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Temperature Based Bass Lure Selector Chart

The biggest part of fishing we get asked about on a regular basis has to do with when you should throw certain lures. For example, “When is the best time to throw a [INSERT LURE NAME HERE]?” There are obviously some general guidelines that should be followed but as you will learn, nothing in fishing is an exact science because as everyone knows, we are dealing with wild animals.

But with fishing, some normal seasonal behavior predicts what lures will be most effective and then obviously regional scenarios and types of bodies of water you fish also factor into the equation. Because a drop shot in deep muddy water is not going to be very effective. But a blade bait in deep clear water will be much more effective during the colder months. So knowing when certain lures work best, where bass most likely would be and then what their mood will likely be at those times can help you choose a handful of the right lures and tools to catch them in various scenarios.

Sometimes you can go completely against the grain like say when a warm rain warms up the shallows and fish cruise up to the backs of drains to get in that little warmer water in the middle of winter. Suddenly you went from fishing in 30 feet of water to fishing in 2. But those scenarios are few and far between. So, let us stick with the basic premises on when certain lures work best for bass.

summer and winter fishing

Winter and Summer Bass Fishing

Typically speaking, when the temps are really cold or really hot, a bass will get in deeper water where the water stays more stable and is not as effected by the weather. A bass is trying to stay in its most comfortable environment most of the year. So in the winter the coldest water is near the top most of the time and the deepest water fluctuates the least.

With cold water, fish metabolism slows down so fish are less active and eat more infrequently. They are less apt to “chase” lures very hard and will eat smaller things but will go for a big meal but with less regularity. So you are talking about lures that do not move a whole lot. Actions that might flash and move sporadically for an instant but are sitting still part of the time or moving ever so slowly too.

In the summer, fish are deep as well but they are trying to find cooler weather. As the oxygen levels get low they will come shallow in the late summer and going into fall. But while they are out deep they will group up offshore and will often be competitive willing to chase big baits.

Spring and fall bass fishing

Spring and Fall Bass Fishing

In the spring and again in the fall, the shallow waters get to a comfortable temperature and lot more bass can be had close to shore. Bank fishing gets a lot better and lot more techniques work at these times as well. Moving baits, loud aggressive baits, finesse baits work around the spawn to entice weary spawning bass. These are some of the best windows for catching bass because so many more fish have moved into likely catchable areas. Shallow cover becomes the prime target and finding bait often puts you in the bass.

Bass are most active from 65-80 degree water temps. So if your waters are in that range a whole host of lures will work. Then it’s more about matching the mood of the fish and the water color and cover. Lots of laydowns? Pick up a spinnerbait. Lots of grass, try a frog or punching through with a Texas-rigged worm. Rocky banks? Try a crankbait or a topwater. Clear water? A wacky rigged Senko and a popper are good.

So once you know the best bass lures and you understand how to catch bass and how a largemouth bass behaves, then it’s just a matter of selecting the right tools at the right time. So you can see lures and techniques will run the gamut when you’re in a comfortable water temp range. But let us break down by temperature ranges, the best applications for certain bass fishing lures.

Temperature Based Bass Lure Selector Chart

To choose the right lure based on water temperate, we created the following template as a guide to help anglers make good decisions.

Winter 32-40 Jigging spoons, maribou jigs, float’n fly, jerkbait, Damiki rig, jigging raps Slow-rolled spinnerbait, jig
40-50 Jigging spoons, jerkbaits, swimbaits, finesse crankbaits, blade baits, grubs flatside crankbait, lipless crankbait, vibrating jig, spinnerbait
50-55 Jerkbait, lipless crankbait, shallow crankbait, Chatterbait, slow-rolled spinnerbait, jig, swimbait shallow crank, lipless crankbait, jig, spinnerbait, vibrating jig
55-60 jerkbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs, swim jigs, shaky heads, buzz baits, swimbaits Jig, flipping bugs, shallow crankbait, spinnerbait, vibrating jig, creature baits, punching baits
Spring 60-65 Shallow floating jerkbaits, swimbaits, plastics like lizards, craws, tubes, creatures, and Senkos, Chatterbait, swim jig, small topwaters, buzz bait, Neko rig worms, ned rigs Jig, plastics, spinnerbait, buzzbait
65-70 floating worm, most plastics, topwater, senko, frogs, swimbaits, ned rig, Neko rig Plastics, buzzbaits, frogs, spinnerbaits
Summer 70-80+ Big plastics, topwater, offshore baits like deep crankbaits, flutter spoons, football jigs, deep swimbaits, drop shot, hair jigs Big plastics, jigs, big spinnerbaits, deep diving crankbaits
75-70 Topwaters, shallow crankbaits, spinnerbait, frogs, smaller plastics, punching baits, smaller soft swimbaits, wake bait Punching baits, jigs, spinnerbaits, frogs, buzzbaits, swim jig
Fall 70-65 Buzzbait, topwater, jerkbait, swimbait, vibrating jigs, small plastics, swim jig, frogs Swim jig, topwater, spinnerbait, jig
65-55 Jerkbait, swimbait, topwater, jig, Chatterbait, spinnerbait topwater, spinnerbait, jig, squarebill
55-50 Blade baits, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, buzzbait, shallow crankbait, swimbait, vibrating jig mid-depth crankbait, lipless crank, spinnerbait, jig
Under 50 Blade bait, jigging spoon, swimbait, finesse jigs Spinnerbait, crankbait, jig