When Do Smallmouth Bass Spawn? 15 Things You (Should-Know)

when do smallmouth bass spawn

The yearly spawning ritual is an eagerly awaited event for smallmouth bass anglers. But when do smallmouth bass spawn? What triggers the start of the spawning process? And what are the key things anglers need to know to capitalize on this behavior?

This article will reply to all of these questions and more. So read on to learn everything you need to know about smallmouth bass spawning.

What Months Do Smallmouth Bass Spawn? (Bass Spawning Behavior)

Like other Bass, smallmouths are known for their love of hot weather. Smallmouth bass tends to spawn in April. However, the precise timing of this event can vary from one region to another.

When water temperatures reach 59 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit (15-25 Celsius), they typically start spawning in March or April and can continue until May, with most being fertilized internally before building nests within 150 yards; from where those same waters ended up last year!

At What Temperature Do Smallmouth Bass Spawn?

Although the exact temperature at which smallmouths spawn can vary (depending on factors such as geographic location and water temperature), it is believed that 61 degrees Fahrenheit is around the average mark.

For waters with average temperatures between 39-53 degrees Fahrenheit, spawning smallmouth usually takes place when water temperatures reach 53 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit.

Smallmouth Bass Seasonal Patterns:

Knowing the seasonal patterns is key when it comes to finding smallmouth bass.

From April through June, northern fish will be in various stages of their pre-spawn and congregated at depths ranging from 10 – 20 feet deep; by late June or July, smallmouths move on a down deeper structure where you can find them swimming around 25′ deep;!

By late August, they will move on even deeper, where you’ll catch them at 35′ to 45′; in the fall, the biggest fish start moving back shallow due to baitfish having migrated back up.

Do Smallmouth Bass Spawn Twice a Year?

Bass is a pretty flexible bunch, with some females even spawning twice in one season. Early research revealed that the eggs they contain could be divided into different developmental stages (Reighard 1906).

Smallmouths aren’t known for their big families. Generally speaking, the females only produce between 100-400 eggs per batch, and they can spawn several times throughout the spring and early summer.

What Do Smallmouth Do After Spawn?

Once they have completed spawning, many smallmouth basses will leave the area and move to deep water. Anglers can catch those that remain in the shallow spawning sites.

Smallmouth spawns in slightly different locations each year, so if there are any good spots where you can catch smallmouths during the spring, it’s a good idea to try those first.

What Is the Perfect Time to fish for Smallmouth Bass?

Smallmouth bass fishing in the early part of the year will be quite productive.

Fishing for smallmouth bass during spawning can be a lot of fun, but many anglers like to save this type of fishing when the large schools of fish can be found.

How Long Does the Smallmouth Spawn Last?

While the mating smallmouth pair swims above their nest, they rub against each other and rest on its bottom.

After some time has passed (five seconds), spawning occurs where a single fish releases eggs into water fertilized by male sperm from earlier in his lifetime or another individual’s body heat!

The newly released spawn circles around 25-45 more before being ready again for round two of lovemaking – this process repeats until death takes them away from us forever.

Where Do Smallmouth Bass Lay Their Eggs?

Smallmouth bass prefers to lay their eggs in gravel that has been cleared of vegetation and debris. To ensure the eggs are rapidly distributed, Bass will look for rocks with flat, vertical surfaces and areas with a good current.

When the water temperature reaches 50 degrees, smallmouth bass move to shallower waters from their winter depths.

The males build nests on rock and gravel substrate until it sustains 55 – 60°F or higher for spawning activity which continues even more so at 71-74 degree range (with an ideal average being 75.).

When Do Smallmouth Bass Spawn in Michigan?

Spawning activity begins in Michigan in late April or early May, depending on the latitude of the lake. Males build nests by fanning their tails to shift gravel back under themselves as they move forward, creating a shallow depression for the eggs.

When does smallmouth spawn? Bass migrates to their spawning sites in the early spring when the water temperature reaches about 50° at Mid-lake locations, but more shallow at about 46°F.

A few basses will spawn right away, while others wait until later in the season. By early summer, all smallmouths should have spawned.

Where Does Smallmouth Bass Go After Spawning?

After spawning, the adult bass leaves the shallow areas where they spawned.

They will move to deeper water where the water temperature is about 60°F, but largemouth bass may move into cooler water than this but not much warmer.

What Temp is Do Smallmouth Bass Start Biting?  

The smallmouth bass is a little more delicate when it comes to water temperature. They tend not to be as aggressive and will slow down considerably in colder waters below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius).

The Bass is a low-temperature-loving fish. Its ideal range stands between 67 and 71 degrees, with temperatures below 50 causing them to slow in feeding but remaining eager for biting at more favorable levels of 24 – 26 °C (75 – 79 ºF).   

When Do Smallmouth Bass Spawn in Rivers?

When water temperatures reach 50 degrees or higher, smallmouth bass becomes more active and reproductive in the spring.

The preferred range for these fish, according to WDNR, is between 69-79°F during spawning season, which starts around 55º F on average but can occur as low as 40º Fahrenheit.

It is fine to wait until after the smallmouth bass has spawned in rivers. Catch-and-release fishing for smallmouth bass is allowed during the spawning season.

When smallmouth bass spawns in rivers, they move to slower-moving waters along the banks where they can find pools and eddies.

Smallmouth bass also spawns in rivers at night, so look for them during the evening hours.

How Long Do Smallmouth Bass Live?

Smallmouth bass is not as long-lived as other species. They live about ten years on average, but some live up to 15 years. The oldest fish on record was 20 years old.

Smallmouth bass is territorial and will fight with others in the same area to establish their own space. Fights are short and often involve chases but can turn deadly when hooked by anglers.

When Do Smallmouth Bass Spawn in Ohio?

Smallmouth bass in Ohio spawns when water temperatures reach 55°F in May and prefer spawning in areas with gravel or rubble substrate.

Spawning begins as early as mid-April and as late as June, depending on water temperature. Females lay around 1,000 eggs per pound of body weight, with a typical adult female producing 2,000 to 3,000 eggs.

The Ohio DNR says spawning begins as early as April and can last into June, depending on water temperature.

What Does Smallmouth Bass Eat?

Smallmouth bass eats a variety of foods. These fish are carnivorous, eating aquatic insects and larvae in the water when young, then moving on to other small fish, crayfish, and other crustaceans as they grow.

Smallmouth bass also eats frogs, salamanders, mice when they are available, and snakes and birds. They also eat fish eggs.

In the winter, smallmouth bass continues to feed, to eat whatever they can find, including available aquatic insects.

Where Do Smallmouths Live?

The adult smallmouth bass lives in shallow rocky areas of great lakes and rivers, feeding on aquatic insects that come into contact with its scales.

They can be found all around North America but are most common near saltwater oceans, where their favored food source exists abundantly!


Understanding the smallmouth bass’s patterns can help anglers target them more effectively. By understanding when do smallmouth bass spawn, and where to find smallmouth, you may be able to catch even more fish this season!

It’s also important for anglers who hope to catch these warm-water game fish at their optimal times of year because other species inhabit cold waters like trout and salmon; if temperatures drop too low, smallmouth bass will move to warmer waters these species of fish may never return.

Read more about Bass: A Guide to What Do Largemouth Bass Eat in the summer? (Explained)

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