Fish adapt to rising water temperatures by heading for shade and deeper water

By Don Ingram
   How do fish adapt and survive on river and lake systems during the summer months when water temperatures reach the upper 80’s. Fish adapt in different ways depending on what conditions exist in their surrounding environment.
   In rivers and streams, fish position above and below a riffle because the oxygen content in the water is highest near moving water. They also position in shaded areas because it blocks the heat of the sun and decreases light penetration, making it easier to ambush prey.
   Whether it’s bass, crappie, or bluegill, all species of fish will be more active the first couple of hours at dusk or dawn because the water temperature will be the lowest during the morning or starting to decline as night approaches.
   During this time of the year, I like two types of lures for largemouth, smallmouth, and Kentucky bass. I use a small 1/8 ounce buzzbait and a 6 inch Prowler soft plastic worm rigged on a 2/0 Mustad hook. I leave the hook exposed and cast the worm into shaded areas and eddies. I retrieve the worm just beneath the surface pausing about every 12 to 18 inches. I use the buzzbait when I start fishing, and if I haven’t caught a fish within 30 minutes, I switch to the worm. I experiment with colors until I find the one that produces the most strikes.
   As surface temperatures increase in lakes and reservoirs, the majority of fish will adapt by moving deeper and deeper. Oxygen content decreases as water temperature increases. Unlike rivers and streams, fish in reservoirs can position in deeper water where the oxygen content is still acceptable. It’s not uncommon to catch fish during July, August, and September in 25 to 30 feet of water. When fish are positioned in deep water, I like casting a 3/4 ounce Lunker Lure jig or a Prowler 10 inch worm. I cast the lures on a 7’0 heavy action G-Loomis rod and Shimano reel with 15 pound CXX P-Line.
   Whether fishing in a reservoir or stream in the summer months, if you pay attention to the conditions and follow a few simple tips, you can catch fish during the summer when other anglers are inside watching television. I’ve caught some of my largest fish during June and July and look forward to the hot summer months each year.

Don Ingram publishes an outdoor article entitled “Outdoors with Don Ingram” that is printed in various publications throughout Kentucky. He is a two-time All-American qualifier. Don has been very successful competing in tournaments in Kentucky and Tennessee. He has appeared on numerous outdoor television programs like, “Kentucky Afield,” Walmart’s “Great Outdoors,” and “Outdoors with Dave Shuffett,” aired on the Outdoor Life Network and the Outdoor Channel. Don is a Pro Staffer for the following companies: Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Shimano G-Loomis Rods, Bandit Bait Company, Prowler Soft Plastics, Mustad, Optima Batteries, Lunker Lure, and P-Line.

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