Jump to content
Keiran Beam

Cold Shallow Bass

Recommended Posts

Up here in New Hampshire during the winter the water freezes and us northerners go ice fishing. When I do go out %99 I chase after bass. I find some pieces of structure that go from shallow to deeper water. I would expect the bass to be hanging out in the deeper water where its warmer. When I do catch a bass I catch it in  shallow water. I can't figure out why these bass are so shallow. Why are they shallow? What are they feeding on?

 

By the way the lakes I fish are relatively small between the 100 acres to 1,000 acres range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use to ice fish ponds and experienced the same thing. Maybe its a visibility thing .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When the sun comes out, it will warm the upper layer of water which can draw the bass up shallower.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Me and Paul were talking about this last night. The deeper water under ice may not receive light. Light = photosynthesis for organisms that produce oxygen. So it pretty much boils down to bad oxygen levels in the deeper water.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing people do not seem to consider is water is most dense at 4 degrees Celsius. So if there is ice on top, there will be water at this temp on bottom. The water that is a bit warmer is going to be off the bottom while ice floats. Water freezes in an odd manner leaving empty space between molecules causing its solid form to be less dense than the liquid. Hence, ice floating instead of sinking. At 4 degrees Celsius, however, the molecules are trying to line up to prepare for solidification so they are at there closest proximity; hence, most dense.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Temp, resident fish, oxygen, warmth holding cover, bait/forage... All of these attract fish to be shallow in winter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wait. There's bass in New Hampshire?

Was that a joke? There's bass in all 48 continental states.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Winter

 

Each cold day causes EVERYTHING to get active in late sunlit afternoon on the bank with the sun still shining on it.  Works for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How deep are the lakes where you are fishing?

 

From the results I have had fishing in the winter I suspect that the bass spend much of their time in that warmest/most dense 39.4 degree water but they will make forays into shallower sunlit water when looking for food. That sunlight can get insect hatches going, crayfish may stick their heads out of their burrows, etc. even in the dead of winter.

 

The reason I ask how deep is that I have also read that bass probably will not move more than 10 feet vertically in the water column in one day unless forced to. Swim bladder issue, it takes them time to adjust and become neutrally buoyant again when they make a dramatic vertical move. In the lake I winter fish at I suspect they spend their time 20 - 25 feet down and will move in water 12 - 18 feet deep on feeding forays. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen them do both. Sometimes they'll hide out in deeper cover, sometimes they'll bunch up in the shallows when it's cold. It's funny how many people down south believe that the fish hibernate in the winter; they don't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was that a joke? There's bass in all 48 continental states.

Um, yeah. I live here. Thanks for that fun fact, though.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Up here in New Hampshire during the winter the water freezes and us northerners go ice fishing. When I do go out %99 I chase after bass. I find some pieces of structure that go from shallow to deeper water. I would expect the bass to be hanging out in the deeper water where its warmer. When I do catch a bass I catch it in  shallow water. I can't figure out why these bass are so shallow. Why are they shallow? What are they feeding on?

 

By the way the lakes I fish are relatively small between the 100 acres to 1,000 acres range.

From the uw video I've seen, it's pretty apparent that bass are often active under the ice. And it's pretty obvious that they feed under the ice. Outside of the spawn, activity and feeding tend to be lock-step. In northern natural lakes bass use deep weed edges. But in ponds they've been known to cruise shallow weedlines looking for all the world like hunting bass anytime of year, only slowed down.

 

Every lake is its own. Your fish could be up feeding -maybe bc the weeds are still alive up there and prey is still there. Or the bass could have been pushed out of the depths by oxygen deficits below.

 

How deep are the lakes where you are fishing?

 

From the results I have had fishing in the winter I suspect that the bass spend much of their time in that warmest/most dense 39.4 degree water but they will make forays into shallower sunlit water when looking for food. That sunlight can get insect hatches going, crayfish may stick their heads out of their burrows, etc. even in the dead of winter.

 

The reason I ask how deep is that I have also read that bass probably will not move more than 10 feet vertically in the water column in one day unless forced to. Swim bladder issue, it takes them time to adjust and become neutrally buoyant again when they make a dramatic vertical move. In the lake I winter fish at I suspect they spend their time 20 - 25 feet down and will move in water 12 - 18 feet deep on feeding forays. 

How far they can move vertically in how much time is an open question. My guess is that air bladder issues would be heightened in the winter. Is it possible that you are finding two separate groups of bass?.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How far they can move vertically in how much time is an open question. My guess is that air bladder issues would be heightened in the winter. Is it possible that you are finding two separate groups of bass?.

 

It is possible that there are separate groups of bass. We constantly mark fish in the deepest basin in this lake during the winter. They can be maddeningly difficult to catch down there but we do get them with blade baits occasionally. We mark virtually no fish on those 15 foot deep flats adjacent to the creek channel but that is the area you want to drag a football jig in the winter. We are catching the largest bass of the season on those deep flats.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Suspended fish are easy to mark. Those close to bottom are not. You probably know this, but just an FYI for other readers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Um, yeah. I live here. Thanks for that fun fact, though.

Oh, alright! Sorry, no offense meant!
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen them do both. Sometimes they'll hide out in deeper cover, sometimes they'll bunch up in the shallows when it's cold. It's funny how many people down south believe that the fish hibernate in the winter; they don't.

I don't think that's a correct presumption about southerners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  Good to see us comparing cold water logic.  I hate cold outsides. Old body sucks at that.  

I have a couple of spots where LOADS of fish all sizes suspend close together. No bites  unless I send down a free swimming shiner. Still no gaurentee. It is like they are all resting & not feeding. Every day same sun angles.  30' by 150' area. Always make a toss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most likely you're catching those shallow bass for the simple reason that they're more aggressive. Often during the cold weather months bass will move shallow for one reason, to eat. So if you find one shallow, he's looking for a meal and easier to catch than those deeper water fish that are in a neutral or negative feeding mood. 

 

The shallow water also has more of you small invertebrates that bass in very cold water feed on a lot of the time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that's a correct presumption about southerners.

 

I'm talking more about people who don't fish. My family and friends (although my friends love to fish) see me w/ my tackle and shake their heads. "Why are you fishing? The fish are all hibernating."

Bunch of baloney.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing reels

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×