Daffodils Don’t Lie

Mike Cork

When it comes to bass fishing, Daffodils do not lie. Year in and year out, when the daffodils bloom, the hefty bass are on the hunt. In my part of the country, the daffodils start blooming in late February to early March. This is about the time that a buzz starts in the angler world that large bass are being caught on area lakes. While Mother Nature has played tricks on foliage before and will likely do it again, the blooming of certain plants are key indicators of water temperatures and hours of daylight, both of which are essential to the migration of bass to the flats and shallows of your favorite lake.

Before bass anglers can get too excited about the yellow or white flowers along walkways, keep in mind that this is not an indicator of spawning bass. Daffodils are the first plants to bloom in my area; as a hardy plant, they can withstand a few cold nights and still survive. However, bass eggs and fry cannot. The blooming daffodils only suggest that the water temperatures are warming, and in turn, triggering a hunger in bass. To put this in water temperature terms, if the daffodils are blooming, the water temperatures are normally stable in the mid-fifties.

I have noticed over my years of bass fishing that the first full moon that is at least two weeks after I’ve seen the first blooming daffodil will be the first wave of spawning bass. This first wave tends to have the bulk of the larger bass in it. If there is a full moon at the same time I see daffodils starting to bloom, the water is still a little cold for migration activity. So the next full moon cycle will be the best; however, in about two weeks, depending on weather patterns, a small migration will start. The key here is the water temperature hitting the upper fifties, which usually happens about two weeks after the first daffodil bloom. Time this upper fifties water temperature with a full moon and it is a magical time to be a bass fisherman.

Just as Mother Nature will play tricks on the foliage, she does the same to bass; this is why there are multiple waves of spawning bass. Spawning waves usually coincide with the new and full moon phases; while not necessary, the moon does seem to draw significant numbers. Bass will spawn in several waves; this ensures a successful reproductive season. If all the bass spawned at the same time and there was a catastrophic weather event, it could kill an entire year class. Multiple waves of spawning prevent this from happening.

Blooming daffodils are going to happen during different months, depending on your geographical location. Obviously, the further north the later the effects of spring come. Learn to pay attention to the foliage, and you’ll be able to guess the water temperature and the location of your area bass before you get to the water. Another foliage that has helped me out over the years is the Dogwood. When the Dogwoods are in full bloom, the water temperatures are in the low to mid sixties; the length of daylight is also such that most bass spawning activity is over. You’ll still find a few bass finishing up, but the majority of them are already into post spawn patterns. Here in the south, when the Dogwoods bloom, it’s time to break out the crappie rods. Bass will be stubborn, and crappie will be spawning and easy to catch.

This spring watch your foliage, it will help you in future years to predict the bass behavior in your area. Plant life reacts to heat and length of daylight, the same things that bass use to guide their lives by.

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Mike Cork
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