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The exciting pre spawn and spawning periods are nearly over for most of the states below the Mason-Dixon line, bass fishing country. What follows is spring or early summer where the post spawn bass start to relocate along scattered structure and cover. As the days get longer and we face what promises to be a long hot summer, where should the bass be? The answer is everywhere there is shelter from hot water, good opportunities for food and good DO(dissolved oxygen) levels and sanctuary.
For the high land and hill land reservoirs, with or without power generation dams, the majority of the better bass will be locating outside in the main lake or river arm structure breaks and make evening or night roaming foraging trips to shoreline cover. The summer dog days are very similar to mid winter locations for schools of bass in lakes that have thread fin shad. The bass stay in areas where the shad or other bait fish are located. Night time brings out the crustaceans like crawdads and rip rac rocky areas with mud to broken rock with wood cover are prime spots.
Fishing the shore line during the hot summer months is usually only productive during low light times. Once the sun rises above 30 degree above the horizon, the bite is over or very sporadic, along the shoreline. Some lakes with large flats that have deep edges may have bass under the weed cover if the mat is thick enough to cool the water and hold baitfish. Creeks, streams and rivers that flow into the lake may bring cooler more oxygenated water and bait fish, so bass will locate at those sites. Power genration creates current and current brings cooler water and baitfish. The outside locations along channels, islands, benches, humps all offer areas that compress the water depth and forces the bait fish toward the surface where bass intercept them. Watch for birds to indicate that bait fish are in the area.
The low land or natural lakes and ponds are subject to over heating the water beyond the tolerance of bass and bass become stressed. Cool water is essential for the bass to survive if the water temperature goes above 80 degrees. Look for signs of springs like sandy openings in weed beds with lots of bait fish present. Try to find the deepest water available with heavy shade cover that provides the bass with cooler water and good DO levels. Wind evaporates water,but also oxygenates it, so fish the wind blown heavy mat weed bed edges or any breakline and structure.Watch for mudlines where clay soil creates a cloud of brown color surface water, the bass sometimes use the cloudy water as a ambush zone.
The doldrums or dog days can be very productive days for those who learn how to finesse fish and use their electronics during the mid day and reserve the power fishing presentations for low light periods or heavy cover.
Tom
 

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Thanks Tom. Very good pointers. :thumbup01:
Up here in these shallow, dish pan shaped lakes, finding creek inlets and underwater springs can be critical in the heat of summer. Locating them can be tricky at times however. I have found many by doing my research using Virtual Earth. You can readily see water color changes that may not actually be present when you get to the lake, but it gives you a clue that an inlet or spring is present. Pay attention to your water temp and you can pinpoint these areas.
If there are alot of shoreline trees, you will also find that bass will linger along those shorelines much longer than the shorelines that get sun early. Many anglers migrate to the sun soaked shorelines early in the morning, searching out a more comfortable spot to fish. These areas are more productive in the Spring, but gradually it changes to the shaded shorelines as Summer approaches and water temps heat up. The difference can be as long as a full hour of shade on one shoreline compared to the otyer shoreline that is sun soaked early.
Another tool that works good is using Navionics HotMaps. You can adjust the time of day in the program and see areas that will be getting shade throughout different times of the day. Fishing the northern side of structure for example, will be more productive because it will provide shade that the southern side of that same structure does not have.
Here's a couple of shots of the same location on a lake I fish. As you can see, on one map, you would never know there is an inlet. On the other, the influx of the inlet is clearly visible and an area worth exploring closely.
 

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I used Virtual Earth for those pics Britt.
http://maps.live.com/
Then switch to 3D, areial views...May require a download and install
It works best if the area you're looking at allows what's called "birdseye view". Not all lakes/areas will have birdseye view available.
 
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