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We have water temps in the mid 80s. We have extremely low water conditions. Some places report fish kills.

 

We know smallmouths like temps between 65 and 75. We know low water concentrates large numbers offish in small areas.

 

Therefore our fish are very vulnerable-stressed by temps and hungry due to limited food supplies. They are both easy to catch and easy to hurt.

 

When should we start taking precautions to deal with these extreme conditions? What would they be?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a conversation about this very subject with a field biologist, who in turn escalated it to a fisheries research scientist with knowledge of smallmouth bass in our state.

 

Basically, the amount of stress that any smallmouth may incur depends on temperature and oxygen which can be determined by a variety of factors including the number of deeper pools available and number of other fish in the system seeking out those deeper pools. The best way to help protect smallmouth is to continue smart fishing practices including single hooks, barbless hooks, quick release, etc. All fish have a certain temperature threshold that can be fatal, but since we really haven't seen smallmouth die-offs yet this season, the conditions aren't at their temperature and oxygen thresholds yet.

 

Good news is that despite daytime highs in the 90s our nights are now getting cooler. We'll get some rain eventually and our rivers will even out.

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This thread and the other one are "heads ups." There's still most of August one of our hottest months if not the hottest month. And prospects for rain are poor. So there is still time for Smallmouths to die. I am glad some of you are optimistic. Me not so much. Though it is not enough for me to stop fishing, I will be on my good behavior when it comes to C&R practices and watch for other warning signs."

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You know, for this area, air and water temps are higher than normal. These are average temperatures for places like the mid south. Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Georgia all have temps like this in a normal summer. I don't hear about massive die offs from fishermen in these places. The cooling lakes like LaSalle have much higher water temps than we will ever see on our rivers. Maybe bass are tougher than we think they are.

If the fish can find oxygenated water, I think they'll be fine

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As I posted earlier, I saw lots of dead carp, a couple dead smallies, and a few more barely hanging on, swimming around upside down. This was all in a 25yard stretch on the West Branch I frequented. I could see lots of fish, probably a mix of Common Carp and smallies in a deeper hole in that stretch, but decided it wasn't worth stressing them more. Water temps were in the 90's, but this was a while back. Haven't fished it since, and wont until we get a couple good rains. Ryan

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Smb are members of the sunfish family & if they're anywhere near as tough as the other members particularly bluegills they can take just about anything nature can throw at them including this record setting summer for heat combined with drought.

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