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FatBoy

fish see better in cold water!?!

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I was just reading a crappie magazine and came across some tidbits that I had not heard before.  Fish can see something like 5x farther underwater than a human (that I knew) AND they can actually see farther and with better acuity in colder water!!!  This doesn't have anything to do with water clarity issues.  The fish eye actually works better in colder water.  (The article specifically said that this applies to both crappie and bass, and to most fish in general).

Now, I haven't figured out what this means for bass fishing or what to do with this information yet.  But I just thought it was pretty interesting.  And I'm sure some of you can chime in with suggestions on how to use this info, for example in choosing baits/lures for the fall and winter.  

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Didn't know that about a fish's vision being better in cold water, but one thing I did learn that may come on the heels of this tidbit.  A couple of years ago I was fishing on my local "test pond" in the afternoon and had some good hits on a Senko.  Went back the next morning and threw the bait in the same location and noticed that it tended to stay up in the water longer and fall much slower.  The only difference was that the air temp had dropped drastically over night.  After discussing this some of the local "experts" the general consensus was that baits do fall slower in colder water.  If they see it better and it stays in the strike zone longer---

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Im gonna say it probably has to do with the density of the water (cold h2o is more dense than warmer)...i had read this somewhere a while back but had forgotten it. anyway back to density, a uniform tightly "packed" more dense sample of a material with transmit sound waves more efficiently than the same substance in a less dense state. So maybe the decreased temp has a stabilizing effect on the water, but also the fluid within the fishes eye resulting in more efficient transmittal or detection of light? Could be or could be bull.

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The hgiher density of the cold water is definitely why the senkos sink slower in colder water.  But that's not the issue with the vision (according to the article I read).  

The photoreceptors (rods/cones) in fish's eyes are way more sensitive than ours.  Just a very little bit of light striking the retina causes the cells to fire off a signal down the nerve to the brain.  BUT the cells are so senstive that when they are warmer (in warmer water), the cells sometimes fire off a signal randomly.  So in warmer water, the fish's vision starts to look more like a fuzzy/snowy tv channel.  

(The same thing happens with photomultiplier tubes (light detectors).  In that case it's called "dark noise."  I was surprised that the same thing can happen in biology.)  

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That makes sense, higher temp=higher rate of reaction due to the movin' around of ions=  reactions happening more often in the eye. Thanks for the info!

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This is very interesting.  Not to put a damper on things, but when the water's really cold (i.e. low 40s all the way down to freezing)  you usually have to drop the lure in their face anyway because their slowed metabolism has made them lethargic.  Improved vision isn't going to change this under most circumstances.  But that's only when it's really cold.  This might be something to keep in mind when the water temps are in the 50s and 60s.  

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That makes sense, higher temp=higher rate of reaction due to the movin' around of ions=  reactions happening more often in the eye. Thanks for the info!

Exactly!  We don't have that problem 'cause we're warm blooded and have constant body temp.

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This is very interesting.  Not to put a damper on things, but when the water's really cold (i.e. low 40s all the way down to freezing)  you usually have to drop the lure in their face anyway because their slowed metabolism has made them lethargic.  Improved vision isn't going to change this under most circumstances.  But that's only when it's really cold.  This might be something to keep in mind when the water temps are in the 50s and 60s.  

Yep, I agree.  They may see the bait perfectly 30 ft away in 40 deg water, but if it takes them 30 min to swim over there...  The article was talking a bit about the difference in vision being most significant when you talk about water at 60 deg versus 75 deg, for example.  

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This actually makes sense. You can still goad fish into eating, you just have to fish A LOT slower.

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Thanks for starting the thread.

Excellent information.

I should have studied biology in college in stead of rocket science!

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This is a very informative thread.  Thanks for posting it.

I knew I should have listened in biology class, instead of trying to study the cheerleaders biology!  ::) ;D ;D.    And I know us warm blooded creatures are supposed to have a constant temp, but man have you ever cuddled up to your lady at night, and found an iceberg?????????   ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

hope the wife doesnt read this one....  :-/ :-/

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I have known for a while that fish in cooler water will almost always get a moving lure deeper in the mouth while during summer I will hook a higher precentage outside the mouth or on the lips. The sight thing might have something to do with it.

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That's very interesting, from what I heard and understand Bass see in pixels and can only pick up certain details like color, lines (not fishing line), etc..

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That's very interesting, from what I heard and understand Bass see in pixels and can only pick up certain details like color, lines (not fishing line), etc..

Not sure what you mean by "bass see in pixels."  We all see in pixels, in the sense that 1 cell (rod/cone) = 1 "pixel."  Maybe you mean that bass have less cells per area, in other words lower resolution?  Could be.  But that doesn't affect whether their vision is better in colder water or not.

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Most lakes get clearer as winter set in.     The denser water doesn't allow for mixing, thus lakes get clearer as winter sets in.

You take that same bass that sees 5X farther, put him in muddy water and he doesn't see 1 ft.    

Clarity has every thing to do with how far a bass can see.     A lake will normally have the clearest water of the year in winter.    

To catch bass, you need to know about bass:

A bass's eyesight is excellent, and is absolutely the most important sense it has. Without eyesight, a bass would have a short life span. It is the dominant force used for seeking and selecting food.

A fish's retina is made up of cones for color vision and rods for black, white, and shades of gray vision.

A bass's eyes can receive up to 5 times more light than a human, and this allows them to distinguish shapes, sizes, movement, and color patterns that the human eye can't, even under varying water clarity and light conditions.

They do not have lids, but are able to change the shape of the eyeball to varying conditions of light. They have wide field vision, a full 180 degrees for each eye.

Bass's eyes improves with age, and will continue to grow throughout it's life.

Bass can see color, extensive experiments have been done on color and bass perception. Yellow and blue are both less distinct than other colors. Bass see red and violet best, and green second best, but they can discriminate between all colors.

Remember that water acts like a pair of sun glasses, it filters out some light naturally, thus why we wear them fishing or in general, why outdoors period.

Hookem

Matt

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MattFly, Thanks for the info on bass vision.  I think I've heard most of that before, but only in bits and pieces.  So it's good to see it all together in one place.

I think you missed the point about the cold water, though...

Most lakes get clearer as winter set in.     The denser water doesn't allow for mixing, thus lakes get clearer as winter sets in.

You take that same bass that sees 5X farther, put him in muddy water and he doesn't see 1 ft.    

Clarity has every thing to do with how far a bass can see.     A lake will normally have the clearest water of the year in winter.    

According to the article, the effect of colder water is on the biology of the eye itself.  It has nothing to do with water clarity (obviously clarity also will effect how well the bass sees).  I'm not a fish biologist, so I'm just reporting what I read.  

In water where a human can see 1 ft, a bass can see 5 ft.  But according to the article, if a fish can see 5 ft in dirty water at 60 deg, he can only see, say, 3 ft in the SAME water at 75 deg.  (or at least he would see much less clearly out to 5 ft in the warmer water).  

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Most lakes get clearer as winter set in. The denser water doesn't allow for mixing, thus lakes get clearer as winter sets in.

You take that same bass that sees 5X farther, put him in muddy water and he doesn't see 1 ft.

Clarity has every thing to do with how far a bass can see. A lake will normally have the clearest water of the year in winter.

Also you don't have the amount of algae in the water that you did in summer. You have less particles floating in the water to hinder the bass's vision. With less particles floating in the water the more light you have penetrating the water so colors are more vivid and vision is increased. I don't think it has anything to do with the water temp but the result of the lower temp. I think someone is selling a bill of goods.

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Also you don't have the amount of algae in the water that you did in summer. You have less particles floating in the water to hinder the bass's vision. With less particles floating in the water the more light you have penetrating the water so colors are more vivid and vision is increased. I don't think it has anything to do with the water temp but the result of the lower temp. I think someone is selling a bill of goods.

Well, like I said, I'm just reporting what I read.  But the article clearly indicated that this effect has to do with the biology of the eye (NOT water conditions) and it happens in most cold-blooded animals (fish, frogs, etc.).  It was only one article and I haven't seen the original research.  But it certainly makes sense from a biological perspective.  

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