The bass are actively moving from deep to shallower water and back, a few times each day to feed.
Prespawn anglers should key-in on areas which provide structure running from 40 to 50 feet of water into shallow areas of 15 feet or less that offer the bass a marked migratory route from the depths into shallow spawning areas. Look for areas that have trees, pilings, stumps, rock piles, or other debris running shallow to deep. With our large number of western man-made impoundments, fence lines and old roads—flooded during the filling of the reservoirs—also make for ideal prespawn migratory routes.
Another key is to become familiar with the forage foods in the lake. Even though you know that the lake may have a good supply of shad or crawfish, try to find out the approximate size and coloration of the bait so that you can match these offerings as closely as possible in your lure selection. Some of the California lakes that stock trout heavily will experience a good bite on giant trout lures during prespawn months, as the larger females try to bulk up for the spawn.
Various baits will catch fish during prespawn months, but without a doubt, the deadly duo tends to be worms and jigs. Early prespawn bass are hungry and are primarily in a feeding mode. As the prespawn progresses into the spawn and postspawn periods, bass will tend to hit more out of a reactionary and aggressive stance. Your overall best bet for prespawners is to appeal to their "feeding mode" with slower-moving lures such as bottom-crawling worms and jigs. Remember, the water is still cold and all that is in it is still moving at a slower pace. Slow your retrieve down!
A final thought about fishing this time of year is that you are catching fish, which soon will be providing the stocking for the future fishery in the lake. So try to keep that in mind as you handle the fish, and hopefully carefully release them so they can go on to the next stage of their life cycle, the spawn.