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Fall water temps

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What do you think the ideal temp is for fall fishing? Or when it is supposed to be better than dog days of summer?

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There is no BEST water temp. Every state is different because of climate. Sustained temps that are lower than they have been thru the summer and the length of daylight getting shorter would trigger the fish to move into fall.  

Mid to late fall I feel is the better time to fish because the fish are generally at their shallowest point of the season.

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Sustained temps that are lower than they have been thru the summer and the length of daylight getting shorter

X2

I fish shallow vegetated waters in the north (nCO and sNY), and see the first major change following the first really cold cold-fronts (40-50F nights). Because the sun is lower in the sky and days shorter, re-heating doesn't occur as easily. This kills off vegetation (in the shallows first), exposing prey fishes. A feeding binge results.

I've seen years when summer hangs on into September. But most years we get hit by serious cold fronts by then. In some waters (the shallowest that really heat up in summer reaching inefficient temps for bass) I see daytime action increasing just from gradual erosion of temps. But it's not the spectacular feeding binges we associate with fall.

Following chilling (down into lower 70s), good warming days that bring surface temps back up strongly, can bring on very aggressive fish and intense midday fishing -buzzbait time.

Fall is a time of change and brings on really good fishing -truly a period when bass noticeably fatten up. The above is how it seems to pan out in the waters I fish.

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There is no single part of a bass's environment that controls their movement or their activity level; one must consider the entire picture and then it's still fishing and not catching.  

Temperature readings can be very misleading since most anglers can only read surface temperatures and no bass live on the surface. Instead of chasing surface temperatures I chase the bait fish that do not have thermometers in their pockets. One might say look for 65 degrees while the bait fish say I like 60 degrees or 68 degrees.

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There is no single part of a bass's environment that controls their movement or their activity level; one must consider the entire picture and then it's still fishing and not catching.

X2

What I'm interested in here is that bass, being ectothermic ("cold-blooded"), must behaviorally thermoregulate -like all other ectotherms. But water is very different than air, buffering heat changes.

Bass in large water bodies appear to appreciate stability, whereas in the small shallow waters I'm spending my fishing time, those bass cannot escape what the weather dishes out. How do they cope? Is there anything useful in there? I think there is. Does it allow for the moment by moment decisions anglers need to make. Sometimes, yes, I've found. But certainly not always. There is an entire food chain of critters involved, often capricious conditions, and on top of this, an indirect and generally inefficient method of figuring this stuff out -angling.

But it sure is intriguing, and fishing is just plain fun.

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While I spend a large percentage of my fishing time on Toledo Bend I still spend a percentage of time fishing the shallow (3' or less) marshes around Southwest Louisiana.

The point I'm making is bass follow no set parameters in regards to temperatures but rather a general range. When one asks the question What do you think the ideal temp is for fall fishing? I might answer 65 degrees when in reality the bass may move into fall areas at 68 or 63 degrees. The only way to answer this question is time on the water with rod-n-reel in hand!

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I agree with most that has been said. Another thing that sets the stage for the movement is the shorter days. The baitfish begin their movements according to several sets of circumstances and the bass will not be far behind. You just have to go fish them and they will tell you what is going on. I've seen Rayburn and Toledo (Being 30 miles apart) be in completely different stages this time of year. A friend of mine has told me that several of his deeper areas on Rayburn are starting to become spotty as to the bite. This tells me that some of the bait and the bass have begun to move and we are still having highs in the 90s.

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Temperature itself isn't very useful.  Finding a trend in data from readings taken over a longer stretch of time may be slightly more useful.

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