There is an old fishing adage that says, “When the lilacs are in bloom, the bass are on the beds.” That translates into great fishing for big largemouth bass, because in their pre-spawn movement, numbers of male bass are scouring the shallows for an appropriate “bed site” for a very large female to lay her eggs.

The anglers have lots of male bass in shallow water, very aggressive and ready to bite most anything that comes near the nest site, and very large female bass, hungry before they lay their eggs and aggressive enough to go after a fresh meal. This is a good time of year for shore anglers, because those big bass that are usually too deep to be reached from a shore cast are closer to shore and easily reached. Fishermen need a good pair of polarized glasses to “sight fish” for these bedding bass. The glasses can cut the glare off the water and sharpen the definition between shapes as well as increasing the area and depth the human eye can view.

They will find the fish in shallow water where they can find a soft bottom with a little pea gravel and some protective cover. The baits of choice are plastic and made to resemble bluegills or lizards. Because both of these raid bass nests, bass are very aggressive towards them. The best strategy is to cast the baits beyond the target and then slowly retrieve them near or across the nest area, repeating the process again and again if the bass do not hit. The bass are going to be very protective of the nest/eggs, so it may take a number of casts to get them to decide that the bait is a threat and strike it. When they do, the strike is usually strong and violent.

As Lake Geneva water temperatures reach the mid-50s, the bass are getting active and moving into the shallows. It is worth looking for them under the docks on the shady side. Lake Delavan has reported bass in the south channels and Lake Lawn harbor area, and Bangs Lake, Busse Woods and Skokie Lagoons have all been reporting strong bass activity this past week. Sounds like fishermen might want to spend a little time this weekend trying for that big bass they have always wanted to catch. Until next time…keep a tight line.

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