Patterns for early spring
by Mike Gerry
Guntersville can fish differently during the early spring depending on where you are on the lake, as the upper river can be quite different than the lower end or mid-river. When I hit the water in early spring, I start out cutting the lake up into different depths; Guntersville has many tales to tell in early spring, and there is a good reason for it! The lake can be completely different depending on where you are, and results from different depths are not all the same up and down the river.
If you are upriver from BB Comer Bridge in early spring, there is little deep water, so fish that might be deep are not deeper than 10 to 12 feet because the upper river is shallow. If you’re mid-river or around the lower end, the lake widens, and the depth can be as deep as 45 ft., so the bass can stage in 20 to 25 ft. of water. There are also some differences in water temperature, being the shallow water warms quicker than deeper water so the fish movement can be completely different. With the upper river warming earlier than the mid and lower end it generally allows the fish to go into pre-spawn and the spawn sometimes ends up three to four weeks early as water temperatures can get into the 60’s much quicker upriver.
I will work deep crank baits off staging drops, first, to either eliminate deep water or find feeding fish. I then get to the next drops at about 10 to 12 feet, and I work several baits at this depth, rattle baits, square bill crank baits and jigs. Lastly, if that has not produced some good fish I then get into the shallows, and I always look for cover at this depth. Boat house, lay downs, rock, or just odd objects sticking up out of the water and, of course, the grass. My favorite bait in shallow water for massive fish is always a jig it is a catching machine in shallow water for me.
I like starting out toward the middle of the river working into the shallow water this time of year, as it allows you to locate a pattern quickly.