In most States the open season for black bass is a long one, much longer than for brook trout. In general, the law protects the bass only during the spawning season which for a period of two months, all the rest of the year is open season. May and June are usually closed months, and at any other time the bass may be legally caught. But during the length of open season, the habits are favorable for bass fishing are not very long.
Undoubtedly the black bass is the most sought after of any American game fish. Compared to the number of fishermen, the annual catch is actually really small. That’s because not every person who yields a fishing rod is really a true angler!
Generally speaking, summer fishing for black bass isn’t very productive. That’s due to a number of causes, but mainly because at this time the fish are in very deep water. Especially August, is a very poor month. By day the lake or river lays quiet and glassy in the heat of the sun. And often the nights in the full of the moon are nearly day light. Because of this the bass seek the coolness in the deepest water and are distinctly off their feeding. Successful bass fishing under such conditions shouldn’t be expected. It is probably a fact that more bass fishing is done in August than in any other month. August is the generally accepted and duly accredited American vacation month. The summer bass fisherman that confines his fishing to the early morning hours, and again from sundown until dark, when the bass run into the shallows to some extent will sometimes have fairly good results. The bait caster, especially, fishing early and late, may have fair success. But a lot of bass fishing is done in the summer time which isn’t really the best time.
There are two periods in the year when bass fishing is at its best and neither of them is for a long period of time. With favorable weather, the first two or three weeks of the open season is when the bass are still in the shallow water. This is a very good time to take a bass fishing trip. Bait casting and fly fishing may then depend on making good catches of either large or small mouthed bass. The bait caster will make good strikes with either surface or sinking lures. The fly caster fishing in streams known to have a good bass fly fishing record should have no trouble in getting a satisfactory catch. As noted, this productive time is really short because the bass will soon be moving into deep water as true summer weather approaches. Then followed by 6 or 7 weeks when bass fishing is the worst and the vacation fisherman at his best. And then comes the best time of all the year for bass fishing, the first few weeks in the fall, while the weather still holds comparatively warm, but the water has grown somewhat cooler.
At some time during the summer, the exact time differing with with where it’s at, every bass lake begins to “work” or “bloom”; that is, the underwater vegetation growing on the lake bottom has reached maturity and begins to throw off seeds. After a short time the water takes on a milky appearance and is almost opaque and filled with floating particles. Naturally at this time no fish are biting. Prior to this time also almost every lake becomes very weedy, the weeds eventually reaching the surface of the water along shore in the shallows and often coming within a foot or two of the surface in water from fifteen to twenty feet deep.
This makes the bass fishing rather more like raking hay than fishing and fishing at this time, especially bait or fly casting, is more liable to result in smashed tackle and lost tempers. However later in the season the lakes cease working, and the water clears. The weeds also die down considerably. With weather clear and just cool enough to be pleasant, the conditions generally prevailing in the early fall with the water also clear and sufficiently cool enough to bring the bass back into the shallows. It would seem that the first weeks of autumn are a pretty good time to go bass fishing.