Late spring and early summer are a great time to be fishing on Alabama lakes and rivers. Several things are happening in the water that will increase your chances of catching lots of fish — and maybe even a trophy you can brag about for years to come.
By this time of year, bass are through spawning and looking to fill up on lots of easy prey, which means they feed aggressively and are much easier to catch.
In the shallow areas, several other species of fish are involved in their spawning activity; unfortunately for them, these happen to provide some of the bass’ favorite meals.
Follow these tips for success on the water:
1. The shad in the rivers and lakes will move to the shallows and spawn on almost any kind of structure. Look for things like floating docks, any type of emergent vegetation, rip-rap banks, and even sea walls. Bass and other fish will aggressively feed on the shad during the first hour or so of daylight.
2. To catch these fish, try using lures that are similar to the color and size of the shad they are feeding on. Some favorites this time of year:
- White spinner baits
- White poppers
- Shad-colored walking baits
- White swim jigs
- White soft plastic jerk baits
3. The best way to locate the shad spawning is to ride around in the morning and look for grey herons or other fish-eating birds congregated in one area. The birds will be taking advantage of the shad spawn to get an easy meal and will give away the activity.
4. Bream are also spawning this time of year. They will bed several times during the summer and always around the full moon. To locate bream beds, put on polarized sunglasses and study the shallow water as you move down the bank in your boat. The beds will look like circular moon craters on the lake bottom with a fish in the middle of the hole.
5. The best way to catch bream is to keep your distance from the beds – getting too close will scare them. Cast a cricket or red worm with a cork to the bedding area. When the cork disappears, give your rod a tug and reel in your prize.
6. Bass love bream. To catch bass when bream are around, use bream-colored poppers, buzz baits, plastic jerk baits or bladed swim jigs and cast the lure around any kind of structure close to the bream beds. The bass will be hiding in these areas, waiting for the opportunity to strike an unsuspecting bream.
With these tips, a couple of new lures in your tackle box and an early start, head out on one of our lakes and catch yourself some fish.
Meet Clint Nail
Clint is one of Shoreline’s fishing experts who shares his wisdom and knowledge about fishing and the right ways to enjoy our lakes. He is an avid fisherman and outdoorsman, and a consistent competitor in fishing tournaments statewide. When Clint isn’t fishing, he’s a chemist for Alabama Power.