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Master_Hunter_1977

Spring time fishing and spawning

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I have a question for everyone.  I have a biologist.  (not a bass one though.)  There is lots of info out there that will give you the water temp of smallies and largies when the will start spawning.  This has been kind of the staple or general rule of thumb.  This was also a general idea of deer and elk when they would start the rut.  It was thought the the out side temp played a big role on their time of rut.  When in reality its the amount of light that hits the eye of the female.  This will set her into cylce and the males respond from there.  In warmer weather the ruting habits are not seen as much as in cooler weather.  This is becasue a lot of the rutting goes on at night.  The reason the researcher have speculated that it happens this way is becasue, what happens if we have an unussual streak of weather and set the female into cycle and the male bread her.  If this was to early then the fawn or calf would be born to early and have a poor chance of survival.  Same is true if she came into cycle to late the fawn would be born to late and not give adiquit time to put on body mass to help them survive the winter.  

Now knowing this it makes me think what about bass.  Are they similar?  There are record for the last 60 years on my lake for water temps.  When looking over them you can see that the water temp increase at the same time, or just about, every year.  So when the bass go to spawn is it due to the fact of water temp or is it the light that is transmitted into the water.  The reason I ask.  Is this year we have a cooler water temp than we have had in some time.  Last weekend the water temp temp was 38 to 36 depending on where on the body of water I was.  At this time of year the water temp is 44-46.    So would the bass start up on the flats for their prespawn habits or are they still going to be deep.  

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I applaud you MH for your insightful proposal.

Though it would definitely fly in a biology class, I'm afraid most fishermen have predisposed beliefs

and are not quite ready to make the big switch. For this same reason, I've intentionally sidestepped

many posts dealing with the relationship between bass bedding and water temperature

(there's another one on the scroll right now).

Roger

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There is no magic temperature where something in the bass goes "Bing", it's time to spawn.  Bass in a lake spawn at different times after the water temperature reaches 60 or a little above.  Not all bass in a single cove will suddenly rush to the bank.  The actually spawing process (not nest guarding) can last up to a couple weeks in a single cove where the water conditions are the same.  You also have to remember that a fish is cold blooded and it's metabolism is directly related to the water temperature. In the spring, the warmer the water temperature, the more active the fish is thus the more nutrients are required for the bass to remain healthy.

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I have read alot of articles that lean toward water temps being the key factor for spawning.I have heard that the moon phase and water temps are what triggers them to spawn.

This is an interesting thread.

From personal experience I think water temp is a neccesity for the spawn.I have caught fish(females) for 3 weeks that were on the bed in the same general location of the same lake.The moon phase changes in 3 weeks.

Another question is do you think age of the female might make a difference?

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Without a doubt, the consensus is overwhelmingly convinced that "water temperature" triggers the spawn.

Unfortunately, the batting average of parroted data (herd instinct) is not all that impressive.

I always question the science before buying into the hype. For example, ask five anglers

what the optimum water temperature is for bass bedding and you'll likely get five different answers.

In fact, if you recorded bedding water temperatures over a period of years you would likely encounter

the same broad temperature discrepancy. To me, water temperature is highly suspect

and not the most valid indicator of bass bedding activity. I believe it's a coincidental symptom

rather than the trigger.

A large portion of north central Florida abounds with underwater springs. Florida's spring-hole belt

stretches roughly from Gainesville, FL south to Lake Wales, FL where I live. A high number of lakes

and rivers within this region are 72 degrees Year-Round. In spite of having no thermal regulation,

largemouth bass spawn like clockwork once every year.

How Is That Possible?

The answer in my opinion is "Photoperiod", the same natural force that dictates the event timing

in the vegetable kingdom. Deer rutting and bird migrations are also triggered by photoperiod

and occur dependably on schedule regardless of air temperature. I believe that events that rely

on photoperiod are more accurate gages of the bass spawn than water temperature.

Events such as the re-appearance of red-winged blackbirds, forsythia in bloom and most importantly,

the Gregorian calendar period.

Roger

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Rolo,photoperiod may be a big factor,but the fish on my home lake have been known to spawn as early as the first of April and as late as mid-May.But anyway,do you think there may be several different factors to when spawning takes place,a chemistry so to speak?

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Rolo,photoperiod may be a big factor,but the fish on my home lake have been known to spawn as early as the first of April and as late as mid-May.

I surely know what you mean. Then again, 6 weeks out of 52 is a fairly confined period.

But anyway,do you think there may be several different factors to when spawning takes place,a chemistry so to speak?

Yes I'm sure there is, but the other factors involved would have to be effective in water

that is perennially 72 degrees. As you well know, lunar phases are one possibililty.

A while back I kept records on lunar phases and bass feeding periods (not spawning).

Early on, I thought I was really on to something great, you know...I was gettin' jiggy with it!

Then I did the math and it all fell to pieces. Since that time I lost my interest in lunar phases.

To touch on it briefly, 3 days before and after the New and Full moon encompasses 50% of the month!

CJB, I'd be interested in your opinion on moon phases. Do you believe that they have an effect

on freshwater bedding cycles. If so, how does the moon influence the timing of the spawn?

Is it possible that a full moon satisfies a photoperiod deficit?

Roger

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Stable conditions (weather/water), water temp, moon phase, are what effect when they spawn or not. If you have stable conditions and the right temp then all you need to do is wait on the moon. If all the conditions are right and then bad weather hits in the process that will push them off the bed. Those three ingredients is what I look for.

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I started testing these theories five years ago and this is what I think according to my observations and records. I have seen fish spawn in water temps as cold as 60 and as warm as 75. This has been a rare occurance though. I have seen them start spawning on the full moon and the new moon. So from what I have observed  is that water temp and stability are the number one key that they will start spawning. How intence the spawn is depends on the moon. When the water temps reach their ideal at the same time as the fool moon the spawn will be short but very strong with beds all over the place. But when the when the water temps reach ideal on a new or low light moon the spawn will be speratic and last longer.

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The photoperiod is what I base my determination for the start of the spawn on. Not only have I seen them on beds in 57 dgreee water, I also fish power plant cooling lakes that have big fluctuations in water temp. Yet, those fish spawn about the same time every year, from 55 to 75 degrees. Now, I think there are high and low limits for this, but the INCREASING daylight in the spring means the spawn is on its way, which is why bass don't spawn in the fall.

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Rolo,I believe that moon phase plays a role in triggering fish to spawn.However I think water temps plays a bigger role.My opinions on this come only from personal experience.It is possible that the full moon intensifies photoperiod,I have never really thought of that and is an interesting theory.

From personal experience and looking back on my fishing log,fish are going to spawn sometime in the spring.They have not always spawned on a full moon,however the full moon may push some fish to do so.There have got to be a lot of factors that effects time of spawn.Some factors encourages spawning and others discourage spawning.I don't think that fish need all of the elements and conditions to spawn,but they atleast need proper water temps.

Fluke,I like your theories.

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I think water temps plays a bigger role.

I used to believe that too.

However, where does water temperature fit in the picture in places like Salt Run Springs,

Blue Springs, Crystal River and so on, where the water temperature is 71 to 73 degrees

12 months of the year? To my mind at least, that's sufficient evidence that water temperature

does not play a key role. Despite stable water temperatures, bass in these ecosystems

spawn unerringly, once every year in spring.

As you stated earlier, this is an interesting thread.

Roger

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I am new to the board so I want to say hello to every one and also add in another factor. I fish Lake Anna VA throughout winter and have caught a few bass out of 40 plus feet of water. Water Temps about 38 to 40 degrees. I did not know how to bleed the air bladders back then so instead of releasing the fish I would take them home and eat it if it couldn't swim by the end of the day. Were talking about just two or three a year. One of the things I noticed was as early as Christmas in some of these fish the eggs were very well developed. I believe the fish that have been very successful hunters in the fall and throughout winter and have good developed eggs sacks will be the first to want to spawn and will push outside the traditional envelope to hit the beds. I start looking for them at water temps of 55 to 60 degrees in areas of the lake that have had an abundance of shad all winter long. I know how to bleed bass now so not to worry.

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bigbassjim,welcome to the forum.That is a interesting thing to add to this thread.

Rolo,I have used water temps as a rule of thumb and it usually works on my home lake.When I refer to water temps being essential I mean there has to be a minnimum temp.I usually look for fish to spawn at 64-68 degrees surface temp.When you referred to the lakes that hold the same temps year around then other factors would have to come into play.

Another attempt to discover photoperiod as a big role,smallmouth spawn earlier in the year than do largemouth.Is it water temps?We all know that smallies are more light sensitive than their cousins.

Another attempt to discover moon phase.I have cross referenced whitetail deer to bass before.The full moon does enhance the rut and will kick it in.Photoperiod is almost a proven factor to whitetails estrus cycle.

It is just a big ponder to what makes the female get "ripe".bigbassjim may be onto yet another factor.Some females eggs may be more developed earlier than others.

I hope this thread continues I would like to here more!

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I like that I started this thead.  I think it has sparked some great thoughts and made us all think a little more maybe.  

So here we go.  This is what I think.  Temp play a huge roll in a fishes life.  They are cold blooded and only can "warm up" through metabolism from food or their local invironment. (the water they live in).  I'm not sure if temp is the most important part of spawning.  I think the photoperiod or length of day is rather a better judge in spawning.  I feel and through my experiences that the bass still start some of their prespawn rituals at the same time of the year independed on the water temp.  I have found that I just have to change my presentation to catch these bass in colder water.  I live in oregon and primaraly fish smallies so this info is specific to them.  I have caught smallies in the spring up on the flats in 42 degree water temps that are full of eggs and the same spots in a different year when the water temp is normally 48-52 and they seem to be about the same ratio of fish full of egg no mater the water temp this time of year.  I think bigbassjim made a good point.  I think that when bass spawn is primaraly depend on their egg macturity.  This depends on their food consumption.  So a bass that gets good food through out the winter and early spring will spawn earlier.  I know I my home lake that not all the bass spawn at the same time.  It is spread out for about a month.  I think this has to do with what I mentioned before about egg maturity and not all bass have there eggs mature at the same time.  

Just another thought.  Keep them coming it is good reading.

Good luck fishing

Scott

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