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Best 5 Ways For Catching Bass Near Dams

Best 5 Ways For Catching Bass While Dam Fishing

Catching Bass While Dam Fishing Can Be A Challenge But Produces Large Fish

One of the most overlooked places to go bass fishing is a dam. Most anglers know that bass doesn't like current. Around a dam their is moving water everywhere. How on earth could a largemouth bass live in an area like this? The truth is that there are tons of baitfish around dams. If you find the baitfish you will always find the bass. Depending on which side of the dam you are fishing there are several advantages to finding bass in these areas. Many dams provide fish with a cover they do not find in other parts of the lake like rocks, trees and other stone debris on the bottom. Not only do they provide protection for the bass but they hold crayfish and baitfish. One reason baitfish flock to the dams is because of the amount of food they find in the area. They often feed on a diet of algae that grows on the rocks. Often times you will find more species than just largemouth bass like stripers and large catfish.

Fishing Down Stream Of Dam

Plenty Of Areas To Fish Infront Of Dams (Photo Credit: Commonwealth Journal)

If you are not currently fishing around your local dams, you need to incorporate it into your fishing spots. I am confident you will find success with several different types of bait. Let us look at our top five bass baits for fishing dams. By throwing these baits you will be able to cover the dam in its entirety and fish any kind of water it throws at you.

Dam Fishing Tip 1: Large Swimbaits

Swimbaits For Big Bass

Fishing With Large Swimbaits Will Target Large Bass

Large swimbaits are a lure I love throwing around dams. Often times the currents require a heavy lure to pull through the water. The fish in these parts of the lake come to feed on live shad and minnows found throughout the area. Match your swimbaits with the live bait in the area and catch your next monster bass. Be ready for big hits because often around dams you will find striper that will take your lure for a ride. 

Dam Fishing Tip 2: Crankbaits

Bass On Crankbaits

Crankbaits are an essential lure for many bass anglers. They are easy to throw, can cover a lot of ground, and the fish love them. The good thing about crankbaits is they will dive to a specific depth. In general, a 4-8 foot diver is a perfect depth for many dams. At the bottom of most dams, there will be a ton of rocks in the water and out. Finding these shallow water rocks is paramount for finding and catching fish with crankbaits. Every anglers goal when fishing with crankbaits is to spark a reaction strike from bass in and around the rocks. Know what baitfish are present in the area and match the color of your crankbaits to the species of bait.

Dam Fishing Tip 3: Topwater

Topwater Bass Fishing Popper

Fishing Topwater For Bass (Photo Credit: Mega Bass)

Topwater fishing usually works best early morning or late evenings during the feed times. Often during these times, you will see fish exploding on top of the water. You should start out throwing a popper or topwater bait like a whopper plopper. I have had great success using these in and around dams. Try to throw your topwater the entire length of the dam banks and across the dam face. Be cautious for areas that could snag you, but also target these areas because they provide the proper cover for bass. Sunken trees, rock faces, walls, or ledges could all be areas that bass will sit waiting for a treat overhead. The more you can make your topwater bait look like baitfish on the top of the water the better your chances will be for a hookup.

Dam Fishing Tip 4: Soft Plastic And Jig Head

Craw Lures For Bass Fishing

Fishing Plastic Craws At The Base Of Dams (Photo Credit: Star Tribune)

Along the bottom of most dams, there is a transition point where the dam currents meet the lake below. At this point, many predator fish like bass, striper and smallmouth bass will sit and wait for baitfish riding the current. To fish this transition point it is best to use a jig head and your favorite plastic. I personally like using a craw that I will cast across this area and work it back very slowly enticing anything around. When you are working a slow retrieval, you want to feel every rock or bottom feature along the way. The reason for the craw and not a worm or lizard is because of all the rocks in this area makes the perfect place for crawfish to live. In case you are wondering what is the best soft plastic craw, we have covered it in a previous blog.

Dam Fishing Tip 5: Live Bait

Shad for bass fishing

Bass Fishing With Shad Around Dams

Because there is an abundance of live bait around dams it would be in your best interest to throw a net on them and catch what the fish are eating. Once you have filled a bucket with live bait floating them down the current is what you will want to achieve. Use a very simple bottom rig, half ounce weight with a swivel attached to a leader and hook. This set up will allow for your rig to bounce off the bottom with the current. This will prevent snags and should allow your minnow to float freely in the current. This is an excellent way for getting your bait in front of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and stripers.

We hope you will start fishing your local dams. There is plenty of bass around the dams just waiting to be caught. If you have any questions please email us at or feel free to leave a comment below. We want to see the bass you have caught around your local dams. Send us your bass pictures to be featured on all of our social media pages. Take our tips and try your luck at the next monster bass while dam fishing.

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Don Byerly - June 10, 2023

I have a question similar to Tony Carley. Is damn fishing on the lake side of a dam good during draw down?

Newton - June 10, 2023

It good

TONY CARLEY - April 13, 2019

Hi! What if all the gates of the dam are open? Good or bad?

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