This could be the first deep point near the shallow end, the first deeper swing bank leading out of the shallow end, or it could simply be the expansive drop-off at the end of what you consider the shallow end. These transitions are not only about deep to shallow, but they come with a drastic change in type and amount of aquatic vegetation, changes in bottom content, water clarity differences, or any combination thereof.

These transition zones offer bass the opportunity to feed and move, and perhaps most importantly, spots like this replenish quickly. While I’d argue that you will catch more bass in a transition zone practically all season, keep this info in mind as summer slowly starts turning to fall. If these small-lake transition zones are fishing well now, they will light up even brighter as the temps begin to drop.