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Peak Fall Water Temperature


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In the fall, at what water temperature do you think the fishing peaks?

 

Please respond with a temperature and your state. Also share any other variables you think contribute to peak fall fishing. Thanks.

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Basically, I think the sweet spot is when your surface temps hit the high 60s and until you get to your winter time lows (probably high 40s most non northern states).  Much like the pre spawn period in the spring but in reverse.

 

The conditions I'm generally looking for is a couple hours without any responsibilities in general because if there's wet water in the fall, bass are biting in it somewhere.

 

I'm from NC and fish lakes in the central part of the state!

 

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IMHO there's a bunch of variables.  Every lake is going to be different and to some extent every thermometer is going to be different.   A co worker and myself have the same transducers.   Ours read 1 1/2 degrees different with our boats next to each other.  Also, we're only reading the surface temp.   The temperature is going to be different even 5 feet deep.  I occasionally glace at my water temperature but don't pay it very much attention.  

 

I personally believe on of the BIG factors that increases catch rates during the fall is hunting seasons, foot ball games and other non fishing activities.   A good angler "should" be able to catch pressured fish, but for me it's less work to catch bass when there's less fishing pressure.   

 

NC/SC Upstate.   

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3 hours ago, Pat Brown said:

The conditions I'm generally looking for is a couple hours without any responsibilities in general because if there's wet water in the fall, bass are biting in it somewhere.

 

Ah, so you're a family man and a working man!

 

I wish I could help you. I don't carry a thermometer. I live on the coast of Maine and the only thing I've learned is that come October, it can be too cold in the pre-light morning for bass to hit. @PhishLI taught me to fish mid-day, which I'll be doing next week. 

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70ish? I usually only pay attention to river temps via USGS. Not sure about lakes.

 

The first few cold fronts of the year usually throw fish for a loop around here. Once things stabilize into a winter pattern of occasional cold fronds rolling off the continent, the fishing gets more predictable, regardless of temp. I'm always praying for the prefrontal days to come on the weekend. Lots of schooling action and surface activity then.

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50-60 degrees here in MN.  That is exactly what it is right now and I have had 2 fairly ridiculous outings already this week.

 

Once its drops below 50, its pretty much all over here.  Luckily that's pretty close to when I hang it up for the season, which will be happening very soon.

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41 minutes ago, Tennessee Boy said:

Here fishing changes throughout the Fall.  It doesn’t peak if you change with it.  That’s sometimes easier said than done.

This is how it is down here, Fall continues to be random with electric days throughout the drop in temps where it leads to the ultimate peak of the entire year.....the months of Dec, Jan, and Feb.    

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Low 60's to mid 40's. Turnover in our lakes seems to happen once the water temps are in the 70-65 range which always makes fishing difficult. The biggest factor for me is big rain. If the water gets muddy, the bite will really get tough. Cold water months is one of the only times I prefer cleaner water. 

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Thanks guys.

 

So, is it generally fair to say that fishing tends to get increasingly better from the high 60's until winter temperatures are met, and then it quickly shuts down for winter when water temps drop below 50? Obviously, there are good days and bad and latitude/altitude matter, but is this a decent rule of thumb?

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5 minutes ago, stratos4me said:

and then it quickly shuts down for winter when water temps drop below 50? Obviously, there are good days and bad and latitude/altitude matter, but is a decent rule of thumb?

This has been my experience.  50 is the magic dotted line for me.  Last October I hammered them when it was literally right at 50 degree water temps.

 

Some individuals have already posted that they still catch bass below that temp though, so its certainly not impossible.  I'm sure its a little different when referencing different sub-species of bass too...Florida strain vs northern strain largemouth, or smallmouth.

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54 minutes ago, king fisher said:

The lakes I fish the surface temp. will be from 64 to 74 degrees depending on the time of day, every day form Oct. until April.  I am more concerned with the water clarity.

You must be in South FL.

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My Cosmic Clock and Bass Calendar Fall period following Summer period the water temps 68-58 degrees. Bass being cold blooded are a thermometer with same body temp are the water they live in.

Tom

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On 10/13/2023 at 9:13 AM, AlabamaSpothunter said:
On 10/13/2023 at 8:29 AM, Tennessee Boy said:

Here fishing changes throughout the Fall.  It doesn’t peak if you change with it.  That’s sometimes easier said than done.

This is how it is down here, Fall continues to be random with electric days throughout the drop in temps where it leads to the ultimate peak of the entire year.....the months of Dec, Jan, and Feb.

 

👍

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Just remember - before turnover while the surface temp may be at 40....go down about 6-10 feet and it'll still be above 50.

 

<- remembrances of water sample collection for Limnology class.

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I think apart from assigning a specific number the most important thing about Fall and water temps is bass behavior and activity rate changes before the average person even notices a change of seasons. In my limited experience, in my fishery, a switch flips sometime in late August / early September probably triggered by nighttime temperatures, sun angle, and a zillion other things bass are in tune with that you and I can't feel. I began hammering them first week of September in summer-like daytime temps and still had a great day this morning in 46 degrees. That's not water temps but you get the idea, they're hustling all Fall to fatten up you just might have to switch presentations to keep up with them.

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Im with Pat, upper 60s and even very very low 70s is peak fall. I think the more important thing to watch is consistent night temps. Typically there is a period of cold night temps then its back to warm for a few weeks, cold, warm, etc. Once the night is routinely in the 50s here its "fall" and thats when I start seeing the turnover on my lakes. Otherwise those short periods of cold only seem to effect the upper few feet of water and I dont see the fall bass behavior youd expect.

 

Eastern/central NC. 

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My personal belief is that temperature is less important than length of day and angle of the sun. I believe those are really the thing that the bass are reacting to and is what is driving their behavior. It happens that as the days get shorter the water gets colder.

 

The reason I believe this is that I seem to find that in warm years or cold years the bass are reacting about the same at the same time of year. I think fisherman change more based on weather and water temperature than the fish themselves. 

 

The only real thing that water temperature affects is how fast a fish digests food and how often they need to feed. I think fish put on weight in the fall because they keep feeding at about the same rate as in the summer but they are burning less calories because the colder water is slowing their metabolism. 

 

I could be 100% wrong but that is what I read in the tea leaves. 

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