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Jim Bridger

Question: Surface water temp for determining seasonal pattern

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When using water temperature to determine current seasonal behavior, is that surface water temp or temp down where the fish are?

 

If the temp I need to know is down where they are, how do we get that?

 

thank you for all the help!

 

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I don't use temperature for much of anything ;)

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2 minutes ago, Jim Bridger said:

How do you determine seasonal pattern?

 

Go outside ;)

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I'm not sure that applies in my case exactly.  I live in the UP of Michigan, we still have snow on the ground the lakes are froze up.  Down south right now, bass are in the various states of pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn.  When the lakes do thaw in the next month I would figure the fish would be still in a winter pattern until may when the water warms enough for them to begin prespawn/spawn, cause I know in late May bluegill will be spawning and that's important cause bluegills use the bass beds when the bass are done with them.

I can guess roughly, but I'm looking for benchmarks to determine these patterns for lakes and areas I am not familiar with...meaning not local.

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To me, 50 degrees is the magic number where the fish really start to get going and most baits will catch them if you find a situation to fit that bait. However, length of the day/angle of the sun as spring progresses has far more to do with it than you would think, THEY KNOW! A fish in late March in 45 degree water is going to be acting a lot different than a fish in 45 degree water in December.

 

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Do a search for The Cosmic Clock and Bass Calendar, based on bass body temps at the depth they are at. Surface temps in the morning are fairly good indicator. Today we tend to locate bass using sonar to determine active bass feeding depth. Back in the early 70's when I put this calendar together used bass body temps with a probe down thier throat.

Tom

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During a typical spawning cycle, water temperatures will seesaw back-&-forth between

warm fronts & cold fronts. As a result, water temps seen in the pre-spawn may be seen again

during the post-spawn, and vice versa, so which temperatures are you going to believe? ?

I only place emphasis on 'temperature extremes', when bass may become stressed

by frigid or torrid extremes.

 

In the second place, water temperatures that coincide with the disposition of northern-strain bass

are very different from the water temperatures that coincide with the behavior of Florida-strain bass.

It's my opinion that water temperature is simply a coincident indicator rather than a trigger,

and the coincidence is often remarkable, but a coincidence nonetheless.

I personally place greater emphasis on 'photoperiod' (i.e. calendar period) , which I've found

to be far more reliable than zigzag water temperatures.

 

Roger

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49 minutes ago, RoLo said:

 

During a normal spawning cycle, water temperatures commonly seesaw sharply back-&-forth

between warm & cold fronts. Consequently, water temps seen in the pre-spawn may be seen again

during the post-spawn, and vice versa, so which temperatures are you going to believe??

I only place emphasis on water temperature extremes, when bass may be stressed

by frigid or torrid extremes.

 

In the second place, water temperatures that coincide with the disposition of northern-strain bass,

are very different from the water temperatures that coincide with the behavior of Florida-strain bass.

It's my opinion that water temperature is only a coincident indicator rather than a trigger,

and that coincidence is often remarkable, but a coincidence nonetheless.

instead, I place greater emphasis on 'photoperiod' (i.e. calendar period) ,

which I find to be far more faithful than erratic water temperatures.

 

Roger

 

One of the reasons LMBs do so well in so many places around the world is that they can spawn in varying climatic conditions, not just that but they can also delay the spawn if conditions suddenly become unfavorable, additionally they can spawn in, and the eggs will tolerate a larger range of temperature than other fish. That being said, with few exceptions spawning will occur when water temps are between 16 and 22 Celsius.

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Get on the water!

 

I guarantee ya it starts earlier than ya think!

 

Start at ice out which will still be winter patterns, once ya locate where they holding start looking at near by structure leading towards pre-spawn feeding areas.

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7 hours ago, Jim Bridger said:

When using water temperature to determine current seasonal behavior, is that surface water temp or temp down where the fish are?

 

If the temp I need to know is down where they are, how do we get that?

 

thank you for all the help!

 

 

Every single species of fish out there spawns when the water temperature reaches a specific parameter, including largemouth and smallmouth bass.  Both species are warm water species of freshwater fish in addition, so they are more active when the water is warmer rather than when it is colder.  Studies have proven that bass are basically in a hibernation mode during winter under the ice (northern strain bass).  In the spring, I look for warmer water.  The lakes are still locked up in ice here and bass season doesn't start until May so I literally can't even begin to think about a seasonal pattern until then.  I agree with everythingthatswims, 50 degrees is a pretty good starting number for water temperature.

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Unless you are dropping a thermometer down on a rope, it is impossible to measure the temperature at the depth the bass are at. So we usually are just going by surface temps when we talk about temperature.  While the light angle is the factor that seems to trigger the full scale migration to the spawning areas, water temperature is a decent guideline for when it will happen.  They will spawn in the same time frame every year in your area/lake, plus or minus a week or two depending on the year.  I use water temperature (surface) as more of an educated guess for how active the fish are, and how likely there is to be a small scale movement to the neareby shallows.

 

In every region there seems to be a magic temperature that gets the bass moving towards the shallows and active, around here (and apparently in west Virginia also) it is about 50 degrees.  That's when they usually start moving into the openings of coves and when more options are available than the standard winter baits.

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At what temperature does the ice on the lake start melting?

 

I aint a Yankee, we don't have ice on our lakes but as a dumb Cajun I understand until Roger's "photoperiod" starts changing (days getting longer) the ice ain't gonna start melting!

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You can buy inexpensive battery operated  temperature probes . I use to have one and used quite a bit . Mine was a temp/light meter .  I was surprised to see  zero light in ten foot of muddy spring-time  water . Also,  in the summer the light and temp would slowly change until it hit the thermocline then the changes were drastic . I bought mine at Bass Pro . I  recommend  one . I need to get another .

 

 

I just looked for one with no luck . Maybe they are no longer made . 

 

 

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13 hours ago, IndianaFinesse said:

Unless you are dropping a thermometer down on a rope, it is impossible to measure the temperature at the depth the bass are at. So we usually are just going by surface temps when we talk about temperature.  While the light angle is the factor that seems to trigger the full scale migration to the spawning areas, water temperature is a decent guideline for when it will happen.  They will spawn in the same time frame every year in your area/lake, plus or minus a week or two depending on the year.  I use water temperature (surface) as more of an educated guess for how active the fish are, and how likely there is to be a small scale movement to the neareby shallows.

 

In every region there seems to be a magic temperature that gets the bass moving towards the shallows and active, around here (and apparently in west Virginia also) it is about 50 degrees.  That's when they usually start moving into the openings of coves and when more options are available than the standard winter baits.

All you need to do to measure the water temps the bass are in at any depth is catch it, put a digital temp probe in it's throat at determine body temperature. Bass are cold blooded animals body temp = water temp they are acclimated in. The physical problem with bass that spawn in water less than 58 degrees is the eggs take weeks to hatch and get eaten. Warmer the water the faster the eggs hatch and higher the recruitment or survival rate.

Ideal temps are 62-67.

It's easy to determine when bass transition from pre spawn to the spawn, males are up making beds and females are cruising the spawning areas, it's visual!

The lakes I fish exact spawn time changes every year, could be Feburary to April at lakes Casitas, Castaic, Chacuma, Piru, Pyrimde, DVL , all within a 75 mile radius, the bass start to bed depending on stable weather and water temps. Big Bear lake is about 50 miles from DVL for example and in the photo period zone,  still has snow and ice, maybe June there.

Catt makes the argument that bass are pre spawn shortly after post spawn becuase eggs start to develop, good point. Most anglers think of pre spawn as the staging period prior to the spawn.

The spawn is on now since early March at most of the lakes I fish this year.

We all have different experiences and beliefs, I published mine over 40 years ago and nothing changed.

Tom

 

 

 

   

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Somehow this thread morphed into patterning the spawning cycle rather than seasonal periods  (guilty as charged).

 

Happily, photoperiod runs lockstep with the Gregorian Calendar.

On most natural lakes and nearly every impoundment, there's an annual fall bonanza when schoolies

inhale crankbaits with abandon. From now on: write down the date -AND- the water temperature.

Ten years from now you're going to discover a very interesting pattern.

You'll most likely find that the fall blitzkriegs occurred during wildly different water temperatures,

but the calendar month and weeks have repeated with remarkable similarity.

 

Roger

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Roger I am not trying to say the photo period doesn't have an affect, it does.

I think the fall period has more to do with photothynsis as day light is reduced and green plants start to go into winter dormate periods. Baitfish lose thier cover and predators take advantage feeding to fatten up for the lean winter cold water period. 

My majority bass fishing experiences are in small deep structured lakes or highland/hill land type terrain with steep rocky banks and sparse cover. Every time I visit central or southern Florida or the delta area with the coastal shallow cover being dominate locating bass is difficult for me to know where to start unless it's the spawn cycle. More at home in northern Florida or anywhere the lakes and rivers are more familiar to me. We all have different experiences, where Catt learned to bass fish on Toledo Bend would be very challenging do to it's size and deversity of terrain requires a lot of skills to be consistant at locating bass and I tip my hat to him. Was it Poor Richards Alamac that first made note of seasonal periods, when to plant what? Always enjoy your posts!

Tom

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26 minutes ago, WRB said:

I am not trying to say the photo period doesn't have an affect, it does.

I think the fall period has more to do with photothynsis as day light is reduced and green plants

start to go into winter dormate periods.

 

 

I'm afraid I'm missing your point entirely.

'Photosynthesis' is founded directly on 'photoperiod', the two are inseparable. 

The entire vegetable kingdom is controlled by photoperiod, which I believe spills over to the animal kingdom.

My point is simple, water temperatures are erratic, calendar periods are repeatable.

Right now in Florida, my tomato plants are in, and our bass are spawning,

it's the same calendar period 'every' year.

 

Roger

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1 hour ago, RoLo said:

It's the same calendar period 'every' year.

 

Roger

 

Exactly right ;)

 

Seasonal Patterns!

 

It's easy tracking bass through pre-spawn & on to post spawn, the urgency to feed up before laying eggs got em consecrated in a particular area.

 

The same is true of the Fall seasonal pattern, again the urge to feed has them in almost the same particular areas.

 

Hard seasonal patterns are Dog Days of Summer into Winter & then winter into the Dead of Winter.

 

Two of my favorites & when I catch my biggest bass.

 

Oh! By the way the first day of "spring" 2017 was not march 20 down south but it was the day that the "photoperiod" started getting longer!

 

@RoLo I'll be eating cucumbers & tomatoes in about a week

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On 3/24/2017 at 2:05 PM, Catt said:

I don't use temperature for much of anything ;)


Huh?? :blink: Sorry but that is for lack of a better term simply BS. Other than water depth, water temperature is one of the #1 factors in when and how I fish. Water at 45 vs 55*F makes fishing vastly different. Bass are not warm blooded...their behavior revolves very much around temp. Temperature dictates the spawn, it dictates feeding activity, fighting, lure sizes, presentation, pretty much everything. IMO it is more important than cloud cover, wind, barometric pressure, precipitation, all combined, at least on lakes I fish that range 32-75*F over the seasons.

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2 minutes ago, Neil McCauley said:


Huh?? :blink: Sorry but that is for lack of a better term simply BS. Other than water depth, water temperature is one of the #1 factors in when and how I fish. Water at 45 vs 55*F makes fishing vastly different. Bass are not warm blooded...their behavior revolves very much around temp. Temperature dictates the spawn, it dictates feeding activity, fighting, lure sizes, presentation, pretty much everything. IMO it is more important than cloud cover, wind, barometric pressure, precipitation, all combined, at least on lakes I fish that range 32-75*F over the seasons.

 

Different geographies . I agree with you , though . 

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1 hour ago, Neil McCauley said:


Huh?? :blink: Sorry but that is for lack of a better term simply BS. Other than water depth, water temperature is one of the #1 factors in when and how I fish. Water at 45 vs 55*F makes fishing vastly different. Bass are not warm blooded...their behavior revolves very much around temp. Temperature dictates the spawn, it dictates feeding activity, fighting, lure sizes, presentation, pretty much everything. IMO it is more important than cloud cover, wind, barometric pressure, precipitation, all combined, at least on lakes I fish that range 32-75*F over the seasons.

 

Some people need a crutch ;)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Neil McCauley said:


Huh?? :blink: Sorry but that is for lack of a better term simply BS. Other than water depth, water temperature is one of the #1 factors in when and how I fish....

 

I would rather know what time of year it is and not know the water temp than the other way around.  For example, water temps dropping 5 degrees overnight in the spring is a different scenario than when that occurs in the fall (at least in waters south of the Mason-Dixon line).

 

Surface temp is a piece of the puzzle, but I would suggest that since it is a result of other factors (weather, time of year), if it isn't known, it won't stop you from catching fish.

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Doesn't the season determine the seasonal pattern ?

 

A-Jay

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2 hours ago, A-Jay said:

Doesn't the season determine the seasonal pattern ?

 

A-Jay

 

Yes

 

The first day of "spring" 2017 was March 20th, it is the day that the "photoperiod" started getting longer!

 

Pre-spawn (spring for the bass) started in early January.

 

Water temperatures started warming in early January but only surface & a few inches under the surface because what was gained in daylight was lost after sunset.

 

Confused yet?

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