Factors of fish activity during a weather change
Oxygen levels – more oxygen in the water = more active, aggressive fish. Little oxygen = slower, non aggressive fish. moving water helps oxygen levels, so choppy water, and rain help keep the oxygen levels up in lakes and rivers. Rivers naturally hold a higher concentration of lakes, especially near dams and water inlets. Vegetation also helps oxygen levels, fish tend to be within and around vegetation.
Forage – Forage = all types of baitfish, craws, and other creatures bass regularly feed on. Weather changes will change the location of the forage, and in turn the location of bass.
Habitat – “the natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism”. This includes many types of vegetation, rocks/boulders, lay downs, creek channels, points, humps, and many other custom “lake to lake” components that provide a bass protection. Although bass follow around their forage, keep in mind that certain weather conditions can cause them to go back to their “homes” and “wait out” the weather.
Depth – Sunny skies can push bass to deep water, just as overcast conditions can provoke them to move shallow
Water Clarity – fish in gin clear water may have more reaction to a weather change such as sunlight than fish in stingy, dirty water
- If the weather is stable then always initially think the fish are active when heading to a lake
- If a big cold front has hit the lake then expect the fish to be more sluggish, to hold to tight cover, and overall to be harder to catch
- look on weather channels to find out if there’s going to be any major weather changes within the time you plan on fishing so then during that change you get to experience how the fish react
- low light conditions (including storms) can extend or provoke feeding periods
Great tip’s from Kevin Vandam:
“Be cognizant of the weather, but don’t eliminate patterns or techniques without checking them first”
This means to always keep the idea that weather can change the fish’s behavior as a possibility, don’t just assume the fish are going to go dormant or completely change if a cold front comes through while fishing. What you should do is keep on fishing the pattern that is working until it stops working, if it does then switch over to a “cold front pattern” or whatever the situation may be. This whole idea supports the notion “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
“The same goes for choosing locations” Vandam explains. “Some anglers will assume bass will vacate an area because of a weather change.” for example in the summer months a common belief is that bass move deep due to the shallow water being to warm. Vandam believes the only reason’s a bass will leave an area is because the forage left, or because of a dramatic weather change in weather conditions. If the weather dramatically changes then the fish may move to nearby cover or simply become inactive until the optimal feeding conditions return – Vandam explains.
One of the most impact-full things weather conditions change is the location of forage. But this means nothing to you until you realize one thing: bass relate to the forage. Forage: like shad can be very visible one day in a certain area, once a front passes the next day they may be completely gone, and so will be the bass. So its not necessarily the bass that are sensitive to the weather, its the forage that are sensitive and wherever the forage goes, the bass follows. This is why knowing the types of forage in the lake you will fish and getting an understanding of its characteristics is key to knowing where the bass will be, and what they will be doing.
Its definite that bass often relate to their forage and in other situations they will relate to cover. A more solid statement is bass will always relate to big structure, then on top of that they relate to forage and cover withing that type of structure. Its good to know this information while planning how you will fish a body of water. But when you add in the factor of weather:
Rule for before fishing: Allow weather to point you towards the right strategy, not drive you there
Rule while on the water: Action due to weather change comes once current technique fails