Article 9 โ Dog Leg Spawning Creeks
These are Creeks that run East and West. Some where in that creek it breaks sharply North or South. The Dog Leg as it is called makes it very difficult for a North or South wing to move the warm water that has accumulated out of the creek. The farther back in the creek that this Dog Leg takes place the better. The creek has narrowed down substantially. As we all know the North banks warm first in the Spring; but if a creek is just running North and the cold wind blows out of the North the warm water is move out. When there is a break in the direction of the creek the warm water is retained. When there is a North wind fish the South shore and when there is a South wind fish the North shore. The warm water is just moved from one side or the other of the narrow cove.
Couple this contour with spawning areas that have cover and you will be in one of the best fishing areas on the lake. Research shows that there is a favored water temperature for all species of fish and there is a lot of variance. Bass prefer water between 60 to 77 degrees which these cooler temperatures seem to provide a better supply of oxygen in that water table. So we are expecting quality fish to start showing up behind these Dog Legs, looking for spawning grounds, as the Temp. gets close to the 60 degree mark. This doesnโt mean it is going to continue to rise; as a good cold front can stop it all until that North shore warms back up. As a Bass Angler we must study to understand where to find bass as the seasons change. With this comes the rise and fall in water temperatures. I have already stated in the other articles that Big Bass do not move very far to spawn and feed. They go shallow and back to deep all within a fairly small area. The word Migration is used a lot by fisherman; but Bass to not migrate from one end of the lake to the other. Your success comes in a single cove by being able to follow them from shallow to deep within that cove.
During the Spawn behind the Dog Leg, bass eggs need sunlight and warmer water to produce. In warmer water they are going to feed more often and this helps use to be more successful in the catching department as it get close to the spawn. Once the water temperature gets close to 80 they are ready to retreat to deeper water until the seasons change and the cycle starts over in the Fall. We definitely want to be tuned into what the Bass wants and that is based around the food sources. Shallow water here is where it is happening in heavy cover where the critters are most active in the Spring and Fall. Your shoreline must provide grasses, rocks, docks, wood and or lay-downs. If so the minnows, Crayfish, frogs, snakes and other critters will provide that food source and there will be an abundance of action in the shallows. It is my believe that Bass can tolerate some pretty hot water; but must have shade to stay in the shallows into the Summer months.
I love these first stages of the spawn as the water begins to warm faster in these Dog leg coves. Buck Bass move in first and the big females are just out of sight and feeding up. Use your search baits working the outer limits of the spawning flats by fan casting toward the shallows and parallel with the cover that is available. This is a good way to catch one of the huge Bass that is working on made a deeper bed just out of sight. There is going to be fewer big females on shore in the early stages. I have never been very good at sight fishing; but have always caught my share off shore a few yards. Wind is also a good friend when fishing shallow water. The Bass holding to the outer limits of the cover feel safer; as a lot of the vegetation is moving with a little wind. This also breaks up the surface making the boat harder to be detected. Depending on how heavy the cover is make medium to long cast to search as much of the cover as possible with your moving baits. The fish will tell you if it is time to get up close and personal in 3 to 5 foot of water.
Some of the best hot spots to look for are small protrusions coming off the shoreline. These continue to form good contours out to deeper water and quality fish can be anywhere along that path to the shallows. Just around the corner is another good spot. A small gouge or drain in the shoreline will provide just enough calm warm water for a big one to be setting up a bed out of the heaver wind. Add a good piece of hardwood around that corner that stands alone and a quality fish will usually be there. A creek bending around a spawning flat will be one of the best producers. Creek swing slamming into the shoreline delivers Bass to the shoreline cover and cuts that distance of travel way down. All she has to do is move up.
Continue to study, read online article and watch some of the excellent videos that are out there. Above all seek out the best fisherman you can to spend these day on the water to help you become a better fisherman. It is a real shortcut to go with the most experienced fisherman on the water.