Fall water temp drops
by Mike Gerry
Regardless of the time of year the bass react negatively to extreme falling water temperatures. The good news is the fall fishing generally does not have extreme water temperature drops, but it can cause subtle slowdowns.
Generally, in the fall, the water temperature drops slowly until we get to the later part of the fall fishing season which causes the bass to react positively to the dropping temperatures. I have seen the effects of water temperature for many years now, and I thought it might be time to help my readers understand it.
This past month of September has been an example of my years of personal experience. The water temperature took a downturn around the tenth of the month in September. The bass were feeding, and active, and they shut off like one turns off a faucet. The water temperature dropped from 84° to 78° and it was like fishing for ghosts. You would think this would turn them on, and it will, but it is just not an immediate reaction as the water temperature at the lower depths may very well be warmer than the surface causing the bass to suspend. This temperature difference may even cause the water to turn over changing the oxygen structure of the lake. I have seen times when we had 90° water and we were catching fish on top water all day long and all of a sudden, a cold front comes through, drops the water temperature a few degrees, and we are struggling for a bite.
It’s like a shock to their system, and a perfectly good few days on the water becomes a struggle. The good news is when the temperature settles, they generally start feeding and moving again. The real question is: what happens, and what can you do to find active fish? I believe, to find them under these conditions, you must first understand what happened. This is an ideal time to use search baits and look for active fish, then slow down when you get bites. This is also a perfect time to go to flash baits like spinner baits or chatter baits to cause a reaction bite. With dropping water temperatures, it means activity slows. Start to fish slower, and you can deal with it.