Bass and Water Temperatures
The temperature of a bass’s circulatory system is not 98.6 degrees. Bass are not warm blooded creatures. Always their body temperature will be the same as the water temperature. This is a big deal to bass fishermen, because water temperature can be used to accurately predict how bass will be acting at any stage of a year.
Because a bass’s entire metabolism is tuned to its circulatory system temperature. In cold water the metabolism slows down, the brain slows down, and the bass slows down. In cold water a bass’s instincts are less finely tuned it has less appetite and it mostly stays suspended in a hiding place, waiting for warmer water.
It is fairly easy to catch bass in cold water, but only if you can find them and if you use the right techniques. Primarily, this means putting bait in front of a fish that looks right, makes the right sounds, and smells right. The colder the water, the slower the bass’s brain operates and the slower you must present the lure, otherwise, the lure is gone before the bass’s brain tells it to bite.
Bass prefer water temperatures in the low 70s. When the temperature is below 60 degrees bass instinctively seek the warmest water they can find.
When the water temperature is above 85 degrees the bass instinctively seek the coolest water. But there is a major caveat: other water conditions must also be acceptable In other words, bass instinctively seek out water temperatures in the lower 70s, but only if (1) the Ph chemistry is right, (2) there is sufficient oxygen in the water, (3) if there is food in the area, and (4) if there is cover for the bass to hide in.
Early in the year a bass fisherman seeks out the warmest water he can find that contains these four conditions. During the summer this same fisherman seeks the coolest water he can find that satisfies these conditions. A sudden drop in water temperature cause bass to go into temporary shock and they quit eating. The converse is not true, however. A sudden rise in water temperature may, or may not, effect the fishing, depending on other factors.
In the spring rising temperatures are precursors to the bass becoming much more active. The most fun time on a lake is when the water temperature is in the mid to high 50s and the bass are in their pre spawn feeding mode. In the early spring we fish in the warmest water we can find. This will be in shallow, northwestern coves, or along rocky northern shores.
We then follow pre spawn conditions for the next month as the best fishing areas move from the northwest part of the lake, gradually around the lake’s perimeter until it reaches the lake’s southeast coves. It is the deeper southeastern coves that develop pre spawn prime fishing conditions last. By the time the bass have begun to spawn in southeastern coves, the bass in the northwest part of the lake are in a post spawn feeding frenzy and this is where we fish.
Please note, that there is sufficient pre spawn and post spawn fishing available in the spring that we never fish for bedding fish. The availability of future good fishing suggests that you shouldn’t either.