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Pre Spawn & Spawn

Hi all. I simply cannot wait to get out this spring. So many if you all are pros and/or have tons of experience so I have to ask. I only come in to fish a few times per year, maybe 3-5 trips. I usually do May through July with pretty fair luck on great eater fish. Wondered how early you have luck on the big fish in April trolling stickbaits?
I have been once towards the end of April and caught a couple big ones but they were already spawned out in 45 degree water. I read they start around 40 degrees? I’d like to try earlier even if I release them pre-spawn. I also assume they are generally shallower then and over humps vs. out in the flats? I know the jig fisherman don’t like the trolling pressure so I would stay away and be respectful of that. I primarily fish out of Catawba.

Thanks very much to you all as I have really learned a lot from this site. I don’t want to steal spots or fish in the pack but the general speeds and colors sure are helpful 🙂
Cheers to a safe and fun 2023!

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