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Know the Water Temperature; Know Where the Largemouth Bass Are!

Aug 17, 2007
The first step to catching a largemouth bass is to find out where the bass are located. You can do this through trial and error and likely waste a lot of time before success, if success comes. Or your can get a good feeling of where the bass are hanging out by determining the temperature of the water that you're fishing in, and then using the appropriate lure to get you into their neighborhood. This isn't a hard process, but it does take some simple calculations.

The preferred temperature of the largemouth bass is approximately 77 degrees (Fahrenheit). This is the temperature that bass feel most comfortable in and are quite active. And given that the body temperature of the bass is the same as the temperature of the water in which they are located, the trick to finding bass is simply finding out where the temperature in the lake is likely to be around the 77 degrees.

There are a lot of factors that determine water temperature - location of lake, season, depth, previous day's temperature, etc. However, you don't have to be exact - this isn't a science experiment! Your goal is to be pretty sure where the 77 degree water is, and the variance in the depth of your lure should help compensate for any errors in your figuring of the actual depth.

For example, if it's a midsummer month and you're in a mid-west USA state like Michigan where the temperature was likely 80-90 degrees for the previous couple months, then it's very likely that the water surface temperature is close to 77 degrees. (Note: You could purchase a water temperature gauge to give you a more accurate measure of the water temperature, and some even submerge to varying depths to give you a good estimate of the water at different depths.) In this scenario your best bet would likely be to use a lure that penetrates the water by 1 -3 feet, or even a top water lure. Keep in mind that the more shallow areas are the fastest to warm up to the preferred temperature, so a logical fishing spot would be in shallow waters (preferably around weeds) using a shallow diving or top water lure.

Another example would be if you're in the southern US state like Florida and you've had 3 consecutive months of temperatures around the 100 degree range. In this scenario the surface temperature is likely to be higher than 77 degrees - especially in the shallow water. In this case, you would likely be more successful to fish in the deeper waters with deeper diving bait - perhaps a crank bait or spinner bait.

Sometimes the water never reaches 77 degrees - like in the late fall and early spring months in Michigan. And since the basses metabolic/activity rate is based on the water temperature. The lower the temperature is from 77 degrees, the less active the fish are. And in those cases, you will find that it's much more difficult to catch bass during those times.

Keep in mind that bass will migrate to warmer water once the temperature in which they are located falls below approximately 73 degrees. They will also move to colder water when the local temperature reaches 83 degrees or so. So they are always in search of that 77 degree neighborhood. If you keep these basic points in mind, you will be much more likely to find yourself inside the bass's neighborhood!
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