Water Temps and Trends

One of the questions that I get asked most often at this time of the year is “At what water temperature do the bass start to get active?”  It’s an interesting question because it really has several answers.

In general, bass will feed at any water temperature; but in our area of the country, they get most active when the water temps reach 50 degrees.  But there is a lot more to it than that.  Mississippi really doesn’t have a true winter like they do up north.   We tend to get cold fronts and warming trends after them.  This is important because those warming trends present bass fishermen with an opportunity to take advantage of a mini feeding frenzy that often follows those warm days.

Let me give you a prime example of what I’m talking about.  Two weeks ago, we had temps in the 20’s and 30’s for a longer period of time that what we normally experience.  Because of these lows, the water temps in most of our water was down to 38-39 degrees.  Obviously, bass were not doing much feeding in those temps, so there wasn’t really a reason to try.  But over the weekend and first part of this week, we had several days in the 60’s and 70’s.  This brought the water temps up to the low to mid 40’s.  Even though the water temps were well below what our bass would normally feed in; the water temps were higher than they had been and the fish turned on.

By taking advantage of a warming trend, I was able to catch this 7 lb 15 oz bass on Feb. 15th in Madison.

Think back to how you felt during those days.  We had become acclimated to the colder temps and when it got up to 50 outside, it felt like summer compared to what we had become accustomed to.  The bass reacted the same way.

I’m not saying that water temps are not important, because they are still a critical factor in bass’s feeding and spawning habits.  What I am saying is that if you watch for trends in the temperatures, you can catch fish in a mood to eat when you would not expect it based solely on the water temp itself.  I took advantage of this window of opportunity last week and you can see from the picture of the bass I caught, it was well worth the effort.

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2 Responses to Water Temps and Trends

  1. nice fish scott, hopefully you drag one of those beasts out of lake norman next month!

  2. Derek Bullock says:

    I can attest to your experience Scott. A few weeks ago we had temps in the low 30’s. The water temperature was in the low 40’s. Fish were sluggish at best, but still eating a jig… the bites were few and far between. A warming trend has really made the fish come alive. As soon as the water temp hit 55 the bass starting crushing a spinnerbait. The Bass Master Classic is a perfect example as well.

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