Largemouth bass will go as deep as the oxygen supply allows. In warmer states, oxygen levels diminish below 15 feet. But certain spring-fed lakes or cold bodies of water have enough oxygen down to 50 feet. It’s entirely dependent on their comfort level and the current water temperature.
The one predictable thing about largemouth bass is that they move with the seasons and weather. As temperatures warm and cool, they change their depths to find the most comfortable water possible. As anglers, we need to know where bass go as temperatures change.
Largemouth Bass Depth in the Spring
Spring is a time of transition for bass. As water temperatures warm, bass become more active and move towards shallower water. How shallow they go depends on water clarity and temperature.
In the spring, bass prepare to spawn, so their bodies adapt to survive the exhausting process. The spring is a challenging time to spawn. This is due to unpredictable weather and water temperatures. Even with the harsh conditions, bass will spawn.
During the pre-spawn period, bass are in a feeding frenzy. They usually feed deep while waiting for the shallow water to warm.
The spawn officially gets underway once the water reaches 60 degrees. Once the temperature warms, the bass move to shallower water.
Males will then move into one to five feet of warm, protected water. They’ll dig their beds and prepare for the females to lay their eggs.
Females will find their desired beds, lay their eggs, and retreat to deeper water on the edges of the spawning areas while the eggs incubate.
Males will stay in the shallow water, fertilize the eggs on their bed, and wait for them to hatch.
After the spawn, bass are in the mood to eat. They’ll usually stay in warmer water and wait for other fish to spawn to get easy meals.
Post-spawn, you’ll often find bass sitting under docks near shallow rock piles and timber. They want to eat, so fishing in one to seven feet of water is a blast.
Largemouth Bass Depth in the Summer
In the summer, the largies move deeper. Depending on the maximum depth of the water you’re fishing, you’ll find largemouth holding anywhere from 8-15 feet of water.
In those hot months, I’ve landed bass at around 25 feet in some Minnesota lakes.
Bass move to deeper water because it provides the most cover from the sun. Bass want shade and find the coolest water possible. Plus, they need to conserve energy for prime feeding hours.
You’ll find bass deep in weed lines, on the edge of drop-offs, near springs, or by creeks that flow.
Largemouth bass want to be comfortable, so they’ll sit in the deep water in the warmest and sunniest parts of the day. They then move to shallower waters in the mornings and evenings.
Their most productive feeding will be in the shallow water, but they wait to move until low light and cooler temperatures. Stay patient and fish deep in the summer.
Largemouth Bass Depth in the Fall
In the fall, bass know that the challenges of winter are around the corner, so their primary focus is food. They’ll feed in similar areas that they were before they spawn in three to six feet of water.
Fall is my favorite time to fish for bass because of their aggressive behavior. In the deep fall, any warm days almost always mean great fishing, so you’ll do well as long as you can find them.
When the water temperatures fall below 60 degrees, bass feed as much as possible, so they’re more willing to cover more of the water column.
In the fall, bass go near any vegetation that’s still living. Living vegetation means more oxygen and food, so target weeds if you see any. Often, this will be in five to eight feet of water.
As temperatures head towards winter, bass will move deeper and become less active. Their primary goal is to find the warmest water and sneak as many meals as possible. As a result, they will be most active during the warmest parts of the day.
When water temperatures get into the 40s, fishing can slow down because of the bass’s need to conserve energy.
Largemouth Bass Depth in the Winter
In the winter, bass are back to the deep water because it’s the warmest in the lake. Water that’s 10-25 feet deep is the most comfortable for the fish. Largemouth’s metabolism slows down in winter, so they need to save energy and find easy meals.
Bass are still active in the winter, but you need to start by fishing deep. Don’t hold fast to the spots you used in the fall and spring. Fish where you were finding bass in the heat of the summer.
Growing up in Minnesota, I enjoyed catching bass through the ice. It took extreme patience, but the deeper I went, the more success I had. It wasn’t uncommon for me to catch bass in 18-20 feet of water in the coldest months.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Deep Do You Catch Largemouth Bass?
Generally, you’ll catch the most bass in 4-12 feet of water. Any shallower or deeper than those depths can become more challenging to find them.
Do Big Bass Stay in Deeper Water?
Big bass do their best to stay hidden. They’ll move to shallower waters during prime feeding hours and during the spawn, but they try to keep out of the way and use their ambush skills.
What Depth of Water Do Bass Need to Survive?
Bass need water that’s at least 10-15 feet to survive. Bass need to be able to move up and down in the water column depending on the water temperature.
Largemouth bass follow the food and comfortable water temperatures. The minute they begin to feel their metabolism slow, they try to move deeper to find a better temperature. They constantly burn energy, so they need easy access to food and safe water temperatures to survive.