Spotted bass can be found in many different types of lakes, but these fish tend to thrive in clear water lakes with a hard bottom. There are plenty of murky colored lakes, reservoirs and rivers that have fishable populations of spotted bass too though.
In the spring, spotted bass can be found in bays, along shorelines and shallow flats as they get ready to spawn. Hard bottom areas with some sand and/or rock will hold fish. There are a variety of baits that will work for bass in the shallows.
Once the spawn is over, you’re going to find spotted bass a lot deeper than largemouth bass throughout the rest of the year. They can be found in many of the same areas as smallmouth bass once summer rolls around.
Drop-offs are great spots for all bass and spotted bass are no exception. Fish the deeper drop-offs that drop into 20 feet of water and deeper in the summer and fall. Spotted bass will usually hold on these drop-offs. You may find the bass shallower and deeper, but the drop-offs will hold a lot of fish throughout the day.
Docks can be a great pattern in the spring when spotted bass move into the shallows to spawn. From summer through fall, you may catch some of these fish around the docks as well, but it’s usually going to be the deeper docks that will be the ones that will hold more fish.
Points are some of the best places to catch spotted bass. You can find bass on the points from spring through fall. The best points have some type of hard bottom with some shallow water and deep water. A steep drop off will likely hold more bass, but a gradual drop-off is fine too as long as there is some water that drops into the 16 to 20 foot depths. The points with deep water nearby will hold more fish through the summer and fall months while the shallow water points will not hold as many fish.
Rocks & Boulders
Spotted bass love the rocks just like smallmouth bass. These areas provide plenty of food such as insects, bait fish and crayfish. Spotted bass are often found near the bottom along rocky areas so tubes, jigs and soft plastics worked near the bottom can be very effective.
The offshore structure is where the better bite will usually occur in the summer and fall, so target the reefs, islands and underwater humps to experience better fishing. Fishing vertical becomes the norm so break out the drop shot rigs and jigs to catch more of these bass.
On lakes that don’t have a lot of rock, you can usually find some spotted bass relating to the weeds. However, spotted bass do prefer rocks just like smallmouth bass. Don’t rule out the weeds, but don’t expect to be fishing a frog on top of vegetation for spotted bass like you would with largemouth bass. The deeper weed edges provide some better spots to find the spotted bass, especially in the summer and fall.
Spotted bass can often be found around wood. Stumps, laydowns and fish cribs can all hold spotted bass at some point. In the spring, when bass go shallow, you will find more spotted bass relating to the wood than in the summer and the fall. The main reason for this is that you will usually find a lot more wood up along the shorelines than in the deeper water that they roam from summer through fall.