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Cold Water Impacts Fish Appetite

coldwaterSince fish are cold-blooded critters, water temperatures influence feeding habits.  As they warm-up in the spring, appetites and digestion rates increase.  By April, they’re entering the peak of season activity.  These fluctuating metabolic rates determine how fast the last meal will be digested how soon they seek another.

Bass, for instance, prefer temps in the 65 to 75 degree range.  Colder levels turn blood flow to the consistency of motor oil.  When it surpasses 85, they get grumpy and heat stressed.  Researchers estimate the metabolic rate of bass declines approximately one-third with every 18-degree drop in body temperature.  A meal consumed in two or three days at 70 degrees may take four or five days at 60 degrees.

As temps drop, functions of the nervous system decline.  From 60 to 50 degrees, they experience more sluggish symptoms.  By 45 degrees, they school in deeper, warmer zones.  The adjacent photo of a depth finder was taken Feb. 28.  Surface temp is near 52 degrees.  Note how fish are stacked in the 15-foot zone.  On this lake, such patterns are noted only this time of year.  Respiration rates here may be one breath per minute.  They can’t swim fast or far before tiring.  At this stage, a meal may last one month.  During winter, you may observe red coloration inside the mouth.

Wet a hook every opportunity through Thanksgiving. Don’t be left out when campfire conversations turn to fishing stories.

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