Where Do Bass Go in the Winter?

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Updated: March 2, 2023
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Animals naturally prepare for the changing seasons. In some parts of the world, the winter months bring cold temperatures and harsh weather. Some animals prepare with thicker coats, while others, like bears, hibernate for months. Some bugs also fall into a deep state of sleep, while worker wasps and bees die as the queen is protected.

But what happens to the animals living underneath the surface of the water? Where does bass go in the winter? How do they survive the temperature changes and freezing lakes? Keep reading to discover how!

Where Do Bass Live?

Before we can dive into where bass lives, let’s discuss some facts about this type of fish. Bass is a name for many types of fish, living both in salt and fresh water. In North America, they are fished for sport. The most common bass in North America are largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. While they are common in North America, you can find other species in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

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Bass are popular fishes for anglers. They are frequently stocked in natural and artificial lakes, streams, and ponds in the United States.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass from Lake
Largemouth bass can weigh more than 15 pounds.

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The largemouth bass is a species of black bass fished worldwide. However, this fish is only native to southeastern Canada, northern Mexico, and the eastern and central United States. Each region has a different nickname for this fish. In Florida, it’s called the Florida largemouth bass. It’s also the state’s official freshwater fish. The largemouth bass is a green and grey fish with unique black spotted markings along each flank. This fish is especially known for its large lower lip which extends past the rear margin of the socket. Largemouth bass can weigh more than 15 pounds.

Smallmouth Bass

What Do Bass Eat?
The smallmouth bass can reach a maximum length of about 27 inches


Smallmouth bass is freshwater fishes with a similar appearance to largemouth bass, except for their sizes. They are very powerful swimmers with their lean and muscular bodies. These fish have unique colorations depending on the type and region. However, the main colors of their bodies are golden olive and dark brown. The biggest difference between smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is that the smallmouth bass lives in clearer waters including ponds and rivers.

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass, also known as spots are freshwater fish that grow up to 11 pounds. They are native to some parts of the United States including the Mississippi River basin and Gulf states. While they are not native to southern Africa, they were introduced and are now an invasive species. Spotted bass can live for about seven years and thrive in cool or warm mountain streams. Spotted bass and largemouth bass are often confused with one another, but spotted bass has smaller mouths. These fish are carnivorous, and they eat frogs, small fish, worms, and crustaceans.

Full frame of silver / blue striped bass in water, appears to be an aquarium. very blue background.
Bass swims deep into warmer waters during winter months.


Where Do Bass Go During the Winter?

Bass, unlike other animals, don’t hibernate in the winter. Instead, they find protection away from falling temperatures. When the outside temperature lowers to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the bass swims deep. They stay in deep waters during winter, occasionally feeding. Bass lose their appetite the colder it is outside. Sometimes these fish hang around the docks, in the deepest part. They use the pilings for warmth and survival as it hides from predators. Bass during winter have the same diet, but they eat less of it. Their diet consists of smaller fish like shad and minnows. Depending on the lake, they also eat crawfish and insects, however, most insects die during winter.

Tips and Tricks to Catch Big Bass in the Winter

Winter bass fishing is harder, but it’s not impossible. While this large freshwater fish swims and survive in deep waters, they still move and eat. As long as you have the right bait, and gear, and are at the right location, you have a chance of catching an impressive big bass in the winter!

Here are some tips and tricks to follow if you want to catch a big bass in the winter:

  • Use lightweight bait, less than three and a half inches. The larger baits are too much for bass since their digestive systems slow down.
  • Head out right before sunrise if you want to catch smallmouth bass since they are most active at this time.
  • For other types of bass, fish between 2 pm and sunset since the water is at its warmest and bass are more active.
  • Fish where there is enough cover including grassy deep spots and decks. Remember, bass hide during winter from predators.
  • Look for their food sources. Bass consume baitfish. If you know where you can find a lot of baitfish in the water, start there. Bass look and move toward food sources.

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Trophy Largemouth Bass
Largemouth bass can thrive in a wide range of temperatures and water conditions.
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About the Author

I have been a professional content writer for 6 years now, with a large focus on nature, gardening, food, and animals. I graduated from college with an A.A, but I am still pursuing a Bachelors of Marketing degree. When I am not writing, you can find me in front of my TV with a blanket, snacks, and my fur babies.

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  1. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Available here: https://www.fws.gov/species/largemouth-bass-micropterus-salmoides