Water temperature is one of the most important factors to rely on when it comes to locating and catching largemouth bass. As the water temperature changes throughout the year, so does the behavior and metabolism of the fish. Learning to identify how lakes change and how largemouths adapt to these changes can improve your success in any body of water.
Fishing for largemouth bass during the hot summer months is often frustrating because warm water temperatures can make it difficult to find and catch fish. However, seasonal transition periods are often excellent times to keep track of largemouth bass based on the water temperature. One such time is in early fall, when the air temperature begins to drop to a range of 70 ° F. In ponds and lakes, this initial cooling period is a precursor to the drop in rotation. Pre-turnover water temperatures instinctively signal to fish that winter is approaching and that feeding activity is generally increasing.
What is the fall rotation? It is a process that breaks the stratification, or stratification, of warm surface waters over cold or cold deep waters that occurs in lakes during the summer. During the summer, mixing only occurs in the upper layer of water. Most people who have been swimming in an agricultural pond during the summer have noticed this layering … your upper body feels nice and warm, but your feet are freezing. The camber change occurs when surface waters cool down, become denser than underlying layers, and sink, thus pushing underlying water layers to the surface. This mixing action occurs until all the water has the same temperature (isothermal) from the top to the bottom.
Turnover drop from a stratified lake
In most lakes and reservoirs, as the water mixes from the surface to the bottom, it is likely to become less clear and odorous due to gases trapped in the bottom mud. The dark and dead vegetation is another indication that the fall change has occurred.
The body temperature of a largemouth bass is the same as that of the water where it lives. As a result, your metabolism and body chemistry change as the temperature of the water changes. An abrupt drop or rise in temperature of 8 degrees or more can cause internal chemical imbalances in the fish. It is important to realize that when bass do experience temperature changes, they can become inactive until their bodies can reach equilibrium at a new temperature. Bass can take several days to recover from a drop in temperature, while they can recover from a rise in temperature in just a few hours. Therefore, cold fronts have a greater impact on fishing than warm fronts.
Largemouth bass will instinctively move to warmer water when the water temperature is below 76 ° F and to cooler water when it is above 86 ° F. A largemouth bass can detect changes in water temperature of less than half a degree using your sideline. Despite this, wolves will typically not seek out locations that offer optimal temperatures if all of their basic needs are met. Although they are more likely to move to forage or avoid life-threatening conditions, no single factor is dominant enough to force bass away from satisfactory conditions in an effort to achieve optimal conditions.
Colder water temperatures slow down a largemouth bass’ metabolism, causing it to limit movement and eat less. Although largemouth bass’ metabolism slows down in colder waters, this does not mean that they cannot swim fast or aggressively hit a passing lure. However, smaller prey, such as aquatic insects, typically offer less resistance to capture, require less energy to digest, and are often targeted by bass when the water cools to around 50 ° F. To for a seabass to digest a single meal. This strategy of consuming small prey largemouth bass allows them to capture less energy and digest food, allowing them to be more efficient in cold water.
At 39 ° F, which would occur mostly in northern latitudes where ice cover is possible, it is theorized that largemouth bass can only feed a couple of times a month during winter, with each meal taking 14-17 days to digest. . Therefore, locations that consistently produce notable catches in late fall or early winter are likely to be where large aggregations of largemouth bass can be found until they “migrate” to spawning grounds in the spring. However, only a few will be caught on a daily basis due to their slow metabolic processes and cold water feeding behavior.
Fish must use the energy from a single meal to meet various needs. Carnivorous fish, such as largemouth bass, have a different energy budget than herbivorous fish such as grass carp. Approximately 20% of the energy obtained from what largemouth bass eat is discarded as waste, 15% is used for activities or movement costs, 14% is applied for digestion, 7% is used for standard metabolic processes and the remaining energy is divided between growth and reproduction.
One thing to keep in mind when fishing in transition periods (drastic or seasonal changes in water temperature) is that largemouth bass are adapting to changes in the weather. Consequently, fishermen must also adapt their fishing patterns and techniques if they expect to consistently find and catch largemouth bass.
It is key to pay special attention to aquatic vegetation during the transition from fall to winter in the lakes. Observing the state of vegetation, whether it is dense or sparse, green or brown, or deep or shallow, is helpful in locating and catching largemouth bass. For example, aquatic plants become scarce in shallow water, causing largemouth bass to seek vegetation in deeper water at sheltered landings and in inland curves near large plains. As winter approaches, all the vegetation in the shallow part of the lake has started to turn brown and die. Largemouth bass occasionally cross these areas on warm sunny days, but more often they are forced to cling to steeper slopes between rocks or stumps.
Another important factor to consider is the direction of the wind and the time of day. During the pre-renewal period, when largemouth bass tend to shoal and feed heavily on bait, anglers often target windy shoals because bait tends to concentrate in these areas. However, on cold days in late fall or early winter, this may not be the best strategy. When there is a small “picket” in the water, light and therefore heat do not penetrate the water surface to a considerable depth. As a result, areas affected by the wind may become less attractive to largemouth bass. In areas that are as flat as glass on cold days, light, and subsequently heat, can stimulate dormant fish to feed more easily. Largemouth bass are usually most active during the middle or hottest part of the day in fall and winter. As a result, you can have success fishing for largemouth bass on great plains or in shallow coves adjacent to deeper water during the warmer part of most fall days or during sudden warm periods.
As mentioned above, water temperature directly affects largemouth bass’ body functions and behavior in many ways. When the water temperature is actively changing, the bass will adapt accordingly. Therefore, for consistent fishing success, it is vital that anglers understand how and why seabass behave at different temperatures. It is also very important to know, not only the water temperature at the time of fishing, but also the temperature trend in the days prior to your trip. Doing your homework on the water temperature definitely increases your fishing success.