Best Water Temperature for Fishing


With the recent high temperatures in the Midwest and elsewhere, you may have been tempted to start fishing with your regular spring and summer fishing gear. I know I was looking forward to casting a line the other day while at the lake. I walked up to the shoreline to see if I could see any fish or bait fish swimming in the shallows and I saw nothing. It seems like the water is still too cold to get the fish more active and drive the them up into the shallows for food. So at what temperature do the fish start becoming more active?

I checked the water temperature of my local lake and noticed that it has risen 15 degrees in the past month from 45 degrees to around 60 degrees. As long as the water temperatures hold there, the fish should start biting. Most fishing experts say that 60 degrees is the magic number when bass as well as panfish start becoming more active as their metabolism starts to rise resulting in them hitting the shallows and the shoreline for bait fish and other food. If you don’t see any or much fish in the shallows, try tying on a crank bait and see if you can get any bites around the 4-6 foot depth just off the shores. Look for rocky outcrops or submerged structures like docks and trees where they may be hiding.

When the water temps are consistently holding at around 65 degrees is when you will see the best fishing in the shallows. This is usually the mark of the pre-spawn period when the bass are getting fat as they prepare for the spawning period. The spawning period tends to begin around the 65 degree mark but is usually in full-effect around the 70 degree mark. So if you’re wondering when will the fish come out of the deep, watch your local lake temperatures closely and start testing the waters when the water holds steady at around 60 degrees. You should start to see increasing amounts of fish in the shallows as well as improved fishing when the water reach the mid 60’s.


  1 comment for “Best Water Temperature for Fishing

  1. at 11:39 am

    I agree that small changes in water temperature can cause fish to not only move from one area to another, but can also cause them to change water depths. As a very general rule water temperatures above 80 degrees and below 50 degrees tend to make fish less active, so fishing in these conditions certainly wouldn’t be the best. It is best to know what is the best time to go fishing.

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