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What do you generally find to be the magic number in regards to water temperature for stream smallmouth?


Ohioguy25

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I know people who swear the fishing improves into the low 50s, others like myself believe it sort of peaks between 55 and 60 and some who do not use water temp to guide their fishing strategies/decisions.

 

I think it is undeniably the single biggest variable and determinant in smallmouth behavior. At what temperature do you believe they are most active?

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Well, today they were inactive but I got one of my biggest ever. Water was 62 and boy they got active once hooked. 
 

I catch more SMB when the water is almost 80 degrees but many are small. I get bigger ones when the water is 47-50 degrees. 
 

They are more active the warmer the water, metabolism increases with temperature 

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Temp on Tennessee river was 62 yesterday and caught 38. Most were dinks but several were nice. I agree with TnRiver46. I catch more when water temps are higher but they were on a fish bite yesterday with several throwing up shad when landed. Check out the belly on the Smallie in the picture. Don't think she could have crammed one more fish in if she wanted too!

IMG_1973 Resized.JPG

11 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

Well, today they were inactive but I got one of my biggest ever. Water was 62 and boy they got active once hooked. 
 

I catch more SMB when the water is almost 80 degrees but many are small. I get bigger ones when the water is 47-50 degrees. 
 

They are more active the warmer the water, metabolism increases with temperature 

Where is the picture of " One of your biggest ever"? Don't hold out on us! 

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8 minutes ago, Blue Raider Bob said:

Temp on Tennessee river was 62 yesterday and caught 38. Most were dinks but several were nice. I agree with TnRiver46. I catch more when water temps are higher but they were on a fish bite yesterday with several throwing up shad when landed. Check out the belly on the Smallie in the picture. Don't think she could have crammed one more fish in if she wanted too!

IMG_1973 Resized.JPG

Where is the picture of " One of your biggest ever"? Don't hold out on us! 

It’s in the latest catch pics thread, but I’ll give ya a few here too

 

A25-D4414-4-FDF-4-FCF-98-C5-FFF7-C4-CC2-

2-BE9732-F-CE73-42-E1-B33-B-47-C352-AE18
DDBCB791-41-D2-4-EBF-858-F-108-C20-C4720

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55-65 seen to be when I catch the most numbers of 3-6lb smallies. The other variable I calculate into that is river flow. Generally speaking the flow rates are higher during the cooler water time periods as well. They tend to stack into areas more when the river is flowing like that.  Even if you fish a lake during those periods draw downs and refilling of the lake could play a factor as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/2/2022 at 5:36 AM, Darnold335 said:

55-65 seen to be when I catch the most numbers of 3-6lb smallies. The other variable I calculate into that is river flow. Generally speaking the flow rates are higher during the cooler water time periods as well. They tend to stack into areas more when the river is flowing like that.  Even if you fish a lake during those periods draw downs and refilling of the lake could play a factor as well.


Did you ever fish the power plant in Sunbury when it was active in winter? That place was absolutely UNBELIEVABLE

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1 minute ago, jhoffman said:


Did you ever fish the power plant in Sunbury when it was active in winter? That place was absolutely UNBELIEVABLE

The little low head dam area by the Selinsgrove launch?  I have only been there a couple times  I generally go more south of that or up to the north branch.

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3 minutes ago, Darnold335 said:

The little low head dam area by the Selinsgrove launch?  I have only been there a couple times  I generally go more south of that or up to the north branch.


Down slightly from the inflatable dam. I'm pretty sure the warm water discharge is gone which is what made it magic. I havent been there in 20 years.

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1 minute ago, jhoffman said:


Down slightly from the inflatable dam. I'm pretty sure the warm water discharge is gone which is what made it magic. I havent been there in 20 years.

Yeah I know where you are talking about. I have not fished there in the winter. There is a dam right there that above a certain water level you can get over it with a jet and get up to the inflatable as well.

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Apparently its 50 on my favorite stretch.  Yesterday it was hovering at 49.6-50 up from 42-43 a month ago when I was there last.  Had incredible fishing yesterday; fish were up in 3-6', hungry, and FAT.  Interesting note was they were holding well back from any current breaks but near the seams, not sure if that's has to do with the flow rate through there ...it would make sense.

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As a noob to stream smallmouth fishing, only been at it for five years.  My experience in this short period is once water temps get to or above 50-52, they seem to turn on in the creek near me.

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8 hours ago, Bdnoble84 said:

70 degrees for me. Thats when i can really power fish em.

Some of our waters never reach 70 in certain years, especially the Tailwaters. They might touch 70-71 in mid September right before they start dropping again 

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46.6 this morning was the highest I saw.  Fish were still shallow-ish and an active, but they wouldn't touch a moving bait.  Jerkbait was it, LC Pointer 78.

springcitation3.jpg

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55 minutes ago, drakesndrum said:

46.6 this morning was the highest I saw.  Fish were still shallow-ish and an active, but they wouldn't touch a moving bait.  Jerkbait was it, LC Pointer 78.

springcitation3.jpg

You’re crushing them man, I’m impressed (and slightly jealous) 

 

I can catch smallies pretty good in the 40s water temp, 50s it’s like they all disappear and 5 billion white bass show up 

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I believe the larger smallies get moving to the hunt quicker/sooner than the young bass.

Two reasons;

1. They have experience enough to be better hunters, ergo they go to the prime ambush spots on the best structure and hold onto it longer.

2. They are bigger and out swim other bass when needed, ergo they can take the prime spots when most advantageous.

And they may have forgotten last years lures, or so I believe.

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They are definitely more aggressive and easier to catch early in the season, especially when the water temps touch 50.

 

but I’ve caught them from 35 degree water to 80 degree water

 

best time to fish for them is when you can 

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