The bite on Lake Travis has been steadily improving as spring progresses and the water gets warmer. March is always a transition month on Lake Travis. What I mean by that is that this is the time of year when the fish start moving around and getting more active than they have been all winter…. In particular they start spawning. For those who don’t know this bass terminology, this simply refers to when they build nests and lay their eggs.
Currently water temps on Lake Travis are between 58-62 degrees. Areas on the lower end of the lake out in deep water will be colder than the backs of coves. Deep clear water warms slower than shallow or stained water. This is why coves warm quicker, and is why bass move to the backs of the coves to spawn.
This brings me to discussing spawning fish. I have been consistently catching spawning bass lately, however I have yet to see a push of big females. It’s mostly the smaller buck bass right now. With that said, there is a level of luck when it comes to fishing for bedding bass. You simply have to be lucky enough to come across a big female bass on a bed! So how do you find fish on beds? Let’s break that down.
1. Water Temperature
Water temp is by far the most important factor when looking for bed fish. Bass instinctively know that if the water is to cold their eggs will not hatch. Look for water 59 degrees or higher… warmer the better. When I am pulling into a cove I will always have my graph on and be watching the temperature sensor. If a cove is too cold I will move on in search of warmer water. Right now with the warm forecast ahead this should not be an issue.
Location is very important, as fish won’t just spawn anywhere. Largemouth bass like to spawn in shallow protected areas. They want to be away from boat traffic, wind, and anything that could disturb their nests. Typically they will go as far back into a cove as they possibly can. On average you will find them spawning in 1-6 feet of water. With Lake Travis being so clear though it is not uncommon to find them spawning even deeper than that. Often times the backs of docks, next to rocks, next to anchor blocks up shallow, near brush, or by dock stairs is a good place to look. I find that they prefer nesting next to something as it makes the nest that much more protected.
3. Polarized Glasses
Bed fishing is sight fishing; you are visibly looking for these fish and casting at them. A good quality pair of polarized sunglasses is a must. Polarized glasses cut the glare on the water and make it easier to see the fish.
So now that you know where to start looking let's talk about baits. I have an article on my website that I will link that goes WAY more in depth on this, so check that out too. Here are my top 3 baits for tricking spawning fish into biting.
Yep that’s right, I still throw a drop shot! But I change it up a bit, so let me explain. I like to rig a 1/0 Mosquito hook on 15# flourocarbon with a 3/8th ounce drop shot sinker. I rig this on a bait casting rod… this is important! When pitching baits onto a bed you need your bait to land softly in the water and avoid making a huge splash as this can spook the fish. A bait caster allows you to pitch the bait underhand and stop it before it hits the water. I like to rig up a bright colored trick worm wacky style. Bubblegum, white, methylate or bruised banana are all great colors for this. The color doesn’t matter as much as the fish isn’t hitting your bait because they are hungry. They are hitting it because they are territorial. A bright color allows me to see the bait easier underwater and set the hook quicker once I see the bait disappear.
2. Texas Rig
I like to Texas rig a creature bait such as a lizard or craw style plastic. Crawfish and Salamanders are natural predators of fish eggs, so it makes sense to throw them. I like to throw bright colors here as well. If they fish is being finnicky I will switch to a natural color like green pumpkin, its just tougher to see.
3. Bluegill swimbait
This is usually what I pull out last as its not always easy to hook the fish with a swimbait. Mattlures, Huddleston, and Savage Gear are just a couple companies that make a very realistic looking bluegill or sunfish colored swimbait. Bluegill and sunfish love to eat bass eggs and largemouth bass hate them. When I come across a fish large enough that I am confident they won’t have trouble getting the whole bait in their mouth I will pitch this on the bed. The reason I pull this out last is because small fish often bite the bait but do not get the hook in their mouth, so hooking them can be tougher.
The fishing on Lake Travis will only continue to get better as it gets hotter. The shad spawn will happen after the bass spawn, and this is my favorite time of year to fish! The topwater and swimbait bite will get good, which I know a lot of you are looking forward too.
As always, if this fishing report helped you, please consider sharing it on your social media. Your word of mouth and social media shoutouts is the best free marketing I could ask for. Thank you!