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Water temp question


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How fast does changing water temps affect bass movement and behavior? I realize that nothing is set in stone, but I want your guy’s opinion. For instance, on Eufaula last Thursday after the cold front was 55. Three days later, on Sunday, water temp was 58. 

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In my limited expecience Seems as though they prefer cold to hot, but can still be sluggish, and hate hot to cold rapidly, but I have caught fish really well consistently cold and really well consistently hot.  

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  • Super User

Depends on what caused the change.

 

I mentioned in another thread we're dealing with a lot of cold rain. 

 

How fast does it take, how fast is the runoff?

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The weather here literally went from highs in the 20s during the front to highs in the 70s since. Thursday was the first day after the front and when the water temp was 55. 

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  • Super User

Yeah, there is no easy answer to that, specially in circumstances like we've had lately where the temps go down and up abruptly. Under "normal" conditions, if the water is cold, I want it going up, and if it's hot, I want it going down, but again, that is just in general terms. I also find that (outside of extremes) the actual temperature isn't as important as the trend, they seem to acclimate after a few hours or days to their surroundings. 

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I've found it to be only marginally predictable. We've been through some wild swings here in the last year and little of it made any conventional sense. Warming water seemed to be good to a point but I really noticed the changes in activity level in 5-10 degree segments. The cooling this year was also very fast and they absolutely hate it. I also absolutely hate it lol

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   I'm close to you here in south Mississippi. What i have found and I fish 3 to 7 times a week, is steady cold is ok  , cold to warming is good but warm to cold is bad. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

In your case I wouldn't make much of a change in my fishing just because of a SST change between 55 to 58. Either way it's pre-spawn. Remember: waves, wind driven current, and sunlight often cause significant daily swings in surface temps. Get yourself a sinking thermometer and work with the water's core temp instead of surface temp. It's much more stable.

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This year the lake never really got that cold, maybe 50. Granted I’m still new and don’t know, but what about when’s there’s so little difference between winter temps being just below prespawn temps? Do the fish just not make it as far out towards the main river channel?

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I'd say if there's usually not a lot of fluctuation of water temp from winter to prespawn I would look closely at when the days start getting longer. That and a combination of longer daylight and full moons... 

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9 hours ago, AustonW said:

This year the lake never really got that cold, maybe 50. Granted I’m still new and don’t know, but what about when’s there’s so little difference between winter temps being just below prespawn temps? Do the fish just not make it as far out towards the main river channel?

Look at the trees.  Even during a warm winter, the tress still lose their leaves in the fall and grow them back in the spring.  While temperatures matter, it's far from the only thing that triggers nature to go through these cycles.  The length of daylight and the angle of the sun, as well as the phase the moon, all play a role.  

 

In other words, the fish should still go to their normal wintering habitats regardless of if it's a mild, warm winter or a particularly harsh and cold winter.  The extremities of the conditions may affect how long they stay in those spots and what times they move to them, but they'll always still go to them.  Instincts are strong.  And on a particularly warm period, they might venture a little further shallow to take advantage of that warmth, but they'll still stay close to their winter holdouts.  

 

The weather is just one small part in the large equation of bass behavior.  We, as anglers, tend to overvalue it, if only because it's one of the factors that is most apparent to us.  And while it definitely matters, it's far from the only thing that matters.  

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