water temp for bass?

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by troutpounder, May 1, 2012.

  1. troutpounder Active Member

    Posts: 300
    everett
    Ratings: +58 / 0
    Can someone please tell me the min water temp needed to catch or attempt to cat SMB and LMB. and what flys seem to be working for people. Thank you
  2. Kcahill Active Member

    Posts: 894
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +262 / 2
    High 50's?

    The water around here has been getting up to a surface temp of 58\59 on some days but I havent had any luck yet or heard of anybody else around here getting any. It is still getting pretty cold at night. The perch have moved up though so the bass should soon.
  3. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
    I don't have any luck with LM under 60. I use big, heavy flies that include chenille worms, large colorful leeches, big buggers and some strange flashy creations made specifically for LM or Pike. I also have some poppers and have got some strikes on large basic foam trout flies like hoppers and Chernobyls. Since the flies are heavy I bought an 8 weight rod and that makes casting much easier than the 5 weight.

    There's some great previous threads on this subject. A usual there are a few guys on the board who are masters of this particular fishery. Look for posts with pictures of lots of big bass!

    Use flies with weed guards!
  4. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,262 / 1
    I'd look for water temps in the high 50's to low 60's. Last year I found lots of pre-spawn LM cruising around the shallows in mid May, with the spawn happening in late May to early June here on the wetside.
    This of course will vary dependant on the lake. Hit the shallower lakes first and you should find active fish now, especially on the side of the lake that gets the south sun most of the day.
    I plan to check out a few of my favorite lakes this weekend.
  5. a_fors Active Member

    Posts: 280
    Anacortes, Wa
    Ratings: +43 / 0
    It is time! I got this pretty little gal today...but not on the fly. Could have beat the old state record of 11.9 but I didn't even think of that and didn't have a scale. my buddy i was with and i estimated her between 11-12 lbs.

    Attached Files:

    ganglyangler and Evan Burck like this.
  6. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,795
    Bellingham Wa.
    Ratings: +320 / 1
    Yes, that is a pig, nice fish. Years ago I fish bass quite a bit with conventional gear and we always figured that LM would start spawning @ around 65, and SM around 55. we use to start fishing them in late march or early april with some good days in may with some warm weather, so I would say get after them and keep a log book of temps and weather conditions. A stretch of high pressure with a falling barometer seemed to be the best in spring.
  7. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
    I've been catching LM on spin gear since the 24th of last month. Yesterday I was going for panfish with my new 2wt and got caught one on a soft hackle. He was a massive 7 inches!
  8. Kcahill Active Member

    Posts: 894
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +262 / 2
    That thing is a monster!
  9. LCnSac John or "LC"

    Posts: 695
    Sacramento, CA
    Ratings: +164 / 1
    I will chime in with a NorCal report, and our benchmark temps are much different than yours.

    I've learned not to even throw flies under 60 deg, and they really don't work well below 70 for topwater and below 65 for subsurface in still water. Moving water temps subtract 5 degrees. We've been getting bass on plastics since March, starting at 56 deg but with a lot of work and down to 15 feet. Last weekend most of the local ponds and lakes hit 70 and everyone was killing them on the surface. I use an old fly--a muddler minnow-- and #2 Airheads with a 6 wt.--2/0 with an 8 wt. For subsurface, a rabbit strip leach or Zonker are my go to flies. Poppers are great when they work, which is less frequently than most of us would like in larger impoundments.

    Last night we went out on a cold front and the water had dipped to 66 deg surface. We got about 20, but all subsurface and mostly males, indicating that the spawn is winding down. I did get a trifecta though--Smallies, LMB, and Spots.

    Most people probably know this, but to calculate probable surface temps, just take the mean of the extremes of yesterday's air temp range and that will usually get you within two degrees the next day.

    We are probably 3-4 weeks ahead of you in timing, and for us the lake season is winding down. Time for river Stripers and Shad and the Delta is turning on. The Delta will be good all summer as will most moving water. Our lakes can reach close to 80 and by then they are deep and sulking except in the O' Dark Thirty hours and at dusk. Shallow ponds fish better during the warm weather because there's nowhere for them to go deep.
  10. suckegg Active Member

    Posts: 379
    Ellensburg, WA,
    Ratings: +101 / 0
    I have been catching SMB for years in water down to the low 40's here in WA. You can get largemouth in 50 degree water. They aren't going to move far or chase anything so you have to get it in front of them and have plenty of patience. In both cases your on the bottom moving a little and pausing a lot. It's essential to know where the fish will be under such conditions. I'm talking before pre-spawn obviously. Pick waters that don't get very deep so you'll be able to feel what's happening as pick ups are usually quite subtle. The Columbia has places you can pull it off in cold water and out in the basin there are plenty of shallow lakes for largemouth. Some % of the Columbia smallies will move out of the deep at just 40 degrees and then hunker down till pre-spawn. The fish are in very slow motion and you can't go too slow. I suppose one could argue it doesn't sound much like fly fishing... but it can be done with a fly. I like big heavy flies for early LMB and light weight flies for the smallies. With really heavy flies you can put a smidge of tension on the line feel the pick up better. Smallies aren't so keen on the heavy flies early though so sometimes you see your line moving before you feel anything. Lines depend on depth. If you can figure out where the fish are in 6' or less than a floating line is fine, med. sink and tips have a place too. I wouldn't mess with this game in water deeper than 12' and I prefer 8' or less. You want a stout rod for positive hook sets and let the fish take it before laying into them. The Sage LM or Peacock rods are the ticket for the big heavy flies, short and real stiff. They work just fine if you get the right line on them. There's a bit of learning curve to it no doubt and it's not for everyone but with the right set up and knowing your waters you have a shot at some big fish early season. Tie the pictured fly with black fur, black & blue skirt with some purple flash, biggest barbells eyes you can find with red eyes.... weedless, slap a rattle on it while your at it and wear a helmet till you are sure you won't knock yourself out!

    "Shallow ponds fish better during the warm weather because there's nowhere for them to go deep." Same goes for cold too........

    Attached Files:

  11. LCnSac John or "LC"

    Posts: 695
    Sacramento, CA
    Ratings: +164 / 1
    I think your interesting post proves that there's a wider temperature band of activity than is often assumed.

    I was trying to reconcile why the big differences between our regions, and I wonder if it's because the bass assume a given seasonal length of food availability, and your is clearly shorter than ours, therefore their thresholds for activity and feeding start earlier. In the fall when your OAT may be approaching freezing, we're probably still in the 50s. We rarely get to freezing.

    Even in our shallow ponds here, virtually no one gets bass at the temps you've stated. They are completely inactive. We can get them occasionally in the winter at 30 feet or so in the larger impoundments, but it's very difficult. The exception is moving water. We can get them there year 'round but there's feed coming to them year 'round as well, and excepting a brief period when the snow melt washes down the mountain through the Delta to the Bay, the waters there stay warmer too.
    .
  12. suckegg Active Member

    Posts: 379
    Ellensburg, WA,
    Ratings: +101 / 0
    The Columbia River has fish that stay deep all season. Bios have found fish that are reabsorbing their eggs in July because they stay in the deeper cold water. Other fish move out of the deep at 40 degrees. Spawning goes on from about 4/1 through July depending on where the fish hang it seems. I think the less than desirable water temps throws them off. The abundance of food helps sustain a decent population I think. I'm fishing the mid-Columbia region and the fish get get on beds and we get a flush of icy snowmelt and the males will leave the redds resulting in a failure to reproduce. It's not the best place for smallmouth to live. My thinking is the conditions don't fit the smallmouth very well and that causes all kinds of irregularities. Your short season concept probably plays a part. I know the bass gear guys say it's totally about temps and I just don't buy that. After a certain amount of time/seasonal light shift the fish just seem to act like the would when it's warmer here. There was a tournament a few years ago in July and they were all complaining the fish hadn't even spawned and I told them that was two months ago and they just thought I was crazy yet I'm the guy who lives on that water and I see them do it in the same places year after year and most fish spawn in Mid-May to Mid-June every year. I think it really helps to know exactly where to find fish. I think there's more patience involved than most fly fisherman associate with a fly rod too.
  13. I live in OR with Hagg Lake about 45 minutes from my front door. I've been trying to figure out the bass in Hagg Lake on a fly. I was told by local bass fisherman that most of the spawning starts once the water hits about 58 degrees or warmer for 3 days in a row. So I am waiting anxiously for this coming week when it has been warmer for a few days.
    The rod of choice for me is a 9 foot 8 wt. I also have 4 line types with me....Floating, Intermediate, Type III, and Type VI. The fish are not leader shy that I've found, so I use 10 to 12 pound test leaders. I use the Intermediate line the most followed by the Type III next.

    I use deer hair poppers at first/last light with a floating line (if the water temp is around 60 or warmer). Otherwise, I primarily use the Intermediate line (or Type III if the fish are deeper in the early season) with olive or black bugger style flies size 6 and 4 with rubber legs on a few, bead chain eyed damsel flies size 6 and 8, Deceiver type assorted flies size 4 through 2/0, and Lead head bunny strip crawdad patterns in brown and black size 4. The Type VI line is for getting to those deeper fish (when they're off the spawning beds) without adding splitshot and I usually fish an unweighted fly with this. I was told that both the gear and fly fisherman agree to fish forage patterns like crawdads and baitfish patterns. I know some gear guys that throw 5 inch swimbaits that mimic the stocked rainbows and when they hookup they usually have a rather large fish.
    * If you know where they dump the stocker trout in the lake, concentrate near that area the first 3 days after stocking. The bass love to eat them soft stocker trout. :cool:

    I was just out last Tuesday and only managed 2 solid smallie hookups with a 3rd brief hookup. The two solid hookups were while trolling an olive colored cone head bugger style fly on a type III full sink line at about 10-15 feet with the water temp hovering around 56-58. They would peck the fly ahead and I could not pick them up for awhile. I finally figured to shove the rod tip towards the fish to give it to them after they pecked and it resulted in the hookups.
    The 3rd brief hookup was stripping a yellow deceiver pattern while sitting about 20 yards from shore and casting toward the bank line. The retrieve HAS to be slow.......I think that is key when the temps are lower than 60. Anyways, I got to watch a rather large smallie inhale the deceiver on the drop after a small strip near the dropoff by the shoreline. That was kinda cool, but I was in such "Awe" that I was late sticking it good enough to have a solid hookup.

    Good luck
  14. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
    I went out prospecting with spin rods this morning. The temp in the lake ranged from about 54 to 59. We managed to get 6 LM to the boat in about 2 hours. All of them were in water that was at least 57. Four were in the drop off zone, perfect for the fly rod. Two were in the sticks were you would be unwise to cast anything but Texas rigged plastics.
  15. Kevin J. Burnham Active Member

    Posts: 2,148
    Auburn,Wa.
    Ratings: +141 / 0
    Good stuff guys !!! They are interesting creatures for sure. The females just started showing up in the shallows in the last 2 days. No nesting yet but it's not far off.
  16. flycasterwa Chris Delsing

    Posts: 128
    Bellevue, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    i was in eastern washington this week, water temps of 56 and up, hooked into a number of SM, imagine a few more warm days for the LM.
  17. suckegg Active Member

    Posts: 379
    Ellensburg, WA,
    Ratings: +101 / 0
    "I finally figured to shove the rod tip towards the fish to give it to them after they pecked and it resulted in the hookups."
    It's tough not to react right away with a hook set. Letting them chew on it for a couple moments or head off with the goods is wise sometimes.

    I better get out there I'm way behind my quota!
  18. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
    Top water flies are working here in central Washington. I got one on a popper and one on a para adams that I was trying to entice some redears with. I Also got a couple on buggers and one on a psycho prince nymph. All small fish in the 3/4-1 pound range, but they were fun on my new two weight.
  19. LCnSac John or "LC"

    Posts: 695
    Sacramento, CA
    Ratings: +164 / 1
    Pick up a Size 2 Airhead if you haven't already. They are super fun to fish and very fishy too. You'll need at least a 6 wt. to cast it though and an 8 is better. Pole Dancers are working too. They are a little harder to fish.
  20. Jay Burman Experienced Ne'r do well and Layabout.

    Posts: 311
    Snoqualmie, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    I would love to go after some SMB but I could use some recommendations on when a where to go. I will be using a pontoon boat so I have some limitations. Any suggestions are appreciated.