Spotted bass bait include crawfish, minnows, and baitfish

use lures that replicates the action or vibrations of a wounded bait fish

Spotted Bass are likely to be found in groups, which provides the opportunity to catch more than one in a given place. River fishing techniques are pretty much the same as those used for Smallmouth.


The end of spring, early summer and early fall offer the best river fishing. High summer can be quite good as well, but the Spotted Bass go deep, which means using different techniques.


Spotted Bass fishing is exciting as they enjoy moderately fast moving water. Schools will frequently corner schools of smaller fish against the various obstructions for a feast. A small topwater spoon or crankbait thrown among the leaping minnows works well to catch Spots. This is why using a fish finder to locate schools of bait fish works well.

Where to find them

Look for turns in rivers and streams where deep underwater ledges produce a slick calm on the water’s surface. Fish the calm depths with small orange, brown or dull yellow jigs with a night crawler or crawfish at the lure’s tip. Pork rinds and leeches can also be effective.

How to catch Spotted Bass

At the mouths of streams or at the edges of large channels, use light spinning tackle and 6lb test line while slowly back-trolling with a jig-and-shiner arrangement or trolling a small crankbait upstream.


In smaller streams and rivers, Spotted Bass are found around obvious rocks, under hanging rocks and ledges and in shallow pools. In small streams, try fishing with a fly rod and a weighted Muddler Minnow or small streamer or buck tail.


Where a fast current changes into a smoother grade near the river bottom, cast a spoon directly upstream and allow the spoon to settle to the bottom. The fast waters smooth the rocks that would normally pose a snagging risk. Spotted Bass like to rest on the smooth river beds, ready to strike.


Fish fast, deep runs through rock ledges with the same consistent manner. Cast directly upstream with a small spoon, permitting the lure to settle to the river floor.

  • Use a slow retrieve when fishing spinning lures, let the lures hang in the fast flowing waters around protruding rocks and ledges.


Live crawfish, minnows, and baitfish are effective when fished at the bottom and below the first riffles of the deepest pools. For this type of small-stream fishing, use light spinning tackle, a number 6 hook, and a small split shot. In these conditions you’ll often catch both trout and Smallmouth Bass.