Definitely a few months untill the bass come out. They will hit nearly anything when they do. I prefer sculpin patterns fished on the bottom. I caught 5 smallies all 5lbs+ in an afternoon last spring. One fish was about 6-7 lbs 22+ inches.
I can't wait.
Bass begin to feed at 40 to 50 degree wtr and will be hungry comming out of the winter.Late winter,early spring prespawn feeding frenzy is one of the best times to catch the really big females.Some of these girls can be monstrous.Bass,at that time of year are generally in very shallow wtr where the wtr is warmer.The NW part of the lake is usally the 1st to warm up the quickest.Smaller lakes and ponds warm up way faster than the big lakes.
Use an 8 wght and I'd throw big flies at them.Like leeches,big sculpins and flesh flies of various colors.Work em real slow and hang on for your life if you hook up on a big girl cause you can get schooled real quick.Big bass are big for a reason.They are extremly smart and will do anything to get of your hook.
I have had success with bass year round here in western Washington. As I recall the coldest water that I successfully caught fish was 36 degrees. I have found that whether the water temperature was stable or even better increasing was more important than the actual temperature.
Interestly during the late winter and early spring prior to the spawning virtually all the bass that I have caught have been adult fish (say a pound and larger) and depending on the lake averaging several pounds. While I could catch the occassional fish during the winter what I term consistently fishing (several fish/outing) came as the temperature climbed pass a certain point. With favorable conditions that threshold seemed to be in the low-/mid- 40s for smallmouth and low 50s for largemouth. During those earlier periods often specific lake areas and times of day were often the most productive. For largemouth northern shallow bays with good cover were often the best and late morning to mid-afternoon the best. For smallies the first modreately shallow feeding flats (12 to 20 feet deep) off points were the best; esepcially if nearby to the later spawning flats. The fish would be out on the flats crusing under good conditions and holding tight in the in "inside" turns during tough times. Again the afternoons were often the best and I like sunny skies with a light wind chop.
For true hawgs the best time for me was that pre-spawn period on the front of a storm with cloudy/windy conditions. Very tough fishing conditions and a low percentage game but as near to money as I know for those true gaints in any give lake.
As with Steelhead prehaps the best way to quickly to learn how to catch bass is to do so with gear and then move to fly gear as you begin to understand critter and its habitats.
All the above aside as Kerry implied there probably that says bass than a summer evening with a sitting sun, active swallows and poppers fished along a field of lilly pads.
MMMMMMMMM.....Bass, Can't wait. This bad girl was caught in late May, off a bed and promptly released after the picture. Looked like she had been hooked before by the scars in her mouth.
Caught on an articulated leech.
I have caughty a lot of bass on all types of gear in a lot of places.....Look at my avatar. This early in the year if you want a chance I wouldn't waste my time with flies. Spinner baits will be the ticket. You need something big with a flasher and you may hook a MONSTER!!!
It is alright to take a break from fly fishing guys. I went 6 years without picking up a spinning rod and when I did it was, surprise, A LOT OF FUN! I consider the height of summer around here, when every body of water is really warm, prime "bass vacation" time. Sit back with some beer in a boat, tie somethin on and wing it out there. Fly fishing is my passion but I learned on a spinning rod when I was 5 and it still feels good to be fishing no matter how.
Get ready, they will be sitting on the deep side of dropoffs below their spawning locations. Find a spot that looks like a good spawn site and head to the nearest dropoff. :thumb: You'll be money there. I haven't checked the water temps lately but usually between "early march" and mid may, that is where I find them.
The best bass fishing in western washington In my humble opinion is Lake Washington. And I've fished a lot of lakes around here for bass.
As for the ethics of ripping smallies off a bed, I though bass were planted as a game fish? I'm not saying I approve of catchinig one and smashing it off of your gunwalls or the like, but I'm damn sure not going to feel bad about site fishing them off of a bed.
You said it Curt. I can't think of a better way to unwind from a stressful day then a summer evening spent on a small lake fishing. The bass are the icing on the cake. The bass in our western lakes are likely illegal aliens smuggled in via buckets, coolers and other vessels. Maybe someone should notify Immigrations. The Bush administration could build fences around the lakes and have the National Guard patrol them. At any rate there are now naturally reproducing fish with all the survival instincts that associated with wild fish and as such provide far better sport then the concrete pond reared, pellet eating, rainbow drones dumped into these lakes by WDFW which by the way are not native to most of the lakes either.
Lugan and PT- who gives a shit if we rip them off their spawning beds...if i had it my way there would be no limit and no limitations on how to do it. They are non-native and invasive competitors with our native fish and aquatic animals. Let the bloodbath begin.