When the water temperatures get to 50-60 degrees is when bass fishing really starts heating up, at least in the Spring. In the fall, 50-60 degree water temperatures means your last good days of bass fishing for the season are almost gone.
Because of that, a lot of fishermen want to know how to better fish these temperature ranges. While there are some differences in how to approach fall and spring at these temperatures, there are a lot of similarities.
So keep reading and we will first cover bass fishing in 50-60 degrees Spring weather. Then, we’ll talk about similarities and differences in the fall.
Spring Bass fishing 50-60 Degree Water
When your water temps hit about 50 degrees in the spring, bass will start moving from their winter depths and back into shallower water. This is called the “prespawn” and is the time period that bass start thinking about spawning, but aren’t ready to commit to it just yet.
Instead, they make a long, slow journey from their depths into the shallows where they will eventually make beds, lay eggs, and birth new bass. Starting in the low 50s all the way up to 60 degrees, bass will still just be in the prespawn moving up. Then just after it passes 60 degrees, they will start spawning.
Where to find bass in 50-60 Degree in Spring
Because they are making a journey from deep to shallow water – there is a variety of areas you can find bass throughout this water temperature. But there is a pattern to their movement, and if you find that pattern you’re sure to find the fish.
When water is just touching 50, you are likely to find the majority of bass on main lake points. This is because it’s the first “pit stop” from the deepest part of the lake into the shallow areas. Take a look at the map below and you’ll see why it’s the first stop on their way to more shallow water.
Then, when water bumps up a few degrees and gets around 54 degrees, you’ll find bass starting to hop around secondary points. These are similar to main lake points, but instead of being in the middle of the lake they are located between the shallows the bass are headed to, and the main lake points. Again, it’s another easy “pit stop” on the way to their spawning location.
Finally, when water temps are around 58 degrees is when bass hit the shallow banks to look for spawning locations. Male bass will begin making the beds and females will be a few feet deeper just waiting to lay their eggs. So you can fish down shallow spawning flats or the points very close to them to have the most success.
How to catch bass in 50-60 degree Spring Water
But knowing where the bass are in 50-60 degree water is only half the battle. You still have to get them to bite!
Thankfully this is usually pretty easy during the prespawn. They have spent most of the winter not feeding heavily and are going into the spawn where they won’t eat at all for days or weeks. So they’ll be looking to bulk up and be eating most everything in sight. So moving baits should work really well in this water temperature. Below are 2 pre spawn killers.
Red Lipless Crankbait
Ask any professional bass angler and they’ll tell you there is one bait they don’t hit the water without when waters hit 50 degrees in Spring – a red lipless crankbait.
Early in spring there aren’t a lot of baitfish available to eat as they haven’t hatched out for the year yet. Instead, one of the main species for bass to forage are crayfish. And a red lipless crankbait does a great job of mimicking crayfish who are just popping out during the early spring.
Another reason it works so well in 40-50 degree weather is that they are great to fish on the points or down banks where bass are located. You can fish them quickly, in multiple different depths, and their rattles will bring in fish from the surrounding area if you don’t hit just the right spot.
There is something about a red lipless crank that will just slay bass in 50-60 degree waters in Spring. So I really recommend you try it if you haven’t already! If lipless crankbaits aren’t your thing, you can also try any other type of crankbait or a jerkbait for similar results.
While you can usually find bass willing to feed in 50-60 degree spring waters, they can get very tight lipped on certain days. Because spring can have wildly different temperatures, cold fronts, or storms, bass can go from biting like crazy to not biting anything in just hours.
So if you know you’re in the right spots but can’t catch a bite, try a casting jig. Again, it mimics the crayfish that bass love to feed on this time of year but does so in a slower, more subtle presentation that will get most any bass to bite.
You can also throw them around points very effectively. Just cast it towards the shallower part of the point and slowly drag it off into deeper water. If there is any cover at all on the point, make sure you hit it with your jig in case a bass is just sitting there right by it. It can help a bass notice it or spook it right into biting.
Be careful to watch your line though! Sometimes you’ll fall off a point and be waiting to feel it hit bottom. But you look at your line and it’s going off in a different direction. That’s because a bass grabbed it while it was falling and is swimming off with what it thinks is a tasty snack.
Fall Bass Fishing in 50-60 Degree Water
Now that we’ve covered spring and what lures to use, let’s take a look at what happens in fall around the same water temperatures.
The simplest way to think about fall fishing in 50-60 degree water is to think about spring fishing but in reverse. Instead of starting deep in 50 degree water and moving shallow when it hits 60, they’re going to be doing the exact opposite. So they’ll be shallow feeding on baitfish around 60 degrees and as it gets cooler they’ll make their way back to main lake points by the time it hits 50 degrees.
Often times bass will use the exact same points and locations to make their journey as they did earlier in the year. So if you had good luck on one point in 55 degree water in spring, definitely try it again when it is 55 degrees in fall. Chances are they might be back in that exact same spot again, just working their way in a different direction.
Baitfish is key in 50-60 degree temps in Fall
Another key difference is that the bass head to shallow water in spring to spawn. But in fall, they are just chasing all of the plentiful baitfish that have developed over the year in your fishery. So the key to finding bass throughout fall, and especially in 50-60 degree water, is to find the balls of baitfish. If you find the balls of baitfish – you will find where the bass are.
A great fishfinder like this is extremely helpful if you’re on a boat. But if not, you can even use castable fish finders like this to determine where the schools of bait are. Frankly if you aren’t finding them first, you’re probably just wasting your time. The majority of bass are going to be very close to wherever the baitfish are.
Lures to use in 50-60 Degrees in Fall
Since bass are following baitfish in this water temperature range in fall, you can again use a lot of moving baits that mimic smaller fish to great success. But my two favorite fall baits are below
The chatterbait is probably my favorite all around bait because of its versatility and ease of use. But it just becomes a special bait in 50-60 degree fall temperatures.
It’s a great baitfish imitator, especially when you put a good swimbait on the back of it like a keitech swing impact. You can upsize or downsize your presentation to match the hatch – but a nice big shad imitation can really get those big fall bass to bite. And you get the additional action of the vibrating head along with the tail to boot!
You can also cover a lot of water with it and fish it in a variety of depths too. So when you are point hopping trying to find which one the bass are on – you can fish quickly and not have to worry about which depth you’re at constantly. Just let it sink lower if the point is deeper, or reel more quickly if the point is shallow.
If you’re looking for which chatterbait you should buy – this article has everything you need to know! Other baits you could use instead are spinnerbaits or squarebills.
A second great bait to throw around 50-60 degree water is the whopper plopper. Being a topwater lure, this is going to shine most in the early morning or late evenings. And if it’s a cloudy day you can even throw it in the middle of the day as well.
But there is something about the combination of sound, movement, and vibration that a whopper plopper makes that drive bass crazy. I’ve thrown many topwater lures and nothing produces like a whopper plopper. Again, if you want to read more about it check out this blog article I wrote which gets into the details.
Whopper ploppers will work best towards 60 degrees but will still work down to 50 degrees. It makes so much noise and commotion that bass will come out of a deep point to bite it sometimes. So throw it on top of shallow points for sure, but even try it on deeper points for a little something different. You might be surprised how well it works.
The key to finding bass in 50-60 degree water is to go point hopping. Understand the route that bass take in and out of deep to shallow water in this very transitional water temperature. Once you figure that out, you’re going to easily find bass. And when you find a point that has bass on it – remember everything special about it and go find another one just like it on the lake. Chances are it will have bass on it too.
Then use the lures that we talked about and have a blast. 50-60 degree water temperatures are when you can put 50 bass in the boat if you find the right day. So go out and fish this year when water temps hit that special time. You’ll be glad you did.
Let us know in the comments which fishing tactics work for you in fifty to sixty degree water temps!