Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval  Watch |  Listen

May is the Best Month for WV Bass Fishing


Fishing in West Virginia is about to enter its best phase of the season.    The month of May is one of the most productive for fishing, especially if you’re looking for bass.  

During the weeks ahead, the annual spawn will be in full force.   Since not ever bass spawns at the same time, the process in the coming weeks will have fish in three of the various stages–placing them throughout the waterway.    Some will remain in pre-spawn, others will move up into the shallows to lay there eggs, and even more will be finished with the spawning and off into preparation for a summertime pattern.

"It’s time to go right now," said Kevin Yokum, fisheries biologist for the West Virginia DNR. "Good fishing really kicks into play about two weeks before the first week of May–but it really picks up as we get into the month."

Yokum says until this past week the temperature had really played a lot of havoc with the fishing.   Inconsistent temperatures have yet to allow fish to get into any stable pattern.    Yokum says as temperatures stabilized, that has changed and fish will be on their more predictable patterns and spots.

"The entire month of May, you can catch fish anywhere throughout the lake," said Yokum. "That will last right up into the first week of June."

Many anglers pursuing bass in the spawn will implore site fishing.   Fish are easy to see, especially with polarized glasses.  However, seeing them–and getting them to bite are two entirely different things.

"Stealth is the key," said Yokum. "Fish on the bed will stay there, even if they are spooked, if they’ve started the nesting process.  Getting them to bite when they know something is out of place is a real tricky scenario."

Yokum says when site fishing, you need to understand what you’re doing.    At most times of the year, you’re appealing to a fish’s hunger. Fishing during the spawn requires a different approach.

"Most of the fishermen having success during the spawn are indeed enticing a fish to bite not because it’s hungry, but because it’s in a defensive mode," commented Yokum. "Something that threatens that nest or the fry or egg, bass will typically pick it up and move it off the nest.  They don’t necessarily want to eat it, they just want to move it out of that protective zone."

The quality fishing can be found in any of the state’s impoundments from highland reservoirs like Sutton and Summersville Lakes, to the lowland lakes like Stonewall Jackson and Burnsville.    Anglers would also be wise to concentrate on the shallow flats of some of the state’s flood control impoundments like Upper Mud River Reservoir in Lincoln County, Woodrum, O’Brien, and Elk Fork in Jackson County, and North Bend Lake in Ritchie County


More Outdoors

Ready for free fishing weekend in West Virginia
The DNR hopes waiving license requirements for two days will encourage people to try fishing for the first time or at least try it again if they haven't been in a while. You could also give your kids a first fishing experience as part of the event.
June 7, 2023 - 10:06 am
W.Va. anglers qualify to advance in BASS event
For a fourth year in a row a West Virginian wins either the boater or non-boater top spot at the organization's regional championship event
June 6, 2023 - 1:58 pm
DNR Police ready for start of boating weekend
Memorial Day weekend typically kicks off the pleasure boating season, officers will be looking for break downs and violations on the waters of the Mountain State.
May 25, 2023 - 2:29 pm
Hunting is a family affair for the Shell family in Wyoming County
Buford and Lena Shell and their 11 year old son Levi all tag out during the spring gobbler season, for the second time in three years.
May 22, 2023 - 2:34 pm

Your Comments