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How Long for Water Temp to Drop & Activate Fish?

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The temperatures dropped about 15 degrees in the last week. With low, starting to feel (dare I say it) COLD overnight temperatures. How long do you think it takes to affect the water temp? And how long to activate the fish?  I never seem to time this right in freshwater. It seems like the ocean is a bit more predictable (and ocean water temps are posted online).

 

How long to activate the fish in smaller ponds?

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Go fishing now ! 

Don't know where you're at but one sure fire way to mis-time it, is to wait too long. 

In this neck of the woods the bass seem pretty 'activated'.

Good Luck

:smiley:

A-Jay

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Just gotta get out there and find out, like A-Jay said. 

Here in Wisconsin the water temps have been right around 79* and 80* in most lakes. Highest they've been all summer. Rain will drop the temps a few degrees, but the heat brings it right back up most days it seems. I still think we have another few weeks of "dog days" before the fall transition. I could be wrong, but I can tell you I'll know for sure whenever it hits because I am on the water 4-6 days a week. 

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From my experience even the slightest of water temp drops can change things drastically. The fish are eager to start feeding this time of year 

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Our fish usually take September off, then start eating again in October. Those first few trips when the weather is cooling off are usually pretty disappointing as you're filled with excited anticipation of a hot bite with the cooler temps only to be greeted by scattered, finicky fish. 

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7 hours ago, Bluebasser86 said:

Our fish usually take September off, then start eating again in October. Those first few trips when the weather is cooling off are usually pretty disappointing as you're filled with excited anticipation of a hot bite with the cooler temps only to be greeted by scattered, finicky fish. 

Same here! September is just awful on my local water. A couple bites here and there, but it never seems to be worth the effort. October and November can be good. It's spotty, but if you hit a good day, it's good! By the middle of November I focus my efforts on fishing shallow (2'-4') cover, usually trees and laydowns. The fish seem to cling to the cover this time of year, but they will often hit a jig or a senko, but not too eager to chase a moving bait. This is pretty is pretty much the pattern until March.

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One other thing that's changing that may affect the fish is shorter daylight hours.  Boy, I wouldn't miss September for almost anything around here; our fish, especially bigger fish (SMB) are really active in Sept.  Might still be hard to find, but if you find them, it's a great time.  As mentioned above, go now. I have, in the past, waited too long to start.

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22 hours ago, A-Jay said:

Go fishing now ! 

Don't know where you're at but one sure fire way to mis-time it, is to wait too long. 

I know. You read my mind. I Can’t. No time now! Definitely this weekend.

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I really like this question and I really like these answers. I do wonder though, is there not some science that tells us (with reasonable approximation) what water temperatures affect feeding behavior (on the way down/Fall)? 

 

The consistent theme to all the above answers is that everyone is fishing a different part of the country on different bodies of water. "Sept is rough here" ... "Wouldn't miss Sept for the world here" etc. Well there's a reason for the disparity in answers and it has to be scientifically based, right? On the macro level, isn't Water Temperature the primary driver of Bass behavior?

 

It's hard to believe with as massive a commercial industry as Bass Fishing is that we don't have some good data on this question in 2018, coming up on 2019. 

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18 minutes ago, TotalNoob said:

On the macro level, isn't Water Temperature the primary driver of Bass behavior?

That's a really great question and I don't think the answer is easy.  There is research on what is the optimum temperature for maximum weight gain for bass.  Different studies have found slightly different answers but as I remember it's around 78 for largemouth and around 70 for smallmouth. As far as driving their behavior,  I think it's much more complicated than that.  Ask yourself,  what role does temperature play in your behavior?  I prefer to be in a comfortable environment but if I'm hungry,  I'll go looking for something to eat even if I have to go somewhere where it's hot or cold.  If it's extremely hot or cold then it plays a bigger role on my behavior.  Feeding fish are where the food is.  They are not all feeding on the same thing all the time in every lake in every part of the country. So the more important question might be what it their primary food source in a particular lake at a particular time of year and how does the water temperature affect that food sources behavior.

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20 minutes ago, TotalNoob said:

I really like this question and I really like these answers. I do wonder though, is there not some science that tells us (with reasonable approximation) what water temperatures affect feeding behavior (on the way down/Fall)? 

 

The consistent theme to all the above answers is that everyone is fishing a different part of the country on different bodies of water. "Sept is rough here" ... "Wouldn't miss Sept for the world here" etc. Well there's a reason for the disparity in answers and it has to be scientifically based, right? On the macro level, isn't Water Temperature the primary driver of Bass behavior?

 

It's hard to believe with as massive a commercial industry as Bass Fishing is that we don't have some good data on this question in 2018, coming up on 2019. 

There have been too many really killer improvements in fishing over the years to count.

From better hooks to braided line, from to electronics talking to trolling motors & shallow water anchors, so much of what we do has been made better.

  The sheer unpredictability, the here today & gone tomorrow and every season is so different yet sort of the same deal, is very foundation of what makes bass fishing my passion & addiction.

 However if there ever comes a time where "data" could actually put fish big bass in the net with any regularity, I'd be done and collecting stamps.  

:smiley:

A-Jay

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