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Pre-Spawn Fishing in Austin, TX - Lake Travis - February 15, 2024

Austin, Texas Fishing Guide - Tips for catching largemouth bass as they transition to pre-spawn patterns.

Spring is almost here in Austin! Pretty soon the Hill Country will be covered in Bluebonnets and be healthy and green. I’ve been writing these for years and if you follow my reports you know I LOVE spring. It’s finally getting warmer, everything is green, it's not crazy hot out, and the fishing is terrific. As of writing this, the bass in Lake Travis have just recently got on pre-spawn patterns. The water temps are back up in the mid 50’s, and I’ve seen them in the high 50’s in the afternoons in certain parts of the lake. 

Paying attention to water temperatures during transition times of year like right now is important. Water depth, clarity, and location (i.e. main lake versus back of a cove) all affect the temperature. During the pre-spawn phase the bass are going to start moving up making their way towards spawning areas. The increase in water temperature flips a biological switch inside the fish and makes them do this. The warmer I see the water the more shallow the chances of finding bass. (To be clear, this is in reference to pre-spawn fish during early spring, not other times of year) In addition to affecting the largemouth, the warmer water also affects the baitfish population and where they move to and how they behave. So not only do the bass want to get ready to reproduce, they also want to feed. Largemouth bass’ metabolisms increase as the water warms causing them to feed up, after all, they don’t put on as much weight during the winter months! 

So with the water warming back up where should you look for bass? The two things that go through my mind is where will the bass move to to spawn and where has the bait moved to?

As you may know, largemouth bass like to spawn in shallow water. They prefer coves, spawning flats, and areas out of the way where they won’t be disturbed. Something unique to Lake Travis is that some years, such as right now, the lake is very low due to droughts. This will affect the spawn as it reduces the number of ideal spawning locations. For example, one place I find bass spawning that is not normal is on the steep banks behind marinas. While it’s not an ideal spot, back behind marinas are nice and protected. The bass will find a small shelf in the rock and make their nest there. Be thinking about where you’d expect the bass to spawn, now think about what cover is out away from there in deeper water, either near a creek channel or closer to the main lake. 

These types of spots are the first locations you can expect bass to pull up to and stage before spawning. Secondary points, brush piles, rock piles, and ledges out away from spawning areas are prime targets. The illustration above that I created gives some visual examples of what to be looking for. Utilizing your sonar to find structure out away from the spawning areas will be very productive right now. If you don’t have electronics don’t worry! Pay close attention to your surroundings and look for things like brush sticking up out of the water, limbs laying down into the lake, the dark silhouette from rocks or anchor blocks… there are all kinds of things you can visually find that will hold fish. 

Now that you have an idea of where to be fishing, what baits should you be throwing?

The video above covers five of the top baits I would recommend you have tied on this pre-spawn season. Truth be told, there are a lot of other baits that are similar in action that will catch fish. Finesse crankbaits, jerkbaits, and plastics that can be effectively fished around the structure these fish will get will get bites. Until you see the water get above 60, don’t fish too fast. Still giving your baits long pauses and working them less aggressively will get more hits. 

The Spring is my favorite time to be a fishing guide here in Austin,TX! If you have been thinking about booking a trip NOW is the time to do so! Not only are we catching a bunch of fish, but during the pre-spawn season the bass are hefty. Those big female largemouths in Lake Travis and Lake Decker have not laid their eggs yet and are at their heaviest. 

Book online or give me a call at (512) 910-7255


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