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Water Temperature vs Forage


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So I know largemouth bass have an ideal water temperature of 50-70 (yes, that's a big spread), but are bass more willing to withstand less than optimal water temps to be near forage? Basically, what I'm asking is which one governs where bass will be more: Ideal water temperature or access to forage?

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Yes...

 

They are alot more fussy about feeding times, but an example I have experienced is

 

26 air Temps mon dead water

28 air slight breezeTemps tues dead water

30 air temp heavy breeze dead water

32 no cool breeze morning fish are a little sluggish but slapping bait, evening they are eating better, than a 24 degree day came in after and dead water again

 

 

 

 

 

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I would think that in most habitats forage would be more abundant above 50 degrees, but hunger is one of the strongest motivators, so I'm sure in the conditions you suggest they would, and low to mid 40s isn't too much of a stretch for them, and in sustained lower temps than that their metabolism would be slower.

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Bass locate near a food source with dissolved oxygen level that is comfortable and provides sanctuary. Water temps tend to drive seasonal location for the majority of bass but always individual bass that do their on thing.

Summer period FLMB can be located in 90 degree water if green plants are providing good DO levels.

Tom

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1 hour ago, KSanford33 said:

access to forage?

 

No food...no bass 😉

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On 1/20/2023 at 5:39 PM, WRB said:

 

Summer period FLMB can be located in 90 degree water if green plants are providing good DO levels.

Tom

Alabama Georgia and Mississippi LMB can do that too . 

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Are DO levels pretty much consistent lake wide during the Winter?   I'm talking big reservoirs, but no ice.   I've heard the term "stratified" after a lake turns over, but I may not understand correctly.  

 

Low water temps (below 50?) really slow down the shad around here.  It's my belief the bass can basically gorge on stunted shad until they're so full they throw up.   I struggle when surface temps are under 50, especially during extended cold air temps.   I'm getting better, but I still struggle.   Yesterday I caught 9 in 2 hours, then fished 4 more hours without a bite.   

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54 minutes ago, Woody B said:

Are DO levels pretty much consistent lake wide during the Winter?   I'm talking big reservoirs, but no ice.   I've heard the term "stratified" after a lake turns over, but I may not understand correctly.  

 

Low water temps (below 50?) really slow down the shad around here.  It's my belief the bass can basically gorge on stunted shad until they're so full they throw up.   I struggle when surface temps are under 50, especially during extended cold air temps.   I'm getting better, but I still struggle.   Yesterday I caught 9 in 2 hours, then fished 4 more hours without a bite.   

A few of our deep highland lakes, yes the oxygen and temp are the same on the surface as they are down deep. Every reservoir is different and it all depends on how fast and deep the water is 

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Here's my take:

 

Both forage fish and bass will tend to gravitate to the locations with the best, relative conditions at the time. Don't overcomplicate it.

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The first thing I was taught when learning to bass fish as a kid was "find the food, find the bass". If there is an adequate amount of forage I don't think the water temperature makes that much difference. 

 

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Well, the problem we have is there is forage on every square foot of water. And there are bass pretty much everywhere too. Catching them is usually the tricky part, they are always around 

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On 1/20/2023 at 5:29 PM, KSanford33 said:

So I know largemouth bass have an ideal water temperature of 50-70 (yes, that's a big spread), but are bass more willing to withstand less than optimal water temps to be near forage?

I'm only a little bit south of you. From late February through May 1st and, aside from the wicked cold fronts that drop on us, water temps typically range between 38 to 49 degrees. Once we hit a stable 43 degrees, then going forward, the bite is hot. Some of the best fishing of the year. Males will start making beds around here by the time the water hits 50 degrees, and the spawn happens quickly thereafter. Find the right bite window during that 2 month interval and your reward will be great.

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21 hours ago, stratos4me said:

Here's my take:

 

Both forage fish and bass will tend to gravitate to the locations with the best, relative conditions at the time. Don't overcomplicate it.

I agree with this. I've seen it for years in my northern waters even a week or two after ice out. Find a shallow bay on the north shore of a pond up here on a sunny day...even if the water temps are 40s guess what? There are bluegill, crappie and whatever pond minnows are in there eating bugs and microorganisms in that shallow warming water. Right behind them are the bass.

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Yes, food is more important. We had a great example of that a year or two ago in the fall. Air temps dropped earlier than normal and cooled the water off early. Places I was finding fish was about where I would have been looking if the water was 10* warmer. It was pretty consistent that way throughout the entire fall and if you fished based on water temp alone there was a whole lot of dead water.  

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I saw a video where Rick Clunn said, the bass is a bruiser and can live pretty much anywhere its forage lives when it comes to water temp, so if there is bait there then there is the potential for bass to be there.

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On 1/20/2023 at 5:29 PM, KSanford33 said:

So I know largemouth bass have an ideal water temperature of 50-70 (yes, that's a big spread)


What is “ideal?” Bass don’t have “preferred” temperatures, and studies show that physiologically, their adult body works best closer to the 78-82 deg range. So in that sense, I’d throw out water temperature as a governing condition for where bass will be located. That said, they won’t do anything radical either, and temperature can be a resource partition that separates them from their prey at certain times of the year, or in certain bodies of water. You can have plenty of prey available and still have starving fish for a variety of reasons. Bottom line - I personally wouldn’t overemphasize one or the other in terms of location.

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