April on Lake Murray is the month of Spawn. It is the time of the year when the majority of the Largemouth Bass are in their spawn cycle and post-spawn by the end of the month. Fishing techniques for Largemouth Bass will differ depending on which end of the lake you are fishing. Look for Largemouth lake-wide to be staging on secondary points or deeper banks outside of spawning areas, as well as moved up into spawning coves with sand or hard bottoms
On the upper reaches (from Dreher Island up river) of the lake where the water has more color, look for fish to be further along in their spawn cycle and shallower. Techniques of choice are crankbaits that dive to the 2-4 foot range, such as an IMA square bill; Greenfish 1/2oz spinnerbait in Chartreuse and White; Greenfish 1/2 Jigs in Green Pumpkin; soft plastics flipping baits, such as the Reins Punchin’ Predator, Paddle Tail Worm, Craw Tube and Ring Claw Daddy; Finesse worms in a natural or green pumpkin color, or a merthiolate or white colored Trick worm. Look for areas with a hard bottom and visible cover in the form of laydowns or docks. Be sure to make repeated casts with soft plastics to visible cover to entice spawning fish that may not be visible due to the water color. By the end of the month look for fish to start chasing topwaters, such as a dark colored 1/2oz Greenfish buzzbait, frog, prop bait, like the IMA Helips, or Ima Finesse popper as fish will begin guarding fry.
On the lower end of the lake (from Dreher Island to the Dam), focus on wakebaits such as an IMA Bone Floating Flit or Swimbaits like the Optimum Boom Boom Swimbait, Reins 4″ Fat Rockvibe Shad and Ima Floating 125mm Glide Fluke to cover water and find areas of the most activity with cruisers or spawners that will track or follow these lures, slowing down in areas where fish are located with a jig, shakey head, dropshot or trick worm in a Watermelon or Green Pumpkin color. Look for fish to be staging more on secondary points around rock and docks with black floats, with fish spawning adjacent to these areas. In the clearer water look for beds next to rock, dock post, laydown or stump. Be sure to look as deep as possible, as the biggest fish will spawn deeper. Deeper beds will be easier to catch, however, can be more difficult to see.
April is the month when the fish move into spawning areas across the lake, a great time to pick up your favorite shallow water lure and just go fishing. Bass will be in the backs of creeks and pockets holding on the last deep water areas around rocks and docks and spawning around shallow cover. In the river and in the backs of creeks and coves, where resident fish are more prevalent, fish could be as shallow as a couple feet in areas that hold heat. Be sure to focus on areas with bait, hard bottom areas, and North shore and West banks that receive the most sunlight. On the Lower end of the lake where Bass are set up slightly deeper, focus on secondary points adjacent to spawning coves toward the beginning of the month and spawning more heavily by the middle of the month.
A great way to get out, enjoy the outdoors, and do a little fishing is to book a trip with one of the Lake Murray area guides. I am a certified Fisheries Biologist, Coast Guard Approved, full-time Largemouth Bass guide, have fished full-time and competitively for the past 13 years across the country on both the BASS and FLW trails, and have a lifetime of fishing experience. I offer a learning experience on multiple techniques of your choice, tournament preparation, and/or electronics education. I would love to share my knowledge with you on the water and enjoy a day of fishing.
-Michael Murphy, USCG Approved, Merchant Mariner Licensed
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