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Catt

Water Temperature & The Spawn

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So many anglers place so much stock in water temperature as the #1 consideration as to when bass will spawn.

If temperature is the #1 factor then please explain Power Plant Lakes where water temperatures are pretty much constant year round and yet the bass still go through early pre-spawn, pre-spawn and spawn.

I have yet to find a single person explain this apparent phenomenon ;)

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Ops double post ;) how do I delete one of them?

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Maybe the length of daylight has something to do with it. Once the days start to get longer they know it is time.

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I think length of daylight, temperature, and instinct all play a part. If we knew exactly what prompts bass to go on the beds and make other movements it would remove all the challenge from finding them. For now we have to live with the behavioral generalities as we know them.

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I am one of those who believe that water temperature is a key factor for LMB move from pre-spawn or staging to bed sites. If the water temperatures drop dramatically, like they are this year in several locations, the LMB pull off the beds sites.

Where I fish the water temperatures are not as cold in the winter as most states, maybe 50 degree's during the winter months. The pre spawn start about 55 degrees and transitions cruising the spawning areas about 58 to 60 degrees, every year for the past 50 years I have been bass fishing.

This year the water temps where 64 in February and the spawn started, then water temps dropped to 58 and the spawn stopped until now when the temps slowly moved back up to the mid 60's. The bass were gone off the beds for nearly 2 months.

So I would say water temperatures are a key factor, but not the only factor.

Tom

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Catt; it maybe that in a power generation lake, where the power plant heats the water around the outflow areas, the bass move from cooler water zones to take advantage of the constant warmer water and spawn.

One factor I have noticed over the years is the same LMB tend to return to spawn in the same areas year after year. I know certain bass will show up on the same staging point and move to the same bed site area for years, until they die. This may not be true for all bass, but is for some of the biggest bass in the lake.

Tom

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So many anglers place so much stock in water temperature as the #1 consideration as to when bass will spawn.

If temperature is the #1 factor then please explain Power Plant Lakes where water temperatures are pretty much constant year round and yet the bass still go through early pre-spawn, pre-spawn and spawn.

I have yet to find a single person explain this apparent phenomenon ;)

I'd be absolutely shocked if photoperiod isn't the answer.

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If other wildlife tend toward bass in reproduction then the amount of sunlight is the biggest key out there. For example, I know a guy who raises "BOB WHITE" quail for their eggs.

In the spring when they start laying eggs there is approximately 17 hours of sunlight. He collects the eggs every day and the hens keep laying trying to fill a nest. After a specified period of time the hens quit laying.

He gives the a few weeks off and then pops on the flood lights around the pens. He has his timers set so there is 17 hours of light in the pens and the hens start laying again. With the flood lights he gets another couple of months of eggs.

Maybe bass are similar.

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Water temperature alone is not a determining factor for the fish to spawn, the behavior is not ruled by it alone, the behavior is determined by a combination of factors, when the right combination of water temperature & length of day ( amount of light hours ) is when the spawn happens, you don´t have the right combination of both the event will not happen until both are right. Also how far up the equator and how high above sea level define more when it´s going to happen.

For example, in my neck of the woods bass in irrigation ponds fed by wells spawn in late February-March ( similar effect to the power plant lakes, the water from the wells comes out of the earth warm ), bass in lakes surrounding the city where I live spawn in late March-April ( until the water heats up ) and high in the sierra they don´t spawn until late May-June. They have the right amount of light hours but not the temps.

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Newton lake in Illinois is a warm water power plant lake. This lake has a cold side and a warm side. Mid winter you might have water in the 70's on the warm side or better with snow on the ground. In Illinois bass spawn in most lakes around May in other lakes April depending on weather, how cold the winter was, high water. In Newton they spawn way early because of the water temp on the warm side. That is not to say the whole lake spawns at the same time because the cold side spawns later in the year. On the warm side you can find fish in spawn in Feb and March. If the area has had a mild winter you might find them spawning earler.

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One reason that I consider water temperatures a key factor is based on observations, over 5 decades, bass spawning behavior on the lakes I fished.

For example Big Bear lake location very near the same longitude (119)and latitude (34) as several SoCal lakes, the spawn doesn't start normally by calender month until late May, the other bass lakes start mid March. Same amount of sunlight, same weather conditions with 1 very big factor; elevation of Big Bear lake is about 7,000 feet, the other lakes around 600 to 1,000 feet.

The water at Big bear isn't deep, average around 20', with 70' near the dam.

Because of the altitude the lake can freeze over between Nov to Jan and doesn't warm up to 60 degrees until May. High alitude lakes loose heat faster due to the thin air and colder nights.

The lower elevation lakes are deeper and average over 100' in the main lake basins and small bays or coves are less than 20' on average. The lowest elevation lake is Casitas at 600', Castiac at 1,000' several others are in between. All the mentioned have about the same water clarity; clear with depth of light 20'+.

Casitas warms fastest and normally the spawn starts by late Feb, Castiac by mid March. This year has been unusually cold, we could get snow this week down to 4,000' and the low elevation lakes have not warmed to the low 60 degrees. Same amount of sunlight and wind as any other year, except we have had cold rain or snow instead of warmer rain this year, keeping the water colder.

When this situation occurs we will have a massive first wave of spawners, as soon as the water warms, instead of 3 smaller waves over 2 to 3 mouths.

Tom

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It is a combination of factors working together. One nobody has touched is nutrition. The bass here that have a shortage of food are often later to spawn or don't spawn at all. It takes a healthy fish to produce,and develop eggs. I have seen lakes where fish came out of winter skinny and unhealthy and the spawn was greatly reduced to the point that it almost didn't happen at all although we had great spring weather.

On lakes with fat healthy fish more fish will spawn and they will spawn longer into the season.

Another thing I have noticed is that if we have a cold winter the spawn is delayed by a couple weeks. Takes longer for eggs to reach maturity in cold water.

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The bass are backwards on power plant lakes; instead of waiting on the water to warm up they wait for the water to cool down.

On a certain Power Plant lake in Texas the coldest water at both ends was 82, it was 86 mid-lake and 94 at the discharge; the bass still spawn right on cue.

Here’s another one to chew on; Toro creek located below the Toledo Bend Dam is feed by water from the lake at a depth of 112’ with a current water flow average of 200-250 cubic feet per second. The water temperature on the upper end never rises above the low 50s and yet the bass still spawn.

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