Water Depths

Learn how to catch smallmouth bass from shallow to deep and everything in between.

Shallow Water

Smallmouth bass can often be found in the shallows, especially during the spring and early summer.  As water temperatures warm in the spring, smallmouth bass will move into the bays, inlets and up near the shallows along the shorelines as they prepare for the spawn. Once water temperatures warm into the mid to upper 50s, you should be able to catch plenty of smallmouth bass in water from 2 to 8 feet deep.  Bass will be found around rocks, laydowns, weeds, docks and other types of shallow water cover.

Once the spawn is over, most of the smallmouth bass will move into deeper water and they will remain deeper during the summer and fall months.  Since smallmouth bass like to roam the deeper open waters around reefs and shoals, you can still find a lot of smallmouth bass fairly shallow in the summer and the fall, but it will usually be because they are moving into the shallows to feed.  Don’t rule out the shallows in the summer and fall because you can still catch some nice bass shallow early in the morning, late in the evening and at night.

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Medium Depths

The medium depth range for smallmouth bass falls into that 8 to 12 foot range, not quite very shallow, not quite deep water.  This is the area that a lot of smallmouth bass are found.  As bass get ready to spawn, you will see a lot of fish move into these depths before they go real shallow.  When the smallmouth bass eventually move back into deeper water, you can often find smallmouth bass that will move into the 8 to 12 foot range to try to find an easy meal before heading back down to 16 feet, 20 feet or even deeper.

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Deep Water

If you want to consistently catch smallmouth bass, you need to learn how to fish deeper water.  Yes, you can catch plenty of smallmouth bass in shallow water during the spring and early summer, but for the most part, the bigger numbers of smallmouth bass and the biggest fish will almost always be in deeper water in summer and fall.

In clear water, deep water could be 20 to 35 feet of water or even deeper.  In murky water, they still go deep, but you can usually find plenty of smallmouth bass in the 16 to 25 foot range on many of the murky waters.

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