When fishing a lake that has diverse bass cover, the first step to finding bass is to identify and sort through the types of available cover.
The time of year has some influence on the sorting process. For instance, if the lake has standing timber, laydown logs or logjams, you should concentrate on water less than 10 feet deep. Wood is good cover throughout most of the year, except in the dead of winter. In the spring, bass start to move up from deeper water to the spawning areas and hold on the first wood cover available. In many lakes that wood cover is manmade brush piles placed around boat docks, points or creek channels. As summer progresses and the water gets hot, bass will use this wood cover as shade.
Bass Cover Breakdown
The best time for fishing aquatic weeds such as lily pads, hydrilla or milfoil is later in the spring, throughout the summer and into early fall. Weeds go through a dying process in colder water, which causes them to decay and use up oxygen. This dying process also drives away bass.
Bass will hang around rocks any time of the year, but I like to fish rocks from late fall, through the winter and into early spring. Bass switch over to crawfish as their main source of food during those times of the year on some bodies of water, and rocks are the best crawfish habitat in any body of water.
Fishing Manmade Bass Cover
Bass also relate to manmade cover such as boat docks. The fish are drawn to docks most of the year, but the better times to fish this type of cover is after the water temperature rises into the 70-degree range and then throughout the summer and into early fall. Many bass will spawn behind boat docks, which offer protection from the wind.
If an area has a lot of the same bass cover, you have to look for a change. For instance, look for a spot where a rock bank changes from pea gravel to chunk rock, or breaks in weed lines. Weeds are never in a perfectly straight line, so one of the very best areas to fish is an isolated patch of vegetation along a weed line.
Look for isolated trees when fishing timber. If you are fishing an area with lots of wood cover look for a depth change or a difference in tree types.
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