Tracking studies have verified that river largemouths make major spring migrations from wintering areas to shallow backwaters. Though miles may separate these habitat zones, fish unerringly arrive once ice has departed.
As lakes warm in the spring, largemouth bass move into shallow cover in coves, canals, and harbors. They seek warming water offered by these spots that also provide plentiful baitfish.
During summer, bass hold in woody snags at the edge of islands and side channels of larger rivers, where they feed on shad that swim by in the current.
Docks and boat houses are important cover for bass, particularly when shoreline development has depleted natural cover. High-percentage spots depend on water depth and cover options.
After the spawn, big bass quickly move to offshore structure, where they hold along humps, ledges, or deep underwater points. They're ready to feed, so whet their appetite with a big deep-diving crankbait.
River currents prevent these waters from freezing when flatwater impoundments are ice-covered. With careful presentations, river largemouth can be caught.
When water temperatures tumble below the low-40F range, bass often move from mid-depth flats to more vertical structures. Fast-breaking edges allow bass to change depth easily, without traveling long distances.
One of the hottest tactics on the pro bass trail is working deep structure with jigworms, sometimes called shaky-head worming.
Fall summons river bass to a major feast before winter sets in. Fish feel the urge to feed heavily, storing energy for the long cold period when activity is minimal.