Rock bass feed more in the warm end of their operating temperature of between 60°F and 72°F/14°C to 21°C.


Rock bass enter the deeper waters when the summer heat brings the water above 72°F/22°C degrees and then again in late fall where they stay until spring. However, they are mostly dormant in the winter as the water temperature can get as cold as 36°F/2°C in the north and 45°F/7°C in the southern United States.

Once the temperature reaches 45°F/7°C, rock bass eat at a much slower rate and fishing for them becomes much harder. They also do not like direct sunlight, preferring the cover of shade that comes from docks, piers, bridges and other heavily shaded areas. In summer, though, they only go deep to escape the heat of the shallow water, chasing the 60°F to 72°F/15°C to 22°C, just below the thermocline.

Bait Casting

Bait casting is the best method for catching rock bass in deep water. Cast the line so that the bait is no more than six to 12 inches/30 cm above the lake floor. If you are casting a fair bit of distance, use a float or bobber to keep the bait stationary within a few feet of their location then slower and lightly jerk the line towards them.

Fly Fishing

Definitely a technique wasted on catching rock bass. Rock bass are not a good game fish, their meat is not good for table fare because of the parasites and taste. They are good for young children that are learning to fish and bait casting is the best technique for rock bass.

Bait or no Bait

The only way to go in summer is with a worm or leech. And due to the yuck factor that many people have, most young anglers prefer earth worms. In the winter, switch over to bait fish like fathead minnows and gizzard shad. Other baits like crayfish work very well, but are overkill for rock bass and likely to elicit a strike for a larger game fish like smallmouth bass.

Winter Fishing

As Bass are warm blooded, they are most active during late spring, summer and early autumn. In the winter months, their metabolism slows down to the point where they just hover above the bottom of the lake floor in a state of semi hibernation. However, they are not hibernating and are awake and willing to strike at prey that comes close. They are not over active and eat irregularly.

The winter months are not the best to to catch Rock Bass, but if you have never tried ice fishing in the north, it is an experience worth trying.

Non-Winter Fishing

Rock bass feed more in the warm end of their operating temperature of between 60°F and 72°F/14°C to 21°C. In the spring, rock bass move to shallow water because their eggs need warm water and light in order to hatch. Once spawning is over, they head back to deeper water where the temperature is around 60°F to 72°F/15°C to 22°C.

During this time of year, they lay in wait by rocks, sunken trees, by docks, boat wrecks and river and lake banks that offer good cover. They will strike at bait that comes close to their location but will only head out into open water once the sun sets. Just before sunset and several hours after is the prime time for catching rock bass, especially if there is a lot of water activity during the day from boats and recreational activity.