How Water Temperature Affects Fishing

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Largemouth Bass, in natural lake light, lives underwater.

Water temperature has a major affect on the behavior of freshwater fish. So, if you want to consistently catch fish, you need to understand how it influences them. Since fish are cold blooded they rely on their surroundings to keep their body temperature within a comfortable range.

Water Temperature Fishing

All fish species have a preferred temperature range at which they are most active. The key is to know the right temperature and be able to find it. To locate the most active fish, just search for that ideal temperature range with a water temperature sensor (fishing thermometer).

Here is a list of preferred temperatures for a few of the more popular freshwater fish:

  • Brown Trout 60-65 F
  • Lake Trout 48-52 F
  • Rainbow Trout 55-60 F
  • Largemouth Bass 68-78 F
  • Smallmouth Bass 67-71 F
  • Northern Pike 60-70 F
  • Walleye 65-70 F
  • Yellow Perch 65-72 F
  • Striped Bass 60-70 F
  • Bluegill 75-80 F
  • Crappie 70-75 F

Remember: You will find cooler water in deeper and shady spots and warmer water in the shallows and near the surface.

Also, water temperature is not the only determining factor of fish feeding activity. But if the fish ARE feeding AND you find that perfect water temperature, then you are sure to catch some fish. Learn more about how water temperature impacts fish behavior.

Other related factors to consider include wind direction and barometric pressure – both of which will impact how easily you can locate fish. Other considerations that affect fishing are the phase of the moon, time of day and amount of light you bring (when fishing at night).

Keep these in mind to make the most of your next fishing expedition. Happy angling!

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2 thoughts on “How Water Temperature Affects Fishing”

  1. Great post, most all fishermen need this info. I have a thermometer and test water temperatures frequently. It helps me catch way more fish then I ever have before.



  2. Having a thermometer is not something I would have thought about. Great tip. We are heading to Canada in August, and this might come in handy. They had ice out a lot sooner this year and are having high temps. I sure hope the water doesn’t get too warm now knowing the lake trout like it about 48-52°


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