April 2023 at Lake Nockamixon was a strange month with many highs and several lows. During this month, I've caught my new personal best largemouth bass of 8.15 pounds on the lake! While the average charter has seen 2-4 bass caught, we broke our record for the most fish caught in my boat on Nockamixon in a single day; 31 fish. Average size of bass caught in April has been 3.75 pounds although we've caught many bass between 5-6 pounds, 4 fish between 6-7 pounds, 1 bass between 7-8 pounds, and 1 bass over 8 pounds! In this fishing report, I'm going to break down this past wild month of bass fishing on Pennsylvania's premier trophy bass fishery. The information from this Lake Nockamixon fishing report is my original findings from being on the water 5-6 days per week over the past month and reflect my own opinions and insight.
Water temperatures at Lake Nockamixon have been all over the place in April. Early in the month, temperatures started around 53 degrees but climbed all the way past 64 degrees after an intense heat wave cooked the lake. However, the weather conditions in the latter portion became wet, cold, and windy! As a result, water temperatures decreased to 54-58 degrees depending on what part of the lake you were on.
During the whole month, I have been catching bass in their prespawn seasonal pattern and haven't caught any spawning bass yet. During the beginning of the month, I was finding the majority of our fish in deep water in 12'-20' deep. Key spots and locations early in April have been ledges nearby main lake channel swings, bluff walls, and vertical structure. These prespawn largemouth bass were/are gorging themselves on big gizzard shad as they stock up for the upcoming spawn. See this picture of an 8" gizzard shad we found in a fish's throat placed among the variety of shad patterned lures by Awgul Fishing that we've been using to fool these big bass into biting lately!
April 2023 top producing shad imitation lures pictured top to bottom (Click to view more):
As water temperatures rose, some bass seemed to slowly transition shallower. When water temperatures peaked above 60 degrees, we caught bass in similar spots as mentioned above with the same baits but just in 8'-15' of water.
When cold front weather systems came through and decreased the water temperatures, bass would back off into deeper water again and act super sluggish. The only way we could get these fish to react during these tough conditions was by very SLOWLY dragging a 1/2 oz Compact Jig by Awgul Fishing. We would fish these jigs in key prespawn staging areas around the previous types of fishing spots mentioned before. Bites on the Compact Jig were very subtle and hard to detect because these bass were so sluggish when water temperatures decreased. In clearer water, we would use the Green Pumpkin Brown color and in stained water, we would use the Black and Blue color. We managed to catch 10 fish in a day on this technique during a tough bite in the middle of April.
Towards the end of the month, some other local anglers started reporting that they were finding bass bedding in shallow water 3'-5' deep. Despite these reports, I have only managed to catch smaller fish in those shallow spawning grounds. These smaller fish are male largemouth bass that move up before females to stake out bedding territory and to start building their beds. I'm sure some females have moved up shallow to bed and we caught just a couple of 3-4 pound bass up shallow, but I haven't managed to develop a consistent shallow water pattern for quality bedding bass yet.
However, we dialed in an excellent pattern for large quality female bass as they continued moving up to shallow water as temperatures stabilized before yet another cold weather system moved through towards the end of the month. On April 26th, we caught 31 fish throughout the entire day by targeting submerged vegetation lines in 4'-9' of water. We were SLOWLY working 1/2 oz Compact Jigs by Awgul Fishing and 5" Super Stick Worms by Awgul Fishing, both wacky rigged (In sparse vegetation) and Texas rigged (In thicker vegetation). Soft plastic color choice honestly didn't seem to matter as we consistently caught fish on every single color offered by Awgul Fishing.
In the middle of the month, we caught our first Tiger Musky of the year measuring 36" long caught on an Awgul Fishing Jolly Jerkbait. We've seen several musky and hooked a couple, but this was the only one landed so far this year. It's also interesting to note that we have caught many chain pickerel later in the month! During my 14 years of fishing here, I've only seen a few pickerel caught in my boat, but we caught about 10 massive pickerel this month alone!
At the time of writing this fishing report on 5/1/2023, water temperatures average 58-60 degrees. As I mentioned before, I'm sure there are some females currently up in 3'-5' of water spawning, but I have yet to consistently see or catch these fish up shallow. As temperatures finally warm and stabilize in the coming weeks, we can expect to see waves of big female bass push up shallow to bed and spawn. As we continue to fish over the next couple of months for these spawning bass, just remember that here in Pennsylvania it is illegal to sight fish for bass (To visually find bass and/or bass beds and make repeated casts into their beds to entice the fish to bite). Also, any bass we catch during closed season must be immediately released! Please be kind to our big female breeders and handle them gently and let them go quickly so they can pass on their big fish genes for future generations of bass to come!
If you have any other questions about fishing on Lake Nockamixon, don't hesitate to contact me at 267-730-3203. Of course, if you would like to learn hands-on techniques and strategies for fishing on Lake Nockamixon, I would love to have you join me for a guided bass fishing adventure! You can learn more about my full-time fishing guide service on my website at www.awgulfishing.com. Until then, tight lines and we'll see you out on the water!