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Water temp drop


zelmo

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We had some really nice weather with highs in the 70s and lows in the mid 50s.  The water temperature had gotten up to 56.  A cold front came through and dropped some rain.  When it was over I headed to a local flow.

 

When I launched at dawn the air temp was 35 and to my dismay the water temp had dropped to 44.  I got to the first spot I wanted to fish, dropped the anchor in current, and tossed a tube to a shoreline eddy.  Almost immediately I had a solid hit and when I set the hook it was obvious it was a very good fish.  It took a bit to get it to the boat pulling it through the current and when I did it measured just shy of 20".  I had left my scale on the other boat so I can only guess at weight.  This fish was very fat and was easily over 5 lbs.

 

I stayed anchored in that spot for over an hour and pulled in one pig after another.  Of 15 fish from that spot only 2 were less than 18".  I only moved 20 or 30 feet by letting out more anchor line. 

 

Eventually that bite stopped.  I only got a few more for about 2 hours when I found them again mid-river downstream of a rock ledge.  Once again they were pigs.  I worked that area for the rest of the morning and early afternoon, moving around some on the TM and using spot lock, catching the whole time.  When the bite slowed down I would pick up a different rod and bait and started getting bit again.

 

When I left I felt I had one of my best days ever.  The total number was the highest ever because of the two hours that were sparse, but I had about 40 BIG fish.

 

I thought in the winter and early spring the fishing was best after a warming trend, not post cold front.  I have been back to that spot twice since with the water temperature on the rise (it is now back to 57) and have mostly caught 14" males.  I am confused.  What the heck was going on?

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Simple explanation is timing. You hit it just right. For whatever combination of conditions/reasons the bigger fish (assuming mostly female) were on the feed. Relish in it! I've had several days like that and it's part of what keeps me coming back.

 

I would not call the current period early spring at least for me in IL. More like mid-late spring. Looking at the map going to assume your weather is similar as we are on the same latitude. Altho it does feel like things are running a skosh late this year.

 

Curious, were the fish warmer than the air and water? 

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  • Super User

Sounds like the cooling water and/or increased flow pulled the fish back into a holding area, and once things changed (higher temps or lower flows), they scattered. Odds are you’ll be able to repeat the scenario in future years on those same spots when similar conditions present themselves. Rivers get very predictable like that.

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  • Super User

What you experienced is what I call a magical day.

Had my best largemouth day by a mile recently, cloudy skies, calm and water temp was 55*.

The more time on the water, the better the odds of experiencing those " magical days ".

 

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  • Super User

I have found that your experience is fairly normal. When the water isn't too warm yet, a drop in water temperature usually means the bite drops off pretty hard and it can be tough to get any fish. But usually a day or two after the initial drop in temperature you can catch them again. That's been my experience at least.

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