Water temp plays role in fishing

Published 12:14 am Sunday, November 18, 2007

During all seasons of the year water temperature plays an important role in determining fish activity and location.

Any good fisherman is aware of this fact. Water temp gauges have become as standard on fishing boats as sonar units.

Several years ago we used a stand-alone gauge but most sonar units now come equipped with a digital water temperature feature.

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The effects of water temperature on fish are much more profound during the spring and fall.

The cold front that passed through this week dropped surface water temps below 60 degrees and that’s a good thing.

Many others and myself catch more bass and crappie when the water is between 54 and 60 degrees than any other time.

Another plus is the fish we catch from cold water tend to be larger. Why? That’s a good question with many answers.

One theory is the fish group up and hold tighter to cover. If you pull a good fish from a brush pile in fairly deep water this time of year it’s a safe bet it won’t be alone.

Bass relate more to the bottom in cold water. Deep water patterns can now be established.

Fish holding in water deeper than 10 to 15 feet are less likely to spook and fish in heavy water seem to stay put longer than fish in thin water.

Of course with fish there will always be exceptions to the general rules.

A few days of sunshine can warm surface temperatures and move some fish back to the shallows. It all depends on where the baitfish is located.

As we get closer to winter, cold fronts will become more numerous and deep water patterns more reliable.

On lakes with depths of 15 feet or more, there is quick way to determine the most productive depths to locate fish.

Use your sonar unit to find the thermocline. The change in water temperatures that creates a thermo cline constantly moves up and down the water column.

Turn the units sensitivity feature up and idle across a deep portion of the lake. On good sonar unit the thermo cline will show up as a light shad of gray.

If your unit won’t pick this up, just take note of where the rough fish and baitfish are suspended.

Normally you will see a narrow band of fish at certain depth with no fish below that line.

That’s the thermocline and if it is at 15 feet you know that is no use fishing any deeper than that.

Franklin County’s Lake Okhissa continues to be the hot topic in the fishing scene.

I spoke with several area fishermen this past week that boated over 100 bass in a single day of casting on this new fishery located just south of Bude.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at fishingwitheddie@cox.net.