Jump to content

Recommended Posts

It seems Spring is the season when water temp matters most.  But what does water temp really mean?

 

In other words, my electronics tell me one number (say 55 as was the case this past weekend) but that's the temp on a sunny day at the surface where my transducer is.  I believe that the temperature just a few feet below the surface would be several degrees cooler.  And since bass behavior can vary greatly depending on only a few degrees difference in water temperature, how do you determine which water temperature to use to base your decisions on how to fish a reservoir?  55 can be early spawn but if it's 51 subsurface are they still in prespawn?  This is just one example but highlights a question I've had for quite a while.

 

Thanks as always.  This place remains such a great trove of fishing education.

 

-reerok

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've come to the conclusion (theory) that heat must penetrate to a certain depth before bass consider spawning -provided photoperiod/time of year is in place for full development to have occurred. I call this "temperature stabilization" -when waters have absorbed enough heat. Realize that water takes on and gives up heat stingily. In my small waters it seems bass will initiate spawning (first wave), say, when water at about the 3-4ft depth reaches the upper 50s. In a big lake those might be the local fish, or the first to "move in" to spawning locations.

 

I've taken temperature profiles for years, just to get to learn -understand- how water heats, and cools. Otherwise, temperature -specific readings- can mean very little. There's lots to the whole picture though. Think of it this way: physiology (understand the machine), the environment (gotta understand how that works), and then contexts/events that can influence behavior (they are "living" creatures after all) all come together to tell the whole story of any given moment. Seasons are easy to predict. Weeks a bit tougher. Days, we're beginning to fly by the seat of our pants. Moments are gifts and curses. Hope this makes some sense.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely, Paul.  That makes sense and adds perspective to my question.  

 

In a sense I need to zoom out on the specifics of my question and understand all of the inputs before the details of water temps become all that important.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/4/2017 at 0:04 PM, reerok said:

... But what does water temp really mean?  ...

 

On 4/4/2017 at 0:49 PM, reerok said:

In a sense I need to zoom out on the specifics of my question and understand all of the inputs before the details of water temps become all that important.  

 

My reply probably wasn't directly helpful. So, here's a table of "numbers" of physiological importance for bass. These are good (well backed-up) ballpark numbers. ("Ballpark" bc everything biological contains variability.) 

 

How each lake gets to these numbers varies quite a bit. Also, bass -as a species- are "thermally labile" and ecologically adaptable. Their behavior will be affected by, and they can respond to, lots of potential environmental variables/events. Again, these events could be as fleeting as.. passing clouds; Things get flaky as timing tightens. Luckily, bass want to eat and grow just as much as we want to catch them (it's a food chain thing :)). But consistency in prediction is tough bc it's a capricious world out there. Don't forget your rain gear!

 

Physiological Temperatures Important to Bass (bass body temps/water temp at bass level)

36-38F -normal winter low for N bass

39F -densest 

48-50F -cusp of "winter"

>50F -growth accelerates and with it hunger and performance capabilities

53-57F -spring/fall feeding “binge” -hunting

58F ("stabilized" and with appropriate photoperiod) -shift to spawn locations

>60F -most spawning occurs

>75F -most spawning completed; hunting becomes primary activity; energy to burn for activity (likely balanced with availability of prey in most bass waters).

>80F -metabolic peak efficiency for growth (in laboratory), provided they are able to eat pretty constantly.

>85F -better be a lot of cost effective food available, otherwise activity is relegated to most advantageous times: low light, after dark, coolest period of day (early a.m.).

>90F -approaching lethality -susceptibility to heat stress resulting in starvation, burning out, susceptibility to disease.

 

The work comes in keeping your finger on the pulse of your own waters. It helps if you can fish a lot and know the waters well (with the right kind of information). Jumping around in time and space can be frustrating, esp if this is new stuff to you.

 

Then again, these “numbers” delineate the ballpark pretty well, providing touchstones to center your reading of weather and water conditions around. I look at weather trends not to see how comfortable I’ll feel, but where in the seasonal progression a given water body, or section of one, will likely be at.

 

As to the fishing... you could attach certain presentations to such a list. However, I tend to ask a simpler question that incorporates depth and speed control: "How willing are they to move/chase?" And I go from there.

 

Hope this helps.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unhappily, there are no magic water temperature thresholds (of course, we all wish there were).

More important than the absolute temperature is the temperature trend (direction of change).

If water temperatures move from 60 to '65' degs, that indicates a temperature uptrend which typically

generates a positive disposition in cold-blooded creatures. If water temperatures move from

70 to '65' degs, that indicates a temperature downtrend which typically generates

a negative disposition in fish. In both above examples the water temperature was 65 degs. F.,

but absolute water temperature in isolation (e.g. 65-deg) only told us half the story.

 

Roger

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree entirely with the importance of temperature change. However, there's still more to it.

 

Drops aren't necessarily bad. In many waters, a drop from say 83 to 77 can be a boon. Rate is very important too. A change from 70 to 65 in 24 hours is a lot different than such a change in say 8hrs.

 

And, if there's a trump card, it's availability/vulnerability of food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are we trying to discern when pre-spawn starts or the spawn?

 

If it's pre-spawn I can y'all start early that most anglers believe!

 

Like others have eluded to I watch for stable weather, give me 3-5 days of stable weather in mid-January. By stable I don't really care if it's bluebird or cloudy, just all long as the ambient temperature doesn't fluctuate.

 

I'm not gaining a lot of water temperature during the day but I aint losing much at night. When the daytime heat starts off setting night time cold...It's on!

 

I hate putting numbers to it cause each bass is an individual which is way they move up in waves.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Paul Roberts said:

Agree entirely with the importance of temperature change. However, there's still more to it.

 

To be sure.......a whole lot more!

It's the multitude of variables that make it easy to abort any scientific comparison.

When referring to any ONE variable, it's important that all other things remain equal and fixed.

 

For starters, the difference in temperature ranges between bass subspecies

is a blatant yet highly neglected variable. Water temperature benchmarks that are applicable

to northern-strain bass are roughly 10 degrees lower than the temperature benchmarks

for Florida-strain bass. This is yet another monkey wrench that further obliterates the notion

of water temperature thresholds, in addition to the powerful effect of water temperature trends.

 

Roger

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roger I would argue 5 degrees in lieu of 10 talking about survival threshold between NLMB vs FLMB, the point is they are both LMB with different temps preference.

There shouldn't be a big debate about spawning temps at the depth LMB prefer to spawn because colder water than 58 degrees requires 10 or more days to hatch eggs and above 75 degrees the eggs hatch quickly less than 3 days. Egg survival depends on the male bass guarding the nest, 10 days is a long time, 3 days surrounded by bluegill spawning in the same areas overwhelms the male bass. Too cold isn't good and too warm isn't good, 62-67 is ideal.

Mother nature can be a *****, the bass must adjust to what is happening in their environmemt or the recruitment will be affected. Survival of the species is paramount with all critters and bass are no different.

The Spawn where I fish started 2 months ago and this weekend should see the last wave with a few stragglers to follow, pre spawn staging bass started in 3 months, post spawn shortly after the first wave of spawners 6 weeks ago and will continue for another few weeks, it's spread out over a several months. Our bass spawn at depths between 1' to 15' depending on water clarity.

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@WRB while it is true the males guards the nest he aint alone, the female will spend time guarding the nest before moving on. The female also lays eggs on multiple nest spending time on each.

 

Bass are a highly adaptable species ;)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, WRB said:

Roger I would argue 5 degrees in lieu of 10 talking about survival threshold between NLMB vs FLMB, the point is they are both LMB with different temps preference.

There shouldn't be a big debate about spawning temps at the depth LMB prefer to spawn because colder water than 58 degrees requires 10 or more days to hatch eggs and above 75 degrees the eggs hatch quickly less than 3 days. Egg survival depends on the male bass guarding the nest, 10 days is a long time, 3 days surrounded by bluegill spawning in the same areas overwhelms the male bass. Too cold isn't good and too warm isn't good, 62-67 is ideal.

Mother nature can be a *****, the bass must adjust to what is happening in their environmemt or the recruitment will be affected. Survival of the species is paramount with all critters and bass are no different.

The Spawn where I fish started 2 months ago and this weekend should see the last wave with a few stragglers to follow, pre spawn staging bass started in 3 months, post spawn shortly after the first wave of spawners 6 weeks ago and will continue for another few weeks, it's spread out over a several months. Our bass spawn at depths between 1' to 15' depending on water clarity.

Tom

 

There are all types of thresholds Tom, but I wasn't referring to survival thresholds, I was referring to

the optimal thermal range for systemic efficiency. Black bass are highly adaptable creatures,

and Mother Nature doesn't spit-out a new subspecies unless it's necessary to adapt to a very different

environmental niche. In my opinion, a 10-deg differential may be a conservative estimate,

whereas a 5-deg differential seems pretty lean to warrant a separate strain of bass.

 

It was long-believed that largemouth bass in general were at their functional peak at 72 deg F.

This was applicable to Florida-strain as well, probably because Florida has many underwater springs

that run 72 deg year-round. More recently however the efficiency peak for Florida-strain bass

was bumped up to 76 deg, then to 80 deg, and most recently it appears that Florida-strain bass

are at their functional peak at 83 deg Fahrenheit.

 

I wouldn't argue with 83 deg F, because I've routinely recorded water temperatures in the 80s

when bass could be seen locked on beds. March represents our peak bedding month,

but I've seen bass on beds as late as June in Lake Walk-In-Water, Florida.

 

Roger

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Catt said:

@WRB while it is true the males guards the nest he aint alone, the female will spend time guarding the nest before moving on. The female also lays eggs on multiple nest spending time on each.

 

Bass are a highly adaptable species ;)

Agree the females spend a several hours and lays eggs in a few nests, the males stays several days or until the eggs hatch, then protects the fry for awhile before feeding on some of the fry. It's a dog eat world.

Tom

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, WRB said:

Agree the females spend a several hours and lays eggs in a few nests, the males stays several days or until the eggs hatch, then protects the fry for awhile before feeding on some of the fry. It's a dog eat world.

Tom

 

Flipped-n-pitched to the same female for 2 days ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

although water temp is a very good indicator of when the majority of bass will start spawning I don't believe it is the ultimate factor. I fish in florida and I would be a fool to think that my observations translate throughout the country but this is some of what I have witnessed....

 

I think the bulk of the fish in my area start spawning activity when the water is around 65. when the water temps are in the 65 range in florida, the night time lows will make the water temp drop. I may see beds with no fish in the mornings but after the sun has warmed the water in the afternoon, I will start to see more fish. at around 72 it seems like there is a ton of activity. I think 72 is the magic number however, I have seen big females locked on in 50 degree water so, that's why I don't put all of my faith in water temps. I have to see for myself on any given lake, what is going on.

 

it is my belief that the length of the days have more to do with spawning than anything else. when the days start getting longer, the fish seem to respond better than to just water temps. the problem is I don't believe there are any ultimate rules for it. for every opinion you hear, there will be another that will dispute it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roger I believe the optimal temps for FLMB in California is the mid 70's, that is the temp they try stay in during the summer period and why these bass go deeper, because they can in our deep structured lakes.

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, RoLo said:

 

To be sure.......a whole lot more!

It's the multitude of variables that make it easy to abort any scientific comparison.

When referring to any one variable, it's important that all other things remain equal and fixed.

 

For starters, the difference in temperature ranges between bass subspecies

is a blatant yet highly neglected variable. Water temperature benchmarks that are applicable

to northern-strain bass are roughly 10 degrees lower than the temperature benchmarks

for Florida-strain bass. This is yet another monkey wrench that further obliterates the notion

of water temperature thresholds, in addition to the powerful effect of water temperature trends.

 

Roger

 

 

There are differences in N and S bass, as well as FL bass. Each are locally adapted and transplants from N to S, and S to N -even among northern strain bass- tend to fail. However, and this is an interesting fact: Northern and FL LM have been found to have pretty much the same threshold temps, with the prime growth range being between 50 and 85F. Without adequate food to keep those engines stoked, FL bass -like N bass- also get thin, and adjust activity or location if possible, in water temps >~85F.

 

10 hours ago, Catt said:

Flipped-n-pitched to the same female for 2 days ;)

Here, females often stay with individ males for a couple days.

 

2 hours ago, runt4561 said:

I may see beds with no fish in the mornings but after the sun has warmed the water in the afternoon, I will start to see more fish. at around 72 it seems like there is a ton of activity.

...

I have seen big females locked on in 50 degree water so

...

it is my belief that the length of the days have more to do with spawning than anything else. when the days start getting longer, the fish seem to respond better than to just water temps. the problem is I don't believe there are any ultimate rules for it. for every opinion you hear, there will be another that will dispute it.

I see the same thing. What I think is happening is that fish, being cold-blooded, operate better as temps inc -esp in spring. The energy to carry out activity increases with water temp. But -considering other seasons- only to a certain point. Bass like other creatures have a temperature range in which their physiology operates, and peaks and declines. There are real numbers there that have been pretty consistently replicated.

 

I too have seen bass at beds in cooler water: 55F for females and as low as 48F for males. But these temps are not when those eggs were laid.

 

Photoperiod is directly coupled with heating. It is involved in entraining the endogenous rhythm, and heat supports both the growth and maturation of tissues, as well as the necessary physical activity of feeding and spawning.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roger I would argue 5 degrees in lieu of 10 talking about survival threshold between NLMB vs FLMB, the point is they are both LMB with different temps preference.

There shouldn't be a big debate about spawning temps at the depth LMB prefer to spawn because colder water than 58 degrees requires 10 or more days to hatch eggs and above 75 degrees the eggs hatch quickly less than 3 days. Egg survival depends on the male bass guarding the nest, 10 days is a long time, 3 days surrounded by bluegill spawning in the same areas overwhelms the male bass. Too cold isn't good and too warm isn't good, 62-67 is ideal.

Mother nature can be a *****, the bass must adjust to what is happening in their environmemt or the recruitment will be affected. Survival of the species is paramount with all critters and bass are no different.

The Spawn where I fish started 2 months ago and this weekend should see the last wave with a few stragglers to follow, pre spawn staging bass started in 3 months, post spawn shortly after the first wave of spawners 6 weeks ago and will continue for another few weeks, it's spread out over a several months. Our bass spawn at depths between 1' to 15' depending on water clarity.

Tom

Check out the Gin clear cold waters of Lake Michigan the water never warms up a whole lot but massive numbers of SMB spawn starting in May not long after ice out.

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing forum

    fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing poles

    fishing

    fishing reels

    fishing

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×
×
  • Create New...