Best Tips for Muddy Water Bass Fishing

Video fishing in muddy water

Muddy water bass fishing can be a real struggle, and it was for me for sometime. It seems the past few years has seen prolonged flooding that has lasts longer than usual. It forced me to learn how to find and catch them in these conditions. Once I figured it out, I actually started preferring it. To me, one of the best times to go fishing is when the water is muddy. I don’t have to be as stealthy and can have more fun. With these muddy water bass fishing tips, you can too!

Tips for Finding Bass in Muddy Water

Where to Start Looking for Bass

In muddy water, and generally all low visibility conditions, bass hold tight cover. This gives them a certain sense of security. Anytime the water is muddy look for hard cover. Things like stumps, trees, logs, boat dock pilings, rocks and retaining walls are always the first places to find bass in muddy water conditions. Water temperature within the specific time of year will determine the best spots to catch bass in muddy water.

Finding Bass in Cold Water Months

This tends to happen more in late winter through early summer, than other times of the year. Whenever the precipitation is warmer than the water temperature, look for shallow muddy areas that are several degrees warmer than the rest of the body of water. This will attract baitfish and bass looking to warm up from the cold water. The best spots will have with plenty of hard cover and access to sunlight. As the sun warms the cover, it helps warm the water, which draw in the fish.

Rip rap, rocks and timber around retaining walls, and flooded trees are the best places to start in shallow cold muddy water. However, if the precipitation is the same temperature or colder than the water, look for hard cover in mid-deep water. Flooded timber, rock piles, and ledges are the best spots. The bass will sit directly against these, as if leaning on them.

Finding Bass in Warm Water Months

Though heavy rains and flooding do not usually occur in mid to late summer, sometimes they do. Whenever it happens, look for places that are a few degrees cooler than the rest of the lake or river near where the fish have been. Baitfish will move into these cooler areas to get a break from the heat and to feed in the nutrient rich runoff that has dirtied the water. There are two primary places to target in muddy water during warm water periods.

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The reason for two, is that the fish are generally in two different places this time of year. Half of the fish spend summer shallow in and the other spend it deep. The majority of shallow fish spend the summer in vegetation. When the water gets muddy they tend to flock to nearby hard cover. Stumps, trees rocks or boat docks in and around the places that they have been are the best spots to find bass. For the deeper bass, look for places where the water goes abruptly from deep to shallow. They will tend to come up to the cooler water and hold to cover in these places and feed on baitfish in these areas.

Tips for Catching Bass in Muddy Water

Understanding How Bass “See” in Dirty Water Conditions

Now that we know where to find them we can move on to the next question, what is the best way to catch bass in muddy water? Bass are primarily sight feeders. This means that they want to see what they are eating. Since visibility is low, the fish are not going to be able to see the lure until it gets right up on it. They will mainly be feeding from feel. By using their lateral line to detect disturbances in the water. This allows them to hone in on forage that they cannot see. Due to the lack of sight, it is important to fish more slowly and methodically. Click here for more on lateral line research.

Building a Fishing Pattern

Cast the bait to specific pieces of cover multiple times and from multiple angles. You will need to get the lure as close to the fish as possible. Almost hitting them in the head with it. Be patient and make as many casts as necessary to get the lure to pass on every side of each piece of hard cover that you come across. By doing this, you will begin to pickup on the exact types of cover they are on and where they are positioned on it. You will start to see a pattern. For example: every isolated stick has a bass on it, they are at the trunk of every laydown, or ton the outside of the last post on every dock. Once a pattern has been developed, fishing becomes easier and time won’t be wasted on nonproductive cover.

Choosing the Right Color Bait

There seems to be a difference here among most. However, I think that difference is misplaced. Some prefer dark colors, and others super bright bold colors. Both have there place. The bright bold colors will fade into the water faster than dark colors. However, they provide more of a presence up close. So on lures with a ton of action use bright colors. The strong action will draw the fish close and the bright bold presence will seal the deal. Use darker colors on baits without a ton action. Baits that do not produce a ton of action need to be darker in color to aid in the fish finding them.

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The Best Baits for Muddy Water Bass Fishing

It is important to use baits with a lot of vibration and that can be fished in cover. In no particular order, these are the best when the water is dirty.

1. Spinnerbait

Muddy water bass fishing best lures- spinnerbaits

Bold chartreuse and/or white colored skirts work great. Paddle tail swimbaits and double tail grubs make great trailer options in dirty water. They qill give the bait more rise allowing it be fished slower. The best three spinnerbaits for muddy water are:

  • -3/4oz-1oz single colorado for really muddy water. Going with a heavier bait will help be slow down the retrieve speed while reducing the rate the spinnerbait rises in the water column.
  • -3/4oz colorado/indiana if there is more than 6”-8” of visibility. I like to use a red or orange colroado blade with an over-sized indiana blade.
  • -1/2oz double willow if there is more than 6”-8” of visibility and around bass that primarily feeding on shad or herring. Bold chartreuse and/or white painted blades do a great job in dirty water.

2. Buzzbait

Muddy water bass fishing best lures- buzzbaits

Buzzbaits work great in dirty water conditions. However, it is very important to fish a buzzbait as slow as possible in muddy conditions. Double bladed buzzbaits shine due to their ability to be retrieved at a slower rate and stay up. If two blades is a little to much, add a soft plastic frog or swimbait to the buzzbait. This help it to rise quicker and be retrieved at a slower speed. It also helps add more vibration and increases the presence of the lure in the water. I prefer black or solid bold white for the skirt and trailer choices.

3. Chatterbait or Vibrating Jig

Muddy water bass fishing best lures-chatterbaits-vibrating jigs

Unless around bass that are only focused on shad, black/blue is the best color chatterbait for muddy water. If they are focused on shad, a bold chartreuse color with a bright bold white trailer works great.

4. Crankbait

Muddy water bass fishing best lures- crankbaits

It is extremely important to use a rattling or loud knocking type of crankbait in muddy water. Squarebills with thicker bodies and wider wobbles excel in shallow muddy water. The same applies in deep water. Fatter more rounded crankbaits with wider lips work the best in deeper muddy water. The best colors are chartreuse with a black or blue back for sunfish imitations and black with bright red or bright orange for craw patterns. If shad tends to be the primary forage, go with very bold whites. These bolder colors show up better for muddy water bass fishing.

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[Click Here to Shop 6.5mm Creedmoor Ammo]What we can do is provide a framework to understand what average conditions might look like, and whether those are reasonably viable for a shot from the average shooter to harvest a black bear in the fewest number of shots possible, i.e., ethically. Let’s dive right in. In the question of “Is the 6.5mm Creedmoor within the ideal range of suitable calibers for black bear hunting?” our answer is: Yes, the 6.5mm Creedmoor is A GOOD CHOICE for black bear hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.Let’s look at those assumptions a bit closer in the following table. Assumption Value Caliber 6.5mm Creedmoor Animal Species Black Bear Muzzle Energy 2300 foot-pounds Animal Weight 340 lbs Shot Distance 150 yardsWhat is the average muzzle energy for a 6.5mm Creedmoor? In this case, we have assumed the average muzzle energy for a 6.5mm Creedmoor round is approximately 2300 foot-pounds. What is the average weight of an adult male black bear? Here we have leaned conservative by taking the average weight of a male individual of the species, since females generally weigh less and require less stopping power. In this case, the average weight of an adult male black bear is approximately 340 lbs. [Click Here to Shop 6.5mm Creedmoor Ammo]What is the distance this species is typically hunted from? Distance, of course, plays an important role in the viability of a given caliber in black bear hunting. The kinetic energy of the projectile drops dramatically the further downrange it travels primarily due to energy lost in the form of heat generated by friction against the air itself. This phenonemon is known as drag or air resistance. Thus, a caliber that is effective from 50 yards may not have enough stopping power from 200 yards. With that said, we have assumed the average hunting distance for black bear to be approximately 150 yards. What about the other assumptions? We have three other primary assumptions being made here. First, the average bullet weight is encapsulated in the average muzzle energy for the 6.5mm Creedmoor. The second important assumption is ‘slightly-suboptimal’ to ‘optimal’ shot placement. That is to say, we assume the black bear being harvested is shot directly or nearly directly in the vitals (heart and/or lungs). The third assumption is that a projectile with appropriate terminal ballistics is being used, which for hunting usually means an expanding bullet.Various calibersA common thread you may encounter in online forums is anecdote after anecdote of large animals being brought down by small caliber bullets, or small animals surviving large caliber bullets. Of course those stories exist, and they are not disputed here. A 22LR cartridge can fell a bull elephant under the right conditions, and a newborn squirrel can survive a 50 BMG round under other specific conditions. Again, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether 6.5mm Creedmoor is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest black bear - and to this question, the response again is yes, the 6.5mm Creedmoor is A GOOD CHOICE for black bear hunting. [Click Here to Shop 6.5mm Creedmoor Ammo]This article does not serve as the final say, but simply as a starting point for beginner hunters, as well as a venue for further discussion. Please feel free to agree, disagree, and share stories from your own experience in the comments section below. Disclaimer: the information above is purely for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as permission to use a particular caliber, a statement of the legality or safety of using certain calibers, or legal advice in any way. You must read and understand your own local laws before hunting black bear to know whether your caliber of choice is a legal option.Foundry Outdoors is your trusted home for buying archery, camping, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, and outdoor gear online.We offer cheap ammo and bulk ammo deals on the most popular ammo calibers. We have a variety of deals on Rifle Ammo, Handgun Ammo, Shotgun Ammo & Rimfire Ammo, as well as ammo for target practice, plinking, hunting, or shooting competitions. Our website lists special deals on 9mm Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 45-70 Ammo, 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, 300 Blackout Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 5.56 Ammo, Underwood Ammo, Buffalo Bore Ammo and more special deals on bulk ammo.We offer a 100% Authenticity Guarantee on all products sold on our website. Please email us if you have questions about any of our product listings. Leave a commentComments have to be approved before showing up Your Name * Your Email * Your Comment * Post Comment

5. Popping Frog

Muddy water bass fishing best lures- popping frogs

Popping frogs work great around heavy cover since they are weedless. The cupped mouth allows the frog to make a ton of sound and commotion on the surface. Hollow body frogs do not have anything that allows them to produce vibrations into the water column. So it is important to be noisy with the bait, yet still fish it slowly. Sight is going to play more of a factor since there is no vibration being made. Anytime visibility is less than 1’, black will be the best color choice for a frog.

6. Jig

Muddy water bass fishing best lures- jigs

Jigs are the best lure for muddy water when bass are lethargic and holding tight to cover. They work shallow or deep. The best jig trailer for muddy water is something with a lot of action to it. Craws and creature baits with appendages that move water work make the best jig trailers. These will help allow bass to find the lure in the dirty water. Any of black varieties of colors will work the best in muddy water.

7. Big Swimbait

Muddy water bass fishing best lures-swimbaits

Big swimbaits; whether glide baits, paddle tails, or hard body jointed swimbaits, are amazing for catching big bass in muddy water. These big bodied lures provide a presence in the water that is easily detectable to fish. I’ve found that whenever water clarity is low, I catch more bass on a swimbait than when in clear water. I think the low visibility made help hide the appearance of the bait’s size, whenever a bass gets close and helps entice smaller ones into striking. The bold white colors are absolutely the best for swimbaits in these conditions.

Stay Safe and Catch More Fish!

Remember whenever the water is muddy, it is usually high. That means logs, stumps and other obstacles under the surface will be harder to see. Drive slow, where a life preserver, and keep your motor’s kill-switch engaged. I hope these fishing tips help you to catch more bass in muddy water!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>